June 21, 2005

To all Star FM Racers:

Well, the Formula one “circus” lived up to its billing. Montreal with F-1 was an experience most of us will not soon forget, most teams found the customs procedures for this trip were so simple, it was spooky. The paddock space was awkward to get into some locations because of the trees in the park, but once in place, it was nice and level and worked just fine. Most of the F-1 crowd, including the locals, had never seen our cars before, on or off the track, and were very impressed. There were lots of spectators everywhere. Streets downtown were blocked off for parties and everyone was in a good mood.

The track was open for walking, golf carts, and scooters on Wednesday and Thursday. All the facilities were manicured and the track was wide, smooth, and freshly paved. We got briefings about some of the luxuries of racing with F-1, like a fire extinguisher, complete with trained firemen, at almost every break in the fence, cranes to wisk crippled cars off the track in seconds, and 36 TV cameras to cover the circuit.

Our first session on Friday was on a wet track that could not have been any “greener.” Times came down quickly as the track started to develop a dry line and there was not too much mischief as most drivers were using their heads. Montreal is a very technical track with sequences of corners that look similar upon entry, but are very different, the straights connecting into them are really long, so the pay off for getting it right is high.

Many drivers and crew members remarked that they did not expect to get so close to the F-1 cars and were pleased by the enthusiastic crowd reaction to our part of the show. One crew member left with a neat souvenir as she got her Ferrari shirt autographed by Michael Schumacher while our teams were on the pit lane.

We caught up with those drivers who had previously accomplished podium finishes in the first three races, awarding them with the appropriate “shark” stickers, naming the position and the track where each were earned. (For example, 2nd – Road Atlanta.)The stickers are issued in pairs, so one can go on each side of the cockpit, similar to a fighter plane. They seemed to click with the fans, who understood immediately and thought it was a cool idea. Eric McCombs report on the Montreal Race is included here, as are the point standings through the first four races.

There was an important announcement made at Montreal; regarding the Championship schedule through 2008. We are going racing on the city circuit in Trois Rivieres, starting with a cash purse, non-championship race in August this year, followed by Championship rounds in 2006, 2007, and 2008, as the featured open wheel race. (Read: main event- 1:30pm on Sunday.) Those who run this year will get valuable data for future use plus other incentives to come like free rental cars, two for the price of one hotel rooms, and one free set of race tires for every starter. Read the attached Trios Rivieres information sheet for the details. Everyone we talked to, that had run events there before, raved about how much fun the place is. We are enclosing an entry form for those who want to come join the party. Catering for the whole crew is even included. These folks love open wheel racing!

Up next, is round 5 at the Pike’s Peak one mile oval. The schedule includes a group we have never had a chance to run with before, “Hootie and the Blowfish,” plus USAC and fireworks. Note: We are changing the catering for Pike’s Peak to: Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday, and Lunch and Dinner on Sunday. This one should be really fun!

Unfortunately, USAC did not get the TV production deal they were expecting for Pike’s Peak, so we are hiring a camera crew of our own to shoot as much as possible of our event, so we can include it as part of out first TV show from Infineon. There will be two, one hour Infineon shows. We will probably also do a “highlights from Trios Rivieres” intro to the Road America show, since there will be a full TV crew at GP3R. If GP3R had been on the radar at the time St. Petersburg fell apart, we might not have needed to double up at Infineon. How many times do you hear “that’s racing”?

Also note: There is a slight schedule change on Saturday at Infineon. Our race #1 is a bit earlier. Portland also has some changes. Both new schedules are here.
We are planning to have two in-car cameras per race from Infineon through Mazda Raceway. If you want to get on the list, call me ASAP at (818) 686-3359.

The west schedule for Standard and Pro FM’s has gotten some rehabilitation, after losing some cancelled club dates. We are listing the entire 2005 west schedule below, to avoid confusion generated from so many changes. Our apologies if this causes any inconvenience. We will try to choose more solid dates next year, if possible. We are pleased to be able to add two races at Infineon in September. Our new FM dealer there, ESPN/Russell school, has been very helpful. They will also help by covering us for parts and service at Mazda Raceway on 6 and 7 of August, due to the conflict with Trios Rivieres.

2005 Star Mazda Series- West
Schedule of Events

Date Location
February 4-6 California Speedway Double
April 29- May 1 Phoenix International Raceway Double
July 8-10 Thunderhill Double
August 5-7 Mazda Raceway
September 17-18 Infineon Raceway Double
October 7-9 Willow Springs Double
October 28-30 Buttonwillow Raceway Double

Best 9 Results count toward the championships.

Your recent survey responses have been very useful. Please give us all the input you can. We do our best to deliver what you tell us you want. One thing seems clear- there are many new owners of Standard FM’s that are not aware of all the resources available to them. If you run into any new owners, suggest they get on our mailing list. That is how we can build the size of series fields. The cars are out there. The owners just need to get connected with the program. They can call Tiffany at (818) 686-3350 to get on the list.

Anyone wishing to coordinate Paddock space for an FM at the Runoffs, contact Fabio Castellani form Pro One (630) 258-2291. He will be sorting out the spaces for us again this year.
The new crash attenuators (tail cones) for pro cars have been tested and are now available. Contact your dealer to order yours. They will be mandatory in the Star Mazda Championship next year. It may seem a bit expensive, unless you need it. Like a HANS device.

Star Race Cars is adding another major piece of equipment to help our customers be “more equal.” It is a new Superflow “NSCR,” (engineering grade) engine dynamometer. We expect to have it running before August. We intent to use it to match components for completely dressed and rebuilt motors, so that tolerances can be as tight as possible and variations from motor to motor should be very small. We have been very pleased with the narrow range we have been able to hold up to now, but because we are trying to keep the motors so closely matched, repeatability of dyno itself is becoming more important. So we have gone for state of the art.

Keep checking the website Starmazda.com for any changes in the Speed Channel schedule. Sometimes the show gets moved, without them alerting us. We are now linking our site to Speed’s. See you at the races!

Gary Rodrigues