A.M. Performance Debuts Two Car Effort at Laguna

Scotts Valley, California – July 12th, 2011 – It was a complicated and yet successful two-car debut for A.M. Performance at their home race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Although the team had a difficult race during the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda, with the #05 and #04 Nismo 370Zs finishing 19th and 26th respectively, the race weekend was deemed a success and was highlighted by being the team’s first two-car endeavor in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Championship.

The Scotts Valley, CA based team, which is quickly becoming a fan favorite, runs the only two Nissan entries in the CTSCC field.  After taking a three race hiatus to finish building their second racecar, the A.M. squad returned to the track stronger than ever and although still struggling to keep up with the more powerful V8s in the field, they managed to close the gap more than ever to their competitor’s cars that have had years of development.

Lawrence Loshak took the green flag with the #05 Nismo 370Z in the 20th position and immediately starting picking up positions during his stint.  For the race the A.M. crew decided to take advantage of the high fuel efficiency and low wear on the tires and gambled on a one-stop strategy.  Halfway through the race the strategy was paying off as Loshak found himself running in the fourth position, unfortunately a couple of drive through penalties forced the #05 to loose valuable time.  Ken Dobson took over on Lap 41 and continued with the quick pace but never had enough time to make up the lost ground from the penalties.  Dobson went on to take the checkered flag for the car’s first ever race, crossing the finish line in the 19th position in class.

Taking the green flag for the third time this year in the #04 Nismo 370Z was Mike Sweeney who started from the 22nd position on the grid.  Sweeney, who alongside with co-driver Thomas Merrill is an instructor at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, had an action packed start to the race but managed to survive the carnage and started working his way up the field during the first laps of the race.  Following the same strategy as the sister car, Sweeney ran as high as sixth until Lap 41 when he handed the controls over to Merrill.  What looked to be a promising day for the white and red car ended up in disappointment, as Merrill had to retire from the race with a mechanical failure ending the day early for the #04 car.

For more information about the team and its exciting new NISMO 370Z racecars please visit and you can also follow us at and

Jeff Hecox
Managing Director, A.M. Performance
“I was very pleased with our drivers, they all did a great job.  As far as the team we still need a lot of work on our pit stops.  We are a very young team in that respect and we are going to spend a lot of time practicing to bring ourselves up to grand am standards.  As far as the car everybody did an awesome job getting the #05 built for this race and we are very happy with the results.  Our 370Zs are brand new and although we have shown potential there is no doubt that we still have a lot of work to do to be able to catch up to the leaders.

Overall I’m very happy with our weekend though, we learned a lot and we know have a clearer idea of where we need to improve for the next race.  When we come back we’ll have a much more polished team.”

Lawrence Loshak
Driver, #05 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
Qualified: 20th
Finished: 26th
“I was really impressed with the car, the handling and the overall package has improved immensely.  In my opinion we qualified very well, being only 1.7 seconds off the leaders with a brand new car is a very strong effort from everybody.  There’s no doubt that in the world of V8s we are still at a huge disadvantage on the straights, but we’ll just have to keep improving our car to try to shorten the gap.

We noticed that we were getting very good fuel mileage and low tire wear, so we decided to go with a one stop strategy which was paying of very well, we were running in the top five for a while.  Unfortunately some penalties made us lose lots of time, we weren’t able to finish up there where we wanted but we are fixing a lot of details and I really believe we have a championship contending car for the 2012 season.

Driving with Ken Dobson was a treat and being a part of the A.M. Performance team is a huge opportunity for me.  I was very pleased with the weekend but I won’t be completely happy until we make it to the winner’s circle.”

Ken Dobson
Driver, #05 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
Qualified: 20th
Finished: 26th

“It was unfortunate that we had those problems during the race with the penalties because we had a strong car.  Towards the end of the race the #05 Nissan was working flawlessly and since we were already so far behind we just decided to turn the last few laps into a test session. But what’s important is that I think we showed that we can fight up there in the top ten.

The team has done a great job building this car, right away I could tell that it is a super solid piece and it has a lot of potential for the future.  The team has a great group of people and with time it can be a very capable championship contending effort.”

Mike Sweeney
Driver, #04 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
Qualified: 22nd
Finished: 19th

“Obviously we wanted to have a stronger result at our home race, but overall we are very happy not only because we showed up with a very strong two car team, but also because we have closed the gap to the leaders and we also showed that our car can be very strong during a race and allows us to play around with strategy quite a bit thanks to the great fuel efficiency on the Nissan engine.  It’s frustrating to see the other cars drive away from you on the straights but once we get to the handling sections we are very strong.

For a while there things were looking great for both our cars, unfortunately we had problems and fell back and for us in the #04 we didn’t get to finish the race, but that’s part of the process that you go with a new team and a new car and we’ll just learn from it and move on.  Racing at Mazda Raceway was very special, it is our home track and we got to meet a lot of our new fans that have been extremely supportive of our program.  I can’t wait to give all of them a win with our Nismo 370Z very soon!”

Thomas Merrill
Driver, #04 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
Qualified: 22nd
Finished: 19th

“As a whole, the weekend was extremely positive for us and our AM Performance Nismo 370Z.  It was extremely disappointing to have the mechanical failure, especially since our strategy was going so well and our race pace was good.  The quality of this racing team was certainly not represented in the results. Looking ahead, we are excited to make the car even more competitive and have a great end to the season in Mid-Ohio.”

About A.M. Performance:
A.M. Performance is a race car preparation, aftermarket parts, and tuning company based in Scotts Valley, CA.  Our 9000 sq ft. facility is staffed with some of the most skilled and passionate racecar minds in the country, with all the tools required at their fingertips to build high-end racecars for the most competitive series in the country.  Our professional fabricators can handle any job, big or small, from Grand Am Rolex GT cars, to your everyday HPDE track car.

Although A.M. Performance is equipped to build a racecar from any make, we specialize in Nissan 370Z’s and Nissan GT-R’s.  Our experience racing both platforms gives us unique experience to advise our customers on the exact products they need for their street, track day, or full racecar Nissan.

Check the A.M. Performance website often for company updates.  Our first two years look to be extremely exciting with our multi-car entry into the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class.  We will also be coming to market with multiple hard parts which will be must haves for any track or race car 370Z.  An AWD chassis dyno is also in the works to be installed and ready for customer tunes by the end of 2011.

Images courtesy of Melissa K. Smith –

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