< Back to News Home MAZDASPEED Development Driver John Edwards to join Team Sahlen

Posted (06/10/2011) -

Team Sahlen, in partnership with Mazda Motorsports, is excited to announce that MAZDASPEED Development Driver John Edwards will be joining the team in the Grand-Am ROLEX Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.



John Edwards shares his thoughts – “I'm looking forward to joining Team Sahlen! It is great to see all that they have done in motorsports, especially in promoting the Sahlen 6 Hours at the Glen along with fielding multiple Mazda RX-8's in the GT field. Team Sahlen is very fan-oriented, so I am excited to get on board. I am also looking forward to being back in Mazda in GT competition after spending all of last season in the #68 RX-8!”



While attending the 24 Hour of LeMans, John Doonan was able to share his thoughts “When we established the Mazda Motorsports Driver Development Career Ladder program in 2007, it was out intent to help young driving talent grow through motorsports based on their talent and positive attitudes.  There have been over two dozen drivers who have directly benefited from a Mazda support over the last four years.  Some of these drivers have landed in full time, paid rides in a variety of series in North America or Internationally.”  And he further continued by sharing, “John Edwards, while starting mostly in the open wheel side of the ladder, has found a great niche in driving top level sports cars for Mazda and even for other makes.  Selfishly we love to see our ladder drivers stay in the Mazda family…and we are grateful the Team Sahlen’s group has found a place for John for the remainder of the 2011 season.  Team Sahlen’s has been doing a great job in the Grand Am ROLEX GT Series and we hope John can be a part of that growth.”



“We are very excited to have John on board with us.  He showed outstanding speed and race craft in 2010 when he drove the #68 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8.  He had several podiums, and won at Lime Rock Park, enroute to finishing in 6th in the Driver’s Championship.  And on top of his current Continental Tire Series GS program in 2011, he has had 2 ROLEX GT races starts in RX-8s.  So he should be in excellent position to be able to jump right in and mix it up with the very best drivers in the GT field. I know that with John and Wayne together, we should be able to continue our quest to rise to the front of the GT grid.” Shared Team Sahlen Driver Will Nonnamaker



Added Team Sahlen principal Joe Sahlen - “Team Sahlen is very committed to continuing to assist Mazda in their Motorsports endeavors.  Part of that commitment is in being of assistance to Mazda in retaining the ROLEX GT Manufacturer’s Crown.  Additionally, we want to strive to provide opportunities for MAZDASPEED Development Drivers to continue to rise up the Professional Racing Ranks.  The great part is that with John Edwards on board, those two goals can be achieved all at once.”



“I am excited to be driving with John.  What is not to like; He is a fellow Buckeye, so it’s great to have another fellow Ohioan on the team. He has a wealth of experience with the Mazda RX-8, in addition to years of set up experience with Open wheel racers. And I am sure that will be valuable as the team, including our Lead Engineer, Catherine Crawford Wallace, work to get the most out of the RX-8.” – infused Team Sahlen Driver Wayne Nonnamaker



“The crew and I are excited to have a John co-piloting the Sahlen’s #42 Mazda RX-8 with Wayne. John has shown his capabilities in a RX-8 via his stints behind the wheel of the with SpeedSource.   This will be a great opportunity for Team Sahlen.” – shared Team Manager Jay Chapman



Currently Team Sahlen is in 9th place in the Team Championship. Additionally, driver Wayne Nonnamaker is leading the GT class Bob Akin Sportsman.  At the most recent Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen, Team Sahlen qualified in 4th place in GT, led with both their #42 and #49 RX-8s, and completed their third 7th place finish of the year.



For the upcoming Road America race, Team Sahlen will be entering the #42 Mazda for John Edwards and Wayne Nonnamaker.  Additionally Joe and his eldest son Will will be entered in the #43 Mazda.



John Edwards CV:

John began racing karts in 2003 winning the Great Lakes Sprint Series Jr Briggs Restricted Championship. That same year he became the youngest ever licensed driver in U.S. open-wheel road racing. Competing in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series on January 17, 2004, John became the youngest winner in open wheel road racing history, at just 12 years of age. In 2004 he also won the Red Bull Driver Search, a search for the next American F1 World Champion.


In 2005 John moved to Europe, first competing in international karting. His early mid-year promotion to Formula Renault resulted in him becoming the youngest to ever hold a FIA license.  After a first year of "baptism by fire" John completed a successful campaign in 2006 with podium finishes at Spa-Franchorchamps and the Nurburgring, and his first European victory at Anderstorp.


In 2007 John raced the Atlantic Championship, another youngest achievement. He recorded a podium finish, a second place at Toronto, as well as several other top-five finishes, ultimately ending 9th in the championship.  In 2008, John won the Star Mazda Championship.  In spite of missing the first race he secured 4 poles, 8 podiums, and 5 race wins in 11 races. For 2009 John returned to the Atlantic Championship. It was a return of determination as he won a hard fought championship, perhaps the highlight of his racing career.  He finished the season with 3 poles, 4 wins, and 9 podiums in 12 races.  


In 2009 he also had his first taste of sports car racing, winning his class with co-driver Michael Auriemma in the October VLN Race at the Nurburgring. For 2010 John teamed with 2009 Star Mazda Championship winner Adam Christodoulou in a SpeedSource-prepared Mazda RX-8 in the Grand-Am GT class entered by SpeedSource.  They achieved one win, two seconds and a third in eleven races.


Team Sahlen CV:

Founded in 1984, had its start in Endurance Sports Car racing in the founding year of what would eventually become the Continental Tires Series.  In 2005, Sahlen’s joined the team to become a partner in the team and as presenting brand name for the team. Currently Team Sahlen campaigns 3 Mazda RX-8s (#42, #43, #49) in the ROLEX Sports Car Series.  The 2011 race season marks the 12 season that the team has been partnered with MAZDASPEED.


Team Sahlen race cars are famous for their Red, White & Black paint schemes with Yellow Lighting bolts.  And beyond the on track success that the team has achieved, the race fans know Team Sahlen for their off track warm and inviting family oriented environment.  This includes having their very own mascots: Hot Dog Boy and his sidekick Ketchup at the track to meet with fans.  And often the team has unique and funny sayings on their Mazdas, including the current message of “Fueled by Hot Dogs” emblazoned on the rear quarter panels.  For 2011, fans can now become Sahlenfanatics by obtaining the crazy Hot Dog Hats that are being sold at the Grand American Merchandise Trailer.  But you better get yours soon, as the inventory has been sold out at every race to date.


Team Sahlen Statistics:

  • 53 Victories
  • 156 Podiums
  • 38 Pole Positions
  • 39   Fastest Race Laps
  •    600+ All-Time Entries
  • Driver Championships

          - 7 First Place Finishes

                   1984, 1987, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

- 3 Second Place Finishes

1998, 1999, 2003

- 5 Third Place Finishes

1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002


  •   Team Championships  

- 7 First Place Finishes        

1984, 1987, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

- 6 Second Place Finishes

1985, 1988, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004

- 4 Third Place Finishes

2000, 2002, 2003, 2004


  •   Manufacturer Championships

- 10 First Place Finishes

1984, 1987, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2003, 2004, 2004, 2005, 2010

- 12 Second Place Finishes

1985, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009

- 4  Third Place Finishes

1986, 1990, 1991, 1992


  • Rolex GT Bob Akin Sportsman Award

–    2005


  • 5 Rising Star Awards

–    1991, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004


  • 4 Crew Chief of the Year Awards

–    2001, 2003, 2003, 2004


  • 3 Paint Scheme of the Year Awards

–    2003, 2004, 2004


  • Top Team in Performance Index

–    2004


  • Sony Team Management Award

–    1999


  • Deringer “Forward Motion” Award

–    1999


  • Sunoco Top Performing Team Award

–    1999


  • 4 Most Entries in Series

–    1998, 2003, 2004, 2005


  • Series Marketing Appreciation Award

–    2000


  • Amateur Regional Awards

–    1992 SCCA WOR Rookie of the Year

–    1995 SCCA NEOHIO ITE class

–    1997 SCCA NEOHIO SSA class



The 2011 Team Sahlen GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 is supported by Mazda, Mazdaspeed,, Cool Shirt, Racetech Seats, BBS, Racing Print Media, Alcon, Mothers Polish, EMCO, NGK Spark Plugs,, Western New York Flash, Grassroots Motorsports, Castrol Oil, Holliday Canopies, ASC Industries, Iannetti  Design Ideas, CM Racing

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