MAZDASPEED7 Driver Blog: Stevan McAleer

My name is Stevan McAleer and I am 29 years old. I was born in Glasgow Scotland and up until my move to the States in 2009, I lived in the same place with my mum Shirley, dad Gordon and my four younger brothers: Gregg (28), Derek (23), Stuart (21) and Sam (17).

My dad introduced me to the sport in 1997 in karts and racing all over the UK. I was four times Scottish Karting Champion between 2000 and 2003 before moving into cars in 2005 by winning the scholarship. I was awarded a fully funded season in the Skip Barber Formula Series in 2006 as the prize.

That one year in the States changed my approach to becoming a race car driver and I chose to pursue my career in the USA. I ran Skip Barber Nationals in 2007, finishing fourth, and again in 2008, finishing fifth.

By then I had made the decision to move permanently to New York and did so in March 2009. I still live here today and recently renewed my working visa for another three years. It was December 2011 when I changed my career plans from open-wheel racecars to sports cars. I was given an opportunity to drive a Mazda MX-5 Cup car for CJ Wilson Racing at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance event.

I was blown away with the experience. It was such a long race with so many stories to tell from different times, but I absolutely loved it. I had raced in nothing but sprint racing and this was a real endurance event. To go to sleep to be woken up eight hours later to do the next stint was simply mind blowing. With the track conditions changing every time in the car, it really was one of my best, if not the number one, race to date. The icing on the cake was that we won our E1 class by multiple laps.

Over the next few months I worked hard to get in a position where I could attempt one of the 2012 Playboy Cup Championship races, ideally the opener at Sebring. This was my opportunity to show my skill in equal cars and run with the same team, CJ Wilson Racing. I qualified on pole by more than a second for the opening round and won the race by 5.5 seconds over my teammate. It gave me a massive boost to continue pursuing my dream. Six months later I was the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Champion and Rookie of the Year with three wins, eight podiums, five fastest race laps and two lap records – an amazing debut pro season.

Winning the MX-5 Cup championship gave me further funding from Mazda to run in the Continental Tire Series, where I again chose to run with CJ Wilson’s Street Tuner Team. It was an up-and-down season for us with seventh place overall in the standings but with two race wins, pole positions and fast laps. It was an unlucky year keeping me from another championship for CJ Wilson Racing, Mazda and Modspace. I did, however, receive the Rookie of the Year award for the second year running. The last two years running under CJ Wilson Racing driving a Mazda MX-5 have been the best two years of my career so far.