Spirit of Mazda: James Wilson

B-Spec racer and Black Armor Helmets owner would “drop anything he’s doing to help somebody”

“He is representative of what we stand for. Anybody that drives their B-Spec car from Texas all the way to Mazda Raceway to compete in the Runoffs absolutely exemplifies grassroots racing and what Mazda stands for.”

If you’ve paid attention to this site or Mazda Motorsports in general for any length of time, you likely already know that Director of Mazda Motorsports John Doonan is talking about James Wilson. Wilson, the owner and president of Black Armor Helmets, also races B-Spec, and is known for often driving his B-Spec Mazda2 to races, including Pirelli World Challenge races and the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2014. Sadly, that Mazda2 is no more, having rolled at Circuit of the Americas earlier this year. But Wilson is soldiering on, renting cars in order to qualify for this year’s SCCA Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“He’s got a racer’s mentality,” says Doonan. “When we decided to establish the Spirit of Mazda award, that’s what it stands for – what have they done to positively impact the community? James is a perfect example of that.”

That manifests itself not only through his racing, done in the most grassroots way possible, but in other areas, such as his commitment to bringing affordable safety products to racers, and his willingness to lend a hand.

“James would drop anything he’s doing to help somebody,” says Stephanie Andersen, Black Armor’s production manager and a fellow B-Spec racer. “He’s always lending out tools or offering to get tires. Competitors in the same class…it doesn’t matter; he wants more people out on the track, so he’s willing to help to make that happen.”

Doonan speaks of Wilson’s integrity and continuous kaizen – continuing to improve with wisdom and ingenuity – two of the seven pillars that make up the Spirit of Mazda philosophy. “He’s always wanted to succeed on the track,” explains Doonan. “Even more so, he just has an enthusiasm about him around the folks he comes in contact with around the paddock, fellow racers and competitors. You can see the spring in his step every time he comes to a race.”

For integrity and always looking to improve on the track and in his safety product, James Wilson is the Spirit of Mazda award winner for May.