Mazda will race one entry this weekend in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on the streets of Belle Isle.
Mazda Motorsports will enter a single Prototype entry for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix in the fifth of 10 races for the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Drivers Joel Miller and Tom Long will pilot the No. 07 car on the 2.35-mile street course on Belle Isle. The 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers will take the green flag at noon ET Saturday, and will be televised live on Fox Sports 2. (A re-air of the race begins at 2 PM ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1.)
John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports
About the choice to enter a single car this weekend: “A large part of this program is to learn, refine and develop SKYACTIV technologies. The development of the diesel engine has been a steep climb upward, especially with peak horsepower and fuel efficiency that has allowed the team to lead two of the four races thus far. But, we believe we are best served by continuing development and simulation work with one car at the SpeedSource shops rather than both cars being at the track this week. This does not reflect any changes to the long-term commitments and goals of the Mazda program.”
Tom Long, Driver, No. 07 Mazda Prototype
“I like racing at Belle Isle. First of all, you have the ‘island atmosphere,’ racing along next to the river and seeing the Detroit skyline. A street circuit is always a challenge, and this one has a good variety of corners. Our Mazda performs well in the high-speed, flowing corners at the start of the lap, which are a big contrast to other sections, like Turns 8 through 11, that are tight, first-gear corners.
“Street circuits offer no margin for error with walls on both sides of the track. The lapped traffic here can be tough as there are segments were there’s only a single lane, but you have to be patient, as the consequences are severe if you make even a small mistake. It does really go back to one of the most fundamental rules of driving a race car: look where you want to go. So, I’ll not be looking at any of those walls!”
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to Indy includes USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights racing categories with Mazda power. In sports car racing, a similar ladder system involves a number of racing series, culminating with the Mazda Prototype team which races in the top level of IMSA sports car racing in North America. In grassroots categories, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer.
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. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.