Sylvain Tremblay – Daytona Prototypes
His Way To Go

dailysportscar.comApparently setting off some kind of rush to commit to the Daytona Prototypes at the end of June, Sylvain Tremblay (right), owner of SpeedSource Race Engineering, was the first team owner to announce plans to race a ‘new’ Daytona Prototype. This will be the Multimatic Ford Focus (which won the class at the Rolex 24), with a debut at Watkins Glen in early August.

Paul Mears and Selby Wellman will drive the car in all four remaining Rolex Series events, prior to the purchase of two new Multimatic chassis for the 2004 Rolex 24 and beyond.

We asked Sylvain Tremblay to explain the attraction of the Daytona Prototype class.

Why did you and your drivers choose the Ford Focus?
"We have a seven year relationship with Multimatic and Dynamic Suspension and we know first hand the quality and support that they offer. Paul Mears has about several hundred Ford vehicles at Mears Transportation in Orlando. Those were two big factors, but the biggest, was test driving the car at Mosport and how well "put together" it is, from a design and execution stand point, we fell it is the best package."

dailysportscar.comPresumably you’ve been happy to race in the Grand Am Cup, so why the decision to move up to the Prototypes?
"No doubt, we are very happy in Grand Am Cup and we are going to announce a new 2004 program for Cup in the next month or so. The decision to move up was twofold, it was customer driven and we believe in what Grand Am is doing long term. SpeedSource operates many different racing programs, we run over 20 race cars in-house and supply engines and gearboxes as well as suspension development for both club and pro teams all over North America."

(Sylvain himself is pictured winning in the Porsche Boxster he shares with Scott Schlesinger - at Barber Park's maiden meeting. And on the podium at the same event - below.)

Do you think there will be a significant number of them on the grid for the Rolex 24 next year – and then throughout the season?
"I would love to take the credit for getting the "Wave" started, but the Daytona Prototype concept makes sense and more and more teams are looking at them as a viable option. I hope to see 10 to 15 on the grid for the 24 and I am sure it will grow from there."

dailysportscar.comCan these cars capture the interest of fans and start to build a sizeable fan base?
"Stability is the key, both in terms of rules and teams. The rules are going to be the same for years to come, so teams can plan to run the same cars for years and the initial investment makes more sense. The quality of racing will build the fan base with time."

Have this year’s Grand Am meetings tended to be a little ‘low key’?
"Yes, but in the early stages even the first WSC cars were low key the first year. The cars are still being developed, and with only a handful of cars but the races have been great, once we have 10 or more the "Show" will improve."

Are the Daytona prototypes going to be cost-effective to run?
" In many ways the cost restriction are helping teams make the jump to this class, initial estimates point they are going to be roughly what a Porsche GT3R cost to run at the front."

If they are, is that at the expense of creating a spectacle?
" Spectacle is what NASCAR is all about and the cars are low tech, what makes the spectacle is the number of cars, the quality of the teams and how equal the competition is."

Is it a big jump for your team, from the GSl Class to the Daytona Prototypes?
"We have a great staff of talented people and new facilities to meet the challenge and we are expanding our personnel to handle the work load of all of our race programs. The cars are fairly simple in terms of prototypes and the full support of Multimatic will make the jump easier."

Was there any other option for your team, if you wanted to move up the ladder?
"No, not any that made more sense than Daytona Prototype. It is the highest class in Grand AM and we have the chance to get in on the ground floor of a new class with new cars, so the timing is great for us right now."

Who will the co-drivers be next year?
"We are still working out the driver line up for the program. Paul Mears will drive one with myself and Selby Wellman, the other. We are racing both cars at the Rolex 24 and we are searching for funded drivers for that race and a co-driver for Paul for the season."

Which sponsors are involved?
"Mears Motor Coach is one primary sponsor and we are going to announce the rest of our partners in the coming months."

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