Having not raced with the Riley Racing Mazda RX-8 since the first race of the 2011 season at Daytona, the team spent the last few months developing the car and engine with great success. In the first practice session, Jameson Riley (@jamesonriley) was 2nd fastest of 33 cars, only 4 tenths off the record lap around Lime Rock Park for a Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge ST competitor.

AJ Riley (@ajriley) qualified the Riley Racing Mazda RX-8 4 tenths of a second off the pole time, putting the team in 7th place for the start of the 2 1/2 hour Memorial Day Classic. This was AJ’s best qualifying performance in the Mazda RX-8 and put the team in a great starting position for the race.

With high temperatures and plenty of sun early on the morning of the race, the Riley Racing drivers had their work cut out for them for 2 1/2 hours. AJ Riley started the car in 7th, and at the 1 hour mark, he had the car up to 2nd place. Just as AJ was heading through the Downhill to come into pit lane, the #26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 car hit the rear of our car hard enough to put AJ into a spin in one of the fastest corners at Lime Rock. AJ did an excellent job to keep the car off the walls, but had to wait for the long train of cars to pass before he could get over to pit lane. Because of the poor driving of one of our competitors, we dropped to 20th place.

Jameson was able to fight the car back up to 15th, but due to an extra fuel stop, the Riley Racing Mazda RX-8 finished in 19th.

The Riley Racing Mazda RX-8 showed some great potential at the Memorial Day Classic, and the team is looking forward to the Continental Tire 15o at Watkins Glen in one week’s time.

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