Mazda and John Team to Overcome Obstacles and Succeed in 2010

  A caution flag can destroy the perfect pit strategy at the wrong time. Sudden rain, or rain stopping, can leave one with the wrong chassis set-up. There will always be outside factors beyond the control of a driver or team. Often those factors are financial in nature. The great drivers and teams succeed by dealing with obstacles of all sorts (for example - finishing on the podium in the GrandAm finale at Miller, right).

When the Atlantic Championship went on hiatus for 2010, it created a challenge for John and the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder. When the 2009 Atlantic Championship prize money (over $1,000,000.00)  failed to come through, Mazda stepped up with SpeedSource to add an additional RX-8 for the Rolex Grand-Am GT Championship.  John, holding sequential dual Mazda Championships (2008 Star Mazda/2009 Atlantic), was teamed with the 2009 Star Mazda Champion Adam Christodoulou to drive the #68 Speed Source Mazda GT.

Neither Christodoulou nor John had prior sports car experience, both having risen from karts through a variety of single seat open wheel classes. They responded and produced impressive results. In eleven races the team has scored a win (Lime Rock), a pair of seconds, a third, and finished in the top-ten, in ten of eleven races. Adam Christodoulou commented, "It’s been an honour to have John Edwards as my team mate, and privilege to have the full backing of the SpeedSource team.”   John added, "Racing in Grand-Am has been a greater learning experience than I ever imagined. It has refined my race craft, developed me as a racing driver, and advanced my career. The opportunity to work with a factory team like Mazda in a multiple car team cannot be understated. Whether I ultimately race Prototypes, GT, Indycar, NASCAR, or Formula 1, this year's experience in the Mazda GT car has been an extremely valuable opportunity and investment in my continuing development as a racing driver.  The transition from an exclusively open-wheel background can be difficult, but it is well worth the challenge. I believe it extremely valuable for young drivers to drive GT cars early in their career, as it provides much more opportunity for the future."

John Doonan, (pictured below, right) MAZDASPEED Motorsports Team Manager, Motorsports Team Development at Mazda North American Operations. Development Manager noted, "The global economy over the past two years has impacted everyone, especially motorsports. We have seen many teams and multiple series disappear. The smartest people have focused on making certain that racing provides a measurable return on investment for the companies writing the checks to support the sport.Our goal at Mazda remains to be the most supportive car company on the grassroots roadracing level and helping drivers move up. While we call it a ladder, it more closely resembles scaffolding that needs to be moved and adjusted on an ongoing basis. Since we launched the ladder in 2006, we have promoted, with Mazda funding, 18 drivers to the next level. That next level has been adjusted with the changing motorsports landscape, but any driver who wins a spec Mazda series will be rewarded with a Mazda powered ride in a higher level series. In the case of Star Mazda, the champion now earns a Grand-Am GT ride, and Adam and John are proof that this is a successful opportunity."