June 2014

For the first time this season, Kenton Koch and John Dean II didn’t split wins during a Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires doubleheader. At the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, Koch, of Glendora, Calif., took the victory in both races and took over the points lead in the process. In the […]”

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June 27, 2014 (WATKINS GLEN, New York) – At this stage last year, Mazda had scored three of their nine wins with the SKYACTIV-D Mazda6 in the Grand-Am GX class on their way to the manufacturers’ championship. This year has been a massive step up to the highest level. Mazda is now racing in the top prototype class of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. While the team is still chasing their first win of the season, the progress has been dramatic with significant gains made at each race.

John Doonan, Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations noted that, “As racers, we won’t be happy until we win races and challenge for championships. As a car company, developing new technology in the harshest of environments, we couldn’t be happier with how the season has progressed. This is year two of a five year plan, and we have lived up to the Mazda standard of Courage, Creativity, and Conviction. After the sprint races, it will be great to return to a true endurance race, one where our SKYACTIV efficiency has an opportunity to pay off in terms of fewer pitstops. We knew that coming to a new series with the smallest engine would be a challenge, but that’s why we race – to build better cars. We are asking our race engine to do three times the workload of the production engine – a huge task. We are now within a few percentage points of the lap speeds of the fastest cars while beating everyone on fuel economy. Our collective efforts will be rewarded.”

Since the opening race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mazda SpeedSource team has been operating on an almost 24/7 level developing the powertrain and chassis. At each race, the team has brought new hardware to test in real world race conditions. Since the first race, there has only been one mechanical DNF, and both cars ran flawlessly at Detroit. The latest improvements, focused on cooling, include:
The additional of a cooling fan on the high pressure intercooler
The addition of radiator extraction louvers on the top of the sidepods
A change from a single pass to a dual pass radiator
Ongoing optimization of engine mapping for efficient shifting

For Watkins Glen, the regular driver lineups of Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long in the #70 and Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez in the #07 will be supplemented by Ben Devlin and Tristan Vautier. Miller and Nunez scored the GX class win in 2013 in their Mazda6.

To make the racing as accessible as possible, Mazda will once again be offering a live ‘second screen’ during the race. Fans watching the race live on FOX Sports1 can simultaneously ride along in the Mazda cars via the Mazda YouTube channel.

In addition to the TUDOR Championship race, the Watkins Glen weekend will also feature round six of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and a doubleheader for the Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda.

Mazda leads the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner Manufacturers’ Championship thanks to three straight wins. Freedom Autosport and CJ Wilson Racing will both have their MX-5’s ready to do battle with BMW, Porsche, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai. This race will be on Saturday morning.

MX-5 fans will also want to follow the action from the streets of Houston where rounds five and six of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires will take place. John Dean II and Kenton Koch have each scored a pair of wins in the first four races.

Mazda Motorsports is not a story. Mazda Motorsports is a wide variety of stories that cover the latest in automotive technology, business, along with amazing, often inspiring, people stories. These include:

RACE WHAT YOU SELL — Mazda is using their latest SKYACTIV Technology to power a Mazda Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Mazda has the smallest displacement engine in the class, a true David and Goliath story. Race what you sell translates into improved Quality, Durability, and Reliability (aka QDR). Over the years, Mazda has made direct improvements in street cars from lessons learned on the track.

RACE GREEN – The fuel in the Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype is a RENEWABLE, SYNTHETIC DIESEL (not a bio-diesel). The fuel is produced by Dynamic Fuels from waste food products and is approved for use by the U.S. Military. Mazda is the only race team in the world using this fuel.

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS – Earlier this year Mazda introduced a new national educational outreach program designed to encourage the nation’s middle and high school students to consider studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Called Racing Accelerates Creative Education (R.A.C.E.), the program is visiting schools near each of the 2014 TUDOR Championship events. The curriculum of this turn-key, interactive learning forum is designed to provide stimulating, real-world examples of why it is important to know science and math. Mazda utilizes their racecar, race drivers and race engineers in the interactive presentation.

THE MOST POPULAR RACE CAR AT ANY GIVEN ROAD COURSE – Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the all-time best selling two-seat roadster with sales of over 900,000 units. With thousands of used MX-5s for sale at affordable prices, the MX-5 has become the most road-raced car in America. Mazda Motorsports has sold over 2,500 Spec Miata racing kits.

OPERATING MOTORSPORTS AS A BUSINESS – It’s easy to hire a professional team to race your products – just pay them. Getting people to spend money BUYING cars and parts requires a completely different approach. The products must be great – capable of winning. And there must be great customer service. Mazda Motorsports has a full-time staff of motorsports parts and technical professionals who assist club racers in buying the right parts, and with guidance on vehicle set-up. This is racers supporting racers. The result is Mazda North American Operations has sold over $75,000,000 in parts since 1991.

RACING AT HOME – MAZDA SUPPORTS iRACING PROGRAM – Announced earlier this year, iRacing competitors competing in the 2014 iRacing MX-5 Cup season beginning April 29th will be eligible to compete in the annual Mazda Club Racing Shootout held each fall. The shootout winner earns a Mazda Motorsports scholarship for the following year’s Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires. Complete details are posted at iRacing.com

IF IT TURNS LEFT AND RIGHT, THERE IS LIKELY A MAZDA IN THE RACE – The list of professional series where you can find Mazda cars or Mazda-powered cars competing includes:
TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (Prototype Class)
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (Street Tuner)
Pirelli World Challenge (Touring Car, Touring Car A, Touring Car B)
Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires
Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge
Cooper Tires Prototype Lights Powered by Mazda
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda
Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires
Atlantic Championship Series
This is in addition to the dozen plus club racing classes in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA) where Mazda cars and engines compete.

SAVING LIVES OFF THE TRACK – Mazda Motorsports is promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and formed a strategic partnership with Project Yellow Light in 2012. With hundreds of teenage race drivers Mazda is uniquely positioned to have teenage racers take this message to their peer group. Mazda funded Project Yellow Light Scholarships are being awarded to high school and college students who produce the best public service videos. Details can be found at http://www.projectyellowlight.com/

ICONIC MAZDA RACEWAY – Mazda North American Operations doesn’t have a company picnic. They have a company track day. That’s the type of people who work at Mazda. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, Laguna Seca was a favorite track of Mazda racers and fans. At the end of the millennium, as the raceway was entering its fifth decade as one of America’s premier sports car circuits, Mazda entered into a naming rights agreement with the Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), operators of the track, which is a Monterey County recreational area, and made a substantial investment to bring the track up to 21st century standards. The track has been Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since the year 2000. The remaining 2014 schedule is as follows:
July 11-13 ENI FIM Superbike World Championship
Aug. 8-10 Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion
Aug. 15-17 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
Oct. 10-12 SCCA National Championship Runoffs

DEVELOPING THE MOTORSPORT HALL OF FAME OF 2064 – Racing is where sport, technology and commerce come together. Many young drivers succeed at one level of the sport but often, because of a lack of financial resources, struggle to move up. Thanks to the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, the Mazda Road to Indy, and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, over three dozen racers have been promoted to the next level with Mazda scholarship money. Mazda is developing the next generation of road-racing superstars. This year eight of the 33 racers in the Indy 500 had Mazda on their racing resume.

THE UNITED NATIONS OF RACING – Racing is a global sport and the top U.S. series attracts talented racers from around the world. At the first races of 2014, over two dozen racers from beyond the U.S. borders chose to come to America and race with Mazda power. Racers from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, Norway, Colombia, the Philippines, Argentina, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Jamaica are represented on the grid between multiple Mazda series.

AFFORDABLE AND FUN SHOWROOM STOCK – The Mazda2 is a B-segment car. Horsepower snobs may not think much of a 100 hp econobox, until they drive a great one that is set up for the track. The fun factor of the car amazes everyone who gets it onto the track. A DIY racer can buy a used Mazda2, add a MAZDASPEED B-Spec kit plus safety equipment and be ready to race for under $15,000.

RACE TO THE SHELTER – Since 2007 Mazda has worked with multiple animal welfare organizations to actively promote shelter animal adoptions using Mazda racecars as billboards. The company has also helped raise money for shelters. Mazda has multiple activities planned with the SPCA for Monterey County in 2014.

9,000+ RACERS, 9,000+ STORIES – You cannot stereotype a racer. Mazda has racers from all walks of life. People who race Mazdas are contractors, lawyers, doctors, engineers, students, retirees, and many more. We have racers too young to have a license for the street, and some who are AARP members. Mazda racers are in 44 of the 50 states. Pretty impressive when you realize that only 37 states have road-racing tracks.

MEET A FEW MAZDA RACERS – Among those 9,000 stories, we have recently been inspired by:
Liam Dwyer – A U.S. Marine who lost his leg in combat. In only his second professional start Liam co-drove to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST win at Lime Rock Park last month. Liam will be racing at VIR in August.

C.J. Wilson – Mazda racer, Mazda team owner, Mazda dealer, who spends most of the year as a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. C.J. is developing his own ‘farm team’ with an eye on becoming a full-time racer after his baseball career wraps up.

Natalie Feneroli – An 18-year-old high school student racing in the NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge.

The Prather Family – Kent and Jesse Prather are father and son. Both have won SCCA Championships in Mazda MX-5s. They have one particular MX-5 that has won five championships, in three classes, after it completed 180,000 miles on the road. Jesse built the Mazda motors for over 20 of the cars that competed in the 2013 SCCA Runoffs.

Patrick Gallagher, Dalton Kellett, and Kenton Koch – All balancing a full race schedule with a full schedule of university engineering classes.

Julia Ballario, Michele Bumgarner, and Vicky Piria – While Indycar may not have any women racing full-time in 2014, the Pro Mazda Championship, a part of the Mazda Road to Indy, has three competing this season.

Michael Johnson – Seeking to be the first driver to win the Indy 500 racing with hand controls.

We have many many more compelling stories.

About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED
Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. Via the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.

Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.

Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsport), Twitter (@mazdaracing), Instagram (MazdaMotorsport) and www.mazdamotorsports.com

Modern auto racing is a team sport. While most of the competing is done by a single driver at the controls, there are countless hours of work put in behind the scenes, away from the racetrack and the crowd. Those hours spent away from the limelight make it possible for the driver to put in […]”

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Hello everyone! We are exactly half way through the season, making this a fantastic time to provide an update on the highs and lows of 2014 to date. By the end of April we were four races into the season and I had three podium results including two second-place finishes, leaving me tied for second […]”

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In-car video can be a great thing. It can be something fun to show friends and relatives. It can be used to show someone around the track. It can be evidence for the race stewards. Perhaps most importantly, it can be an evaluation tool for both the driver’s and the car’s performance.

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Adam Poland, of Mt. Vernon, Texas, took his first Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car victory in the second of two races at Road America on Friday, after finishing third in the wet first race earlier in the day. Poland dominated the late afternoon Round 8 driving the No. 11 Eastex Motorsports/Poland Construction Mazda MX-5. He […]”

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CJ Wilson has some big dreams in motorsports – racing and winning at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But before he gets there, he has to start a little smaller. There’s also the matter of his day job as a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to consider. “It’s more important […]”

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SCCA’s largest Club Racing event outside the National Championship Runoffs, the Chicago Region WeatherTech June Sprints, went off under mostly sunny skies at Road America this past weekend. For the first time, the event was a doubleheader as are all the SCCA Majors events. The June Sprints was Rounds 5 and 6 of the Northern Conference Majors Tour.

Saturday’s races were 10 laps, as opposed to the usual timed races, and Sunday’s were scheduled for 13 laps of the 14-turn, 4.0-mile circuit.
Danny Steyn was just one leader among eight drivers in contention for Spec Miata early, but the race came down to three top drivers sorting out the final laps alone. With the laps winding down, Todd Lamb was sandwiched between teammates Jim Drago and Craig Berry, left with the nearly impossible decision of going for the lead and falling to third, or staying in second to the checkered flag. Practically attached at the bumper for the final two laps, Drago was watching his mirrors while Berry looked for any opening to move around Lamb. None of the three drivers made a dramatic move, and crossed the finish line with Berry’s No. 2 East Street Racing Miata at the front followed by Lamb and Berry.

The Formula Mazda field was small at the June Sprints, but that didn’t lessen the excitement in the battle for the lead. Dale VandenBush led the opening lap, sneaking around teammate and polesitter Jason Vinkemulder. Vinkemulder found his way back around on lap two, with VandenBush leading laps three and four. Vinkemulder was back in front on lap five in his No. 10 Lake Effect Motorsports Formula Mazda, and edged just in front of his teammate. With clean air, Vinkemulder held the lead for the last half of the race and took the checkered flag.

Jim Drago, fresh off the Spec Miata win, couldn’t get his No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata to fire on the grid. As the field rolled past him, his Super Touring Lite machine roared to life, and he caught the end of the field just before turn 12 on the pace lap. Drago worked through the field, and moved around then-leader Breton Williams’ No. 00 First Wealth Financial Group Mazda RX-7 on lap five to move into the lead and get clear, taking the checkered flag and sending his crew off to replace the battery in the Mazda.

Daniel Bender held off Jim Ebben for the Touring 4 win in the tightest race of the run group. Bender’s No. 10 Bravo Trailers/Autobarn Mazda Mazda MX-5 set the pace and kept in front of Ebben’s RX-8, eventually creating a gap by the checkered flag.

The racing saying “cautions breed cautions” was fresh in Lamb’s mind during a lap 10 restart of Sunday’s Spec Miata race, and knowing that helped him to a win.

With nine cars in the lead pack early in the race, a two-car incident near Turn 7 dislodged the tire barrier and brought out a full course caution. Steyn lost the lead immediately in the first race when his restart speed allowed the cars behind him to get a head of steam and draft by him going into Turn 1. When he brought the field single-file to the restart on lap 10, Steyn used a slower approach up the hill to try to hold the lead.

Unfortunately, rather than following the field to the green flag, drivers in the middle of the pack tried to anticipate the restart going through Turn 13. Eight cars were collected in the carnage and scattered throughout the Kettle Moraine countryside, all before the green flag came out. Unaware at the time of the extent of the damage, Steyn took the lead through Turns 1, 2 and 3, with Lamb’s No. 80 Cahall/Driving Coach/Hawk Performance Miata drafting down the hill toward Turn 5. Steyn left the door open to the inside, and Lamb went past. Lamb completed the move just before the full course caution flags came back out, freezing the field and bringing out the checkered flag early to complete clean-up. Lamb took home the winner’s trophy, with Steyn second and Eric Stearns third.

Some drivers seemed to exorcise some recent demons this weekend with sweeps in the Production classes. Jim Daniels had been bitten by enough little mechanical issues at Road America, both at the June Sprints and previous SCCA National Championship Runoffs, but recovered this weekend with a pair of victories. Daniels’ No. 176 WebLaps.com Mazda MX-5 pressed the pace from start to finish, running early with Joe Moser in a battle for the lead. Moser pulled off course early, with Daniels well ahead of Jon Brakke’s Miata, and Daniels pushed to the finish.

Ken Kannard swept F Production at his home course in the No. 51 Northwest Cable Construction/Hoosier Mazda Miata. The wins will help make up for five years of Road America Runoffs disappointment for Kannard, who had a series of issues that kept him from his true potential at the event.

All of the front running machines in the big formula group went out on rain tires, as the race began wet after a brief 15-minute shower. However, the strategy all changed late in the race when the sun came out and the track started to dry. Fabio Castellani led the opening 11 laps in the wet, and continued to get quicker as the race went on. His problem, though, was that by lap 10, when a clear, dry line began to appear, Sedat Yelkin’s No. 75 Everclear/K-Hill Swift 016/Mazda was going even faster. Yelkin moved around Castellani on lap 12 and looked clear, until he realized that Conner Kearby’s No. 56 GK Motorsports Swift 016/Mazda was even quicker by that point. Kearby closed a second-and-a-half on the final lap, getting to the gearbox of Yelkin at the checkered flag, but probably falling one lap short of challenging for the lead.

Bender (T4) and Drago (STL) completed their sweeps, as did GT-3 driver George Cichon, who took two victories in his Hoosier/MAZDASPEED/Cichon Racing Mazda RX-7.

The Northern Conference Majors Tour continues July 12-13 with Rounds 7 and 8 at GingerMan Raceway. The next U.S. Majors Tour events are the BFGoodrich Tires Watkins Glen Super Tour at Watkins Glen International, in the Eastern Conference, and Portland International Raceway, in the Western Conference, both July 4-6.

SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour

Rounds 5 and 6

Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.

June 14-15, 2014

Round 5 Mazda Winners

Class Driver Hometown Car
E Production Jim Daniels Germantown Tenn. Mazda Miata
F Production Ken Kannard East Troy Wis. Mazda Miata
Formula Atlantic Conner Kearby Corpus Christi Texas Swift 016/Mazda
Formula Mazda Jason Vinkemulder Spring Lake Mich. Formula Mazda
GT-3 George Cichon Jr. Rockton Ill. Mazda RX-7
Super Touring Lite Jim Drago Memphis Tenn. Mazda Miata
Spec Miata Jim Drago Memphis Tenn. Mazda Miata
Touring 4 Daniel Bender Northbrook Ill. Mazda MX-5

Round 6 Mazda Winners

Class Driver Hometown Car
E Production Jim Daniels Germantown Tenn. Mazda Miata
F Production Ken Kannard East Troy Wis. Mazda Miata
Formula Atlantic Sedat Yelkin Austintown Ohio Swift 016/Mazda
Formula Mazda Dale VandenBush Green Bay Wis. Formula Mazda
GT-3 George Cichon Jr. Rockton Ill. Mazda RX-7
Super Touring Lite Jim Drago Memphis Tenn. Mazda Miata
Spec Miata Todd Lamb Atlanta Ga. Mazda Miata
Touring 4 Daniel Bender Northbrook Ill. Mazda MX-5

For SpeedSource Race Engineering principal Sylvain Tremblay, the racing bug bit, appropriately enough, with a Mazda. That Mazda was far from any racetrack, however. “If you rewind the clock, I was 13-years old riding my bicycle in my little town of Lighthouse Point, Florida,” Tremblay explains. “I came across a Champion Spark Plug RX-3 on […]”

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Yes, if you’re  fan of stick-and-ball sports, CJ Wilson needs no introduction. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s star lefty on the mound is well known in baseball circles. Now in his 10th year as a major leaguer, he has a little over a 50 percent win record as a starting pitcher and 3.61 career […]”

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Northeastern racers couldn’t wait for the snow to stop and the sun to come out this year. They got as much sun as they could want, and then some, when the Northern Conference Majors Tour stopped at the 12-turn, 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports park for Rounds 9 and 10. With the sun […]”

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Gumby didn’t drive a racecar. So seeing the lovable claymation character at a racetrack is a bit unusual. But when Kenton Koch won the second of two SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May, Gumby was right there on the podium with him. As […]”

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Matthew Brabham is competing in the Cooper Tires Indy Lights series thanks in large part to the scholarship money he earned from Mazda by winning the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2013. But there’s no question that as he moved to the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, while […]”

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U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer described his victory at Lime Rock Park, where he co-drove the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 with Tom Long in the Continental Tires SportsCar Challenge, as “a storybook ending to a fairy tale that even Hollywood couldn’t make up.” It’s a story that began at 18 months old […]”

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Commemorating the model’s 25th anniversary, Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that it will partner with the UK’s JOTA Sport to enter a Mazda MX-5 in the 24 Hours Nurburgring endurance race taking place in Germany on June 21-22. Mazda has commissioned JOTA Sport to prepare the vehicle and manage the race team. The team of […]”

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Rounds 3 and 4 of the BFGoodrich Tires Super Tour brought more than 230 drivers to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Eight groups ran 30-minute sprint races on Saturday and 19-lap (or 45-minute) races on Sunday. Jim Drago left the Spec Miata field behind in a cloud of dust on Saturday, marching his No. 2 East […]”

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