(Brian and Julian Garfield pictured above.)

Growing Community at the SCCA Solo Nationals

The 2018 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships will be held at Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Neb. on Sept. 4-7, preceded by the ProSolo finale Sept. 1-2. With more Mazda’s competing at Solo Nationals this year than any other manufacturer, Mazda continues to enhance the support program for the event.

“It’s all about ensuring the Mazda racers have the support from us that they deserve,” states Mazda Motorsports’ Specialist Dan Sumner. “More than 200 Mazda racers are spending their disposable income and circa a week competing. So, we’ll be there to bolster an already great experience provided by the SCCA with our hospitality program and activities throughout the week.”

Another added highlight for the ProSolo finale and for Solo Nationals is that Mazda will be bringing some of the Mazda road car fleet, which includes the 2019 MX-5.

New team member to Mazda Motorsports this year, Josh Smith, technical specialist, will join Sumner and Mazda Motorsports’ Business Development Manager David Cook at Solo Nationals.

“With help from some of the most talented autocrossers in the country – Julian Garfield, Ron Bauer, Deana Kelley, and others – we are going to start developing the parts kits for the STR class” commented Smith. “We will run on the Test n Tune course as early as Saturday (Sept. 1), with it culminating during the Thursday/Friday run days when Bauer, Kelley, John Hunter, and Tara Johns will compete, albeit for no recorded times. We expect the car will be competitive straightaway, but running Thursday and Friday will provide the benchmark.”

Below, is a day-by-day account of the support Mazda will provide ProSolo and Solo National Championship competitors, including a robust contingency awards program.

Friday, Aug 31:

  • The 2019 MX-5 arrives, which will be set for STR trim. (John Hunter, Ron Bauer, Deana Kelley, and Tara Johns to pilot for no time in STR and STRL the following Thursday/Friday. Due to college classes, Julian Garfield will be helping develop the car Saturday – Wednesday, but unable to participate Thurs/Fri.).
  • Business development manager Cook and Sumner arrive to the Airpark in the afternoon.

Saturday, Sept 1:

  • ProSolo action begins.
  • The Mazda tent will be set-up directly across from entry/exit at the airpark (expanding from 30’x30’ footprint in 2017 to 30’x45’ to make for additional seating for Mazda racers, a racing simulator, PA system, waters/Gatorades, lighting for the evening, charging stations, and more).
  • The 2019 MX-5 transition to STR trim complete (though adjustments will be made during testing throughout the week).
  • Mazda’s racing simulator arrives; will be set-up under the 30’x45’ Mazda tent.
  • (The Mazda racer – friend or family – who sets the fastest race lap on WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca by Friday at noon will earn a $250 parts credit from Mazda Motorsports.)

Sunday, Sept 2:

  • ProSolo competition concludes (likely crowning many Mazda champions once again!).
  • ProSolo contingencies will be earned by many (see below for offerings).

Monday, Sept 3:

  • To help grow motorsports, Mazda supports the Women on Track initiative. Mazda is catering lunch for all the women who attend this discussion from noon – 2:00 pm at Lincoln Airpark in what is known as the “Big Fun Tent.”
  • Starting at 3:00 pm, the second annual Mazda Motorsports’ corn hole tournament (winning team of two gets a $500 parts credit from Mazda Motorsports). To guarantee your entry, register now by clicking here. For the late-comers, stop by the Mazda tent by 3:00 pm on Monday. (Mazda again thanks Mazda racer Julian Garfield for the suggestion to create this fun, additional competition during Solo Nats!)

Tuesday, Sept 4:

  • Solo Nationals competition begins.
  • Mazda Motorsports welcomes all Mazda racers (friends and family) to come by the Mazda Motorsports tent for lunch where Dan Sumner and David Cook will be cooking burgers, hot dogs, and more from noon – 2:00 pm
  • Mazda Motorsports’ technical specialist Josh Smith arrives.
  • At 5:30 pm, we will stage a group Mazda photo near the Big Fun Tent. Four Mazda race cars will be staged, and all Mazda racers encouraged to join the group photo.
  • From 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Mazda Motorsports’ annual dinner for Mazda autocrossers, welcoming them not only with food and drink, but door prizes, a raffle, updates, and more. One highlight is that Mazda’s partners, BFGoodrich® Tires, will be on-hand to support, which includes raffling one set of tires.

Wednesday, Sept 5:

  • Dicky’s Barbecue Pit will cater lunch for Mazda racers, friends, and family starting at 11:30 am.
  • Mazda champions crowned and more contingency earned.

Thursday, Sept 6:

  • Josh Smith and David Cook will BBQ kabobs, burgers, brats and more for lunch. Mazda racers, friends and family welcome.
  • The 2019 MX-5 will run in STR and STRL for no-time.

Friday, Sept 7:

  • Catered Qdoba Mexican Grill lunch starting at noon at the Mazda 30’x45’ tent for Mazda racers, friends and family.
  • More Mazda champion’s crowned! And more contingency awards earned.
  • Mazda’ racing simulator competition (fastest lap wins) champion crowned at noon.

Contingency Awards Information:

To help get competitors to the Solo National Championships and other national-level events such as ProSolos, Match Tour and Championship Tour competitions, Mazda started paying deeper contingencies in 2017, which continued in 2018. This change was meaningful in grassroots racing, as Mazda pays more money and more grassroots racers than any other manufacturer.

“Starting in 2017, we made a strategic change in structuring our contingency awards program,” said Cook. “For years, the same ‘few’ racers were being paid over and over for race wins and podiums. Starting in 2017, and after conversations with Solo National champions Anthony Porta, Ron Bauer, Tamra Hunt and others, many of whom were the ones earning the contingency funds, we were convinced that we should pay deeper, even if it meant paying a little less to the top finishers.”

In the Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo National Series, Match Tour and Solo Championship Tour events, Mazda extended how deep it pays contingency awards to 6th place (from 5th in 2017, and 2nd in 2016). Mazda offers competitors up to $250 for a win, $150 for second, $130 for third, $120 for fourth $110 for a fifth, and $100 for a sixth-place finish via its contingency program. This is a vast improvement from the $300 for 1st and $175 for 2nd in 2016.

Finishing in the top 6 at any national event (i.e. ProSolo, Match Tours, and Championship Tour events) requires excellent preparation and often significant experience (and at times some luck). So Mazda also encourages those who have not yet cracked the top 6 and therefore earned contingency awards after competing in at least three of these events during the 2018 season, you are eligible to compete for Mazda’s Solo Competitor Bonus at Solo Nationals. Mazda will award $500 to the top 10 finishers based on PAX finishing position for those who meet these criteria.

SCCA Solo National Championship competitors now are paid to 6th place. Mazda racers can earn up to $800 for a win, $500 for second, $250 for third, $175 for fourth, $150 for fifth, and $125 for a 6th-place finish.

Many of the winners throughout the season will also earn additional contingency. Mazda’s contingency payouts for SCCA ProSolo season-end points championships earn up to $800 for first, $500 for second, and $250 for third. Mazda racers in the ProSolo Challenge earn $300 for a win and $200 for a second-place finish. Solo Triad winners receive a $600 bonus. (Triad winners: Those who will capture this additional bonus will be a Mazda driver that wins at least two Championship Tour events, or one Championship Tour event and one Match Tour event, and a Solo National Championship in the same class.)

To help grow the sport by encouraging more women to participate, Mazda created the women’s initiative. Any female competitor who finishes in 2nd through 10th place in open class at Solo Nationals will receive an additional $50 bonus.

Full details on Mazda’s contingency program and registration can be found at mazdamotorsports.com or by clicking here.

Look for updates on Mazda Motorsports’ participation at the Solo National Championships as the event gets closer, including one tomorrow on the ProSolo-focused preview.