WASHINGTON, April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Three race teams waving the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner will be racing to raise funds for the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund at this weekend's Grand-Am race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. SpeedSource, Dempsey Racing and Team Sahlen will each carry special graphics on their RX-8 racecars, encouraging race fans to support people affected by the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami by texting a $10 donation to REDCROSS at 90999 (message and data rates may apply).
"The devastation in Japan is so overwhelming and we wanted to help in any way we could," said Sylvain Tremblay of SpeedSource, Inc, who came up with the idea to race with special graphics on the Mazda race cars. "We will be donating all race winnings from Car #70 to the American Red Cross Japan relief efforts."
"The racing community is a real family and you especially feel that in difficult times like this," said John Doonan, Mazda's Manager of Motor Sports Team Development. "That our MAZDASPEED teams want to help our friends, colleagues and the people of Japan by helping raise much needed relief funds, is testament to this family feeling and sense of a broader community."
Racing Mazda RX-8s in Grand-Am's premier series since 2007, Dempsey Racing will be running cars #40 and #41 with the American Red Cross message to donate.
"It's been just three weeks since the tragedy in Japan and already news updates have begun thinning out, while the people of Japan still need so much help," said Joe Foster of Dempsey Racing and who co-drives car #40 with Patrick Dempsey. "We are hoping to generate a second round of donations to the Red Cross this weekend by keeping Japan top-of-mind with both the racing community and our fans."
Team Sahlen will be racing cars #42 and #43. "We are hoping to help make a difference by spotlighting the Red Cross efforts to assist Japan," said Will Nonnamaker, team driver.
The Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc. made a $150,000 donation to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund, and has encouraged its dealers to do the same. Additionally, Mazda Motor Corporation in Japan donated 30 million yen to the Japan Red Cross Society.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 2,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world's premier road-racing circuits, the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing, and the Mazda Road to Indy.
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
SOURCE Mazda North American Operations