January 26, 2004

To All Star FM Racers:

The Star Mazda Series – West kicked off 2004 at Phoenix International with a double race. We were pleased to welcome Red Line Oil back as the title sponsor, making it the “Red Line Oil Championship” once again. Drivers in the Championship will be eligible to win $100.00 Red Line product certificates, randomly awarded at each series race, plus new Sparco driving suits to the top three drivers at year end. As before, each series entry gets a free set of spark plugs from Bosch. At year-end one driver will be selected from the top five to represent the west in the “Star Mazda Red Line Oil Shootout” (AKA Talent Search). As always, we will draw for free Goodyear tires at each race.

Speaking of the talent search tests, they are scheduled to take place at Buttonwillow Raceway in February. Congratulations and good luck to the 2003 nominees: Chris Schanzle, Darryl Wills, John Green, and Mel Kemper. We had originally planned to do these tests in November, but the hectic new car production schedule and concerns about availability on the new spec tires forced us to hold off until now. The shootout winner will be awarded a free pro race, probably the season opener at Sebring.

We have asked VP Fuel, and they have agreed, to slightly reformulate the spec fuel, it will still be designated MS-98 and you will not notice any difference in tuning. The new MS-98, now in distribution, has oil premixed at a fuel to oil ratio of 200:1, by volume. This is up from 150:1, in the previous formulation. This is the Mazda recommended ratio for the 13B and Renisis, and will improve engine life, especially apex seals, over the years, presumably for reasons of emissions control, the factory oil injectors have been shrunk, to a point where they are marginal for racing use. Hence, the change. No oil needs to be added to the fuel, by the race teams, as long as you are using VP, MS-98.

New owners of FM pro cars have been notified that four test days have been scheduled for pro car shakedowns and pre season testing. The dates are 11/ 12 Feb and 23/ 24 Feb at Buttonwillow. New spec VP Fuel and Goodyear tires will be available at the track. It would be advisable to call Buttonwillow and reserve what you may need (661) 764-5333. We have provided for Motec to have a technician at the track plus, Steve and Rick Cameron (of Lynx Formula Atlantic fame) will also be there to dispense information and advice, as needed. Star Race Cars will support the testing with parts and technical assistance, as well. Cost is $650 per car each day.

We have arranged for an extra day of testing also at Sebring, during race week, normally the Series only schedules testing on Tuesday, but since the cars are new and some teams have not had as much track time as expected, we have gotten the promoter to schedule three sessions each day, for both Monday and Tuesday. Our best estimate at this time is about 40 cars will be at Sebring for the inaugural Pro FM race. Initial feedback from teams who have begun to run the new cars has been very enthusiastic. Lap times are about 2-3 seconds off top FA times so far, and mechanical issues have been minimal.

At Sebring, the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear will debut another idea – Series wide hospitality. Along with the Sebring entry information you will find a sign up form for Star Mazda VIP food service, which will take place in a new Series sponsored enclosure. Drivers, crews, and sponsors are invited to participate. Breakfast and lunch will be served to those with the proper credentials each day Formula Mazda cars are scheduled to be on track. For Sebring, that will be Monday through Friday. Cost is $19 per person, per day, Monday through Thursday, and $29 per person, on Friday.

Monday through Thursday food service will include: Continental breakfast with coffee, cereal, milk, fruit juice, bread, pastries, donuts, and fresh fruit, and a full hot lunch with two salads, pasta, meat, veggies, and dessert. Friday will include a hot breakfast with eggs and meat, more choices for lunch entrees and desserts. Cold drinks will be available all day, every day, as long as you are wearing the right wristband for that day. Participants must sign up in advance to get the needed wristbands. No meals will be sold at the Series hospitality enclosure. If you are wearing the correct band, you eat and drink “free” all day. Sebring will be the pilot for this idea. If it is well received, we will do the same at all series events. This is not an attempt to create a profit center. We are actually doing this below our projected cost. We hope to provide a needed service and a positive, user-friendly atmosphere.

The forms for Sebring entry and VIP food service are enclosed. Please get them in before the deadline, so program listings and catering arrangements can be correct.

The final draft of the 2004 Pro Car rules and supps are also enclosed. So, speak now, or …

See you at the races!

Gary E. Rodrigues