Yellow Dragon Motorsports has purchased a new Riley-influenced Mazda RX-8 GT from SpeedSource Race Engineering with the intention of competing in next season's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT class.

The team brings together decades of combined motorsports experience, including several championships in both professional and amateur race series, but plans to run the full Grand-Am series for the first time in 2009, having opted to join the burgeoning list of Mazda runners.

"We looked at the records of several makes racing in Grand-Am, and we believe the Mazda RX-8 GT is a proven winner," team principal Jack Smith commented, "Combined with the proper drivers, the Mazda is a definite championship contender.

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"The Rolex Series is the premier competition for Prototype and GT cars in the United States and is rapidly increasing in international stature. We want to be part of that growth."

SpeedSource's Sylvain Tremblay was quick to welcome the newcomers to the fold.

"The Mazda GT family just keeps on getting stronger, and the addition of Jack's group only solidifies our position for the '09 championship," the veteran - and GT pacesetter - said, "His goals are the same as ours, no compromises and a keen eye on winning. We are proud to have him as a customer and that he chose a SpeedSource/Riley RX-8 for his attack on the 2009 GT campaign."

SpeedSource and the RX8 have proven to be a formidable opponent for Porsche and other marques running in the GT category, and Mazda's North American operations manager, John M Doonan, is delighted to have another recruit to the cause.

"Everyone at Mazda is pleased to have another car joining the grid in the Rolex Series, and especially pleased to have Jack and his team as part of the Mazda family," he said, "When we established the GT programme in 2006, we set it up as a customer programme, and the good news is that it has worked.

"With the #69 car scoring the victory at Watkins Glen in June, and very competitive runs by the Hypersport car and the Racer's Edge crew, we have proved the value package that the RX-8 creates. When customers can experience those kinds of results, it helps the programme grow. We wish Jack and his group all the best and we will do all we can to ensure their success."