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Grand-American Rolex Series

Charles Espenlaub
Charles Espenlaub
Hometown: Lutz, FL
Age: 39
Family: Single
Team: Hyper Sport
Team website: www.hyper-sport.net
Car: SoBe Beverages Mazda RX-8 GT
Car Number: 40
Class: Grand American Rolex Series GT
Notable: Works as a driving instructor at the Panoz Racing School. Racing Mazdas professionally since 1995, Charles' affinity for Mazda began the first time he drifted a Miata around a race course. Co-owner in Team 19, a small racing-oriented company; also serves as a fishing guide. Loves racing, flying and fishing.

Charles began racing cars for a living after graduating from Emery Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. "I devoted time and discipline to being a pilot but soon discovered that it was too boring. So, I decided to go racing," explains Espenlaub. His talent for mechanical engineering and a passion for motorsports helped him land a spot as a team hand for a Porsche IMSA GT team. "Working on the car was only a temporary situation until I saved enough money to attend a good driving school and earn my license to compete. I was able to secure a seat in an entry-level class Miata for three races in 1995. In 1996 I ran the full season."

Espenlaub's proficient style of racing led him to a full-time position with the Panoz Driving School, where is now serves as the facility's head instructor. "Of all the students that come through the school, Mazda owners are younger than most and more serious about learning to become performance drivers. Unlike the middle-aged guys just looking for a weekend activity other than golf."

Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Dempsey
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Age: 41
Family: Married to Jillian, three children (daughter Tallulah Fyfe, and twin boys Darby Galen and Sullivan Patrick)
Team: Hyper Sport
Team website: www.hyper-sport.net
Car: SoBe Beverages Mazda RX-8 GT
Car Number: 40
Class: Grand American Rolex Series GT
Notable: Stars as Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, and also starred in feature films such as Can't Buy Me Love, Loverboy, Scream 3, With Honors and Outbreak.

Patrick Dempsey needs no introduction for TV viewers watching primetime ABC programming on Thursday nights; as Doctor Derek Shepherd on the top-rated TV drama Grey's Anatomy, the Golden Globe-nominated actor is one of the most recognizable faces of Hollywood.

What Grey's fans may not know about Dempsey is that the 41-year old star has been a lifelong fan of Motorsports, having regularly attended Indy 500 races with his father as a child. On the track, Dempsey sheds his “McDreamy” persona, preferring his driving skills to take center stage. His motorsports career has impressed the racing community, developing quickly after he made a strong showing during the 2006 Long Beach Toyota Celebrity race. Like hundreds of other aspiring racers, Dempsey decided to continue his pursuits in the highly competitive Sirius satellite radio MAZDASPEED MX-5 Cup series – an integral part of the Mazda motorsports ladder system.

His experience in that and other series (including a pole-winning lap at a Panoz GT event) helped him move seamlessly into even faster pursuits in the Grand American series – first in the Koni Challenge and later in the top flight Rolex Series. For 2007, Dempsey will be partnered with Joe Foster and SPEED World Challenge Mazda veteran Charles Espenlaub in the Hyper Sports No. 40 SoBe Mazda RX-8 GT in the GT category of the Rolex Series.

Previously: In 2006, made five Grand-Am Cup starts, finishing a season-best 20th at Miller Motorsports Park. Dempsey also competed in the famed Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Sirius Satellite MX-5 Cup, and the Panoz GT Racing Series, scoring one pole and best finish of fifth.

For 2007, Espenlaub will be joining Joe Foster and Patrick Dempsey in the No. 40 SoBe Mazda RX-8 GT in the Grand American Rolex Series when he is not focused on driving the Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6 in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championship – where he finished ninth in the 2007 Driver’s Championship after one podium finish and five other top-ten finishes during the season. "I look forward to getting in the car every chance I get. It's great to be a part of the Mazda program. The company (Mazda) has always treated me great. When you need some help or support you can call and actually talk to someone. It's a great company."

2006: In second season with the Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6, racked up six top-10 finishes, and four top-five finishes en route to finishing eighth in the Drivers' Championship. Best result was second at Road America after starting from the pole.

2005: After beginning season in familiar Mazda Protegé, switched to MAZDA6 for Tindol Motorsports. In the MAZDA6, earned the first win of his career at Mosport after starting second. Also, earned the first pole position of his career at Cleveland before finishing second. In all, had seven top-ten, four top-five and three podium finishes en route to finishing seventh in the Drivers' Championship.

2004: Turned in three top-ten SPEED Touring Car finishes, including a second-place run at Mosport after starting 28th. HSR Club Sports Champion and Rolex Historic Co-Champion.

Previously: 1996-2003, ran Speedvision Cup, Porsche Club, HSR, Motorola Cup and NASA events. Has also competed in SCCA Club Racing, Grand-Am and Grand-Am Cup. Ran seven Speedvision Touring Car races in 2001, with a best finish of ninth at Road Atlanta. In 2002, ran a full season in SPEED Touring Car in a Mazda Protegé. He had two top ten finishes and one top five finish coming at VIRginia International Raceway. In 2003, ran a full season in SPEED Touring Car driving a Mazda Protegé ES and recorded a season-best 10th place finish at Sebring after qualifying ninth. Competed in one SPEED GT race (Sebring) finishing 13th.

Joe Foster
Joe Foster
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Age: 42
Team: Hyper Sport
Team website: www.hyper-sport.net
Car: SoBe Beverages Mazda RX-8 GT
Car Number: 40
Class: Grand American Rolex Series GT
Notable: As Chief Driving Instructor of the Panoz Racing School, Joe oversees curriculum design, instructor training and the competition aspects of the Panoz GT and Panoz Pro Series race events; graduated at top of his Mechanical Engineering class at Georgia Tech.

Teamed with Patrick Dempsey and Charles Espenlaub on the Hyper Sports No. 40 SoBe beverages Mazda RX-8 GT, Joe brings successful experience from a wide range of road racing around the world – including karting, Formula Ford 1600, Russell Mazda, Formula Ford 2000, British Formula Three, Motorola Cup, Grand Am and the American Le Mans Series. Joe's unique resume also includes a Mechanical Engineering degree in composite materials manufacturing and his current role at the Panoz Racing School as the Chief Driving Instructor.

The combination of technical knowledge, broad road racing experience, and instruction experience will serve the No. 40 SoBe Mazda RX-8 GT team well as they venture into their first full season of racing in the highly competitive GT category of the Grand American Rolex Series.

Previously: Made eight Grand Sport class starts in 2006, logging a season-high fifth place finish at Miller Motorsports Park. In 2005, made two Rolex Series starts, earning a best result of 18th in the Daytona Prototype class in the Rolex 24 At Daytona; also made 10 starts in the Grand-Am Cup Series. In 2004, made lone Rolex Series start in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, finishing fifth and made one Grand-Am Cup start at Barber Motorsports Park. In 2001, his lone Rolex Series start of the season was in the Rolex 24 At Daytona; has competed in various forms of racing around the world, from karting and open-wheel racing to Grand-Am Cup and the ALMS.

Nick Ham
Nick Ham
Hometown: Evergreen, Colorado
Age: 51
Family: Married to Pamela, Son (Jack)
Personal website: www.speedsourceinc.com
Team: SpeedSource Race Engineering
Team website: www.speedsourceinc.com
Car: Mazda RX-8 GT
Car Number: 70
Class: Grand American Rolex Series GT

Nick joined the SpeedSource team in 2007 to co-drive the #70 Mazda RX-8 GT with team owner Sylvain Tremblay. His contributions were immediate as evidenced by his first career Rolex Series class pole position in Mexico City and back-to-back at Mexico City and Homestead early in the 2007 season.

2006: Made two Rolex Series starts in the GT class, earning a best class result of 18th in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona. Made two Grand-Am Cup Series starts in the Grand Sport class with a best result of 14th in the VIR season finale.

2005: Made two Grand-Am Cup Series starts in the GS class with a best result of 18th at Santo Domingo. Brian Redman International Challenge Group 8 winner.

2004: Competed in Rolex 24 At Daytona and finished 14th in the Daytona Prototype class. Brian Redman International Challenge Group 8 winner.

Previously: Brian Redman International Challenge Group 8 winner in 2003; finished 26th in the GTU class in the 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona; started from the GT2 pole position in the 1998 Rolex 24 At Daytona; won GTS class in 1998 12 Hours of Sebring. Finished second in 1997 Toyo Challenge GS championship. Finished fourth in 1997 IMSA GT2 championship with four victories. Won GTU class in 1994 12 Hours of Sebring and won 1992 Firestone Firehawk GS championship with six victories. Finished second in 1989 Skip Barber Formula Ford championship with 10 wins. Took Dunlop Star of Tomorrow honors in Formula Ford in 1976 and finished second in 1975 Goodwood Grand Prize. Attended Winfield Racing School.

Sylvain Tremblay
Sylvain Tremblay
Hometown: Coral Spring, FL
Age: 42
Personal website: www.speedsourceinc.com
Team: SpeedSource Race Engineering
Team website: www.speedsourceinc.com
Car: Mazda RX-8 GT
Car Number: 70
Class: Grand American Rolex Series GT
Notable: Two-time Grand Am Cup Sport Touring Champion, Grand Am GS Champion, and five-time SCCA ITS champion; winningest Grand-Am Cup driver in history with 20 Grand-Am Cup victories; founder and owner of Speed Source Race Engineering, a premier engineering and motorsports business in Sunrise, FL.

SpeedSource team owner and driver Sylvain Tremblay has raced since winning the first race he ever entered-an SCCA autocross at age 16. Over the years the love of racing turned into business with Sylvain establishing SpeedSource Race Engineering in 1995. After finishing second in the Grand Sports Championship several times in the late 90's in a Mazda RX-7 Twin Turbo, Tremblay put together a career season in 2001 scoring 7 wins on the way to the Triple Crown Championship. In 2004 Tremblay took home his second professional Championship when he won the Grand Am Cup Sport Touring title, in the debut year for the team's Mazda RX-8 program. He followed up with another ST Championship for Mazda in 2005. Beginning in 2006 and continuing into 2007, Sylvain and the SpeedSource team developed the first GT category Mazda RX-8. Powered by a 3-rotor Mazda RENESIS rotary engine, the SpeedSource RX-8 GT reached the podium in its third start and showed its real potential in it first full season of racing in 2007; paired with driver Nick Ham, Sylvain and the #70 RX-8 delivered three wins and two runner-up finishes (out of 9 top-ten finishes) to finish sixth in the driver's championship. Their success helped the SpeedSource team finish fourth in the team championship and Mazda finish third in a manufacturer's championship that includes Porsche and Ferrari as competitors.

2006: Made four Rolex Series GT class starts, finishing a season-best second at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

2005: Finished second behind co-driver David Haskell in the Grand-Am Cup Series ST standings with five wins and nine top-five finishes in nine starts. Winningest driver in Grand-Am Cup Series history.

2004: Claimed the Grand-Am Cup Series ST title with co-driver David Haskell with four wins (Phoenix, Mid-Ohio, Homestead, Barber) and two class poles. Win in Phoenix was the first professional win for Mazda North America.

Previously: Finished second in GT class in 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona; first professional title in 2001 with Grand-Am Cup GS Championship; 2000 SCCA ECR ITS Champion; 1999 SCCA ARL, ECR, and ARRC ITS Champion; 3rd place finish in GT category of 1999 Rolex 24; 1998 SCCA ITS Florida Enduro Champion; runner-up in 1997 and 1998 PSR Speedvision Cup Driver's Championship; 1993 SCCA ITS Champion.