High Expectations at Mazda Raceway

Namesake track  ideal for diesel-powered Mazda Prototypes; Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca plays to the cars’ strengths.

There’s a new kind of pressure on the Mazda Prototypes for this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda. Race number four for the TUDOR United SportsCar Series will take place Sunday, May 3 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.  The two-hour, forty-minute race takes place at a track which plays into the strengths of the chassis and SKYACTIV Diesel engines. The team aims to live up to the pressure of heightened expectations with drivers such as Jonathan Bomarito, who grew up in Monterey, and Tom Long, who will be pulling triple duty through the weekend.

Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 70 Mazda Prototype
“Yes, there is pressure. But it’s a good pressure. We’re expected to do well – plus the track is named Mazda Raceway! The opportunity is there for us to capitalize.”

Why do the Mazda Prototypes perform so well at this track? “Mazda Raceway allows us to showcase all of the elements where we excel. The track has 11 corners, and not a lot of long straights. All of the corners that lead into the straights, such as turns four and six, are smooth, medium- to high-speed corners that play to the aerodynamic strength of our chassis and the torque of our diesel engine. Our chassis likes to be run close to the ground for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, and the smooth track allows us to run much lower than at a bumpy course like Long Beach. All of those elements play into what we believe is a performance advantage. It’s our strongest track, so we expect to perform well.”

Bomarito is a native of Monterey and expects a large contingent of supporters for the event. “My best friend, my family and many more. My mom knows everyone in the Monterey Peninsula, so there will be a lot of familiar faces there.”

Tom Long, driver, No. 07, Mazda Prototype
Long has three distinct roles this weekend at Mazda Raceway. In addition to driving the No. 07 Prototype, he will be racing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race in a Mazda MX-5 with Freedom Autosport. Long will also be driving in the public unveiling of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Cup car, which will take to the track during practice sessions for the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich.

Triple duty? “Yes! It’s exciting for me, and credit really goes to Mazda for having such a variety of categories that allows me to do so. My main focus is certainly with the SpeedSource Mazda Prototype. We have the tools we need to really compete, so that’s the number one priority for me.

I’m excited about the public debut of the MX-5 Cup car, and I’m joining Freedom to help them extend their four-year winning streak here at Mazda Raceway. The main thing for me is to remain organized. With so much going on, I have to understand exactly what is needed and what is important each moment. I have to make the best of it and capitalize on such a great opportunity.”

About Mazda Raceway: “It’s not my home track because I’m from the East Coast, but I really like it. I’ve driven a lot of laps and done a lot of driver coaching for Mazda here. I think the coaching and tutoring really help me. If you understand the track better by teaching it to others, I believe it has the advantage of being an almost subconscious boost when it’s time for me behind the wheel.”

Mazda Driver Lineup / Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Car No. 07        Tom Long / Joel Miller
Car No. 70         Jonathan Bomarito / Tristan Nunez
The pair of sleek Soul Red cars are coming off of their best finishes of the year, with the No. 07 finishing seventh and the No. 70 finished eighth at the Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Mazda Prototype Fast Fact
The Mazda SKYACTIV engine is very efficient. In race form, the production-based diesel engine produces roughly 216 horsepower per liter. In comparison, the 5.5-liter V-8 Daytona Prototype cars produce approximately 110 horsepower per liter.

Mazda Motorsports
Mazda’s SKYACTIV Prototypes compete in the highest category of the TUDOR United SportsCar Series. It is the peak of the brand’s motorsports program that includes comprehensive driver development ladders in both sports cars and open-wheel racing series that is unmatched globally.

Mazda’s involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world’s premier road-racing circuits, the Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI) and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy (#MRT24). On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. For details, visit MazdaMotorsports.com, follow @MazdaRacing on Twitter or Mazda Motorsports on Facebook.

Mazda North American Operations 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.