Eight of the top grassroots competitors will compete November 15 & 16 at NOLA Motorsports Park for the Mazda Road to 24 scholarship valued at $100,000. Today, we feature Justin Hille, the 2016 SCCA Runoffs National Champion, Spec Miata.
Spirit of Mazda award recipient, Justin Hille, a 25-year-old Vehicle Testing Supervisor at Roush Industries, has been immersed in the automotive world since the age of 8, and the motorsports world since age 16. Before Hille was behind the wheel of an actual car, his family knew he had a natural gift for the sport, and a true love for it that he wanted everybody to enjoy equally. When he finally got behind the wheel, the ideas were proven on-track, culminating with a national championship in the most popular and competitive club racing class in the world, and being an instrumental part in the growth of the competitiveness of Spec Miata in his area.
Quickly making his way through the HPDE ranks with the help of his family and fellow club members, and eventually becoming a right-seat instructor for novices in multiple automotive clubs, Hille had his sights set on competing wheel-to-wheel. In early 2010, he enrolled in competition school with his newly purchased 1991 Mazda Miata, built by Long Road Racing. Quickly getting up to speed in his first year of racing, he was able to run below the track record at two tracks, and pick up two wins. “I study my video daily, partly to re-live the awesome experience, but mostly to figure out what I can do better next time. I always criticize myself regardless of the result, because perfection is so hard to achieve,” Hille stated. Living by this philosophy, Hille accrued impressive statistics; during his next six years and 89 races later, he earned a 43 percent win ratio, with 84 percent of his finishes in the top 5.
While Hille’s own racing efforts are important to him, his colleagues are equally as important. “I have no problem sharing data or setup advice with even my closest competitors. It is for the benefit of the class to have as many people as possible fighting for the win; that’s why the spectators love to watch us race, and that’s why people love to race this class.”
Hille feels that gestures like these improve the racing all around, making the environment more respectful, while not taking away from the fierce competition. “When we get in the car, and put our helmets on, we all want to win just as bad as the next guy.”
If Hille wins the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, and competes in the Battery Tender® Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, he plans to bring this attitude into the pro racing world, as well as continue to cascade this attitude to the club racing world, convincing more and more people to race Mazdas and promote the opportunities that Mazda provides.