Regardless of how the technical boffins and brilliant innovators of racing see it, motor racing is at its heart an emotional pursuit. It is about creating and experiencing a feeling – joy, excitement, pride, exhilaration, frustration, heartbreak – all feelings that confirm for us humans that we are indeed alive. At Mazda, we believe one of the purposes, maybe even obligations, of being human is to uplift other humans, to inspire others to experience feelings that enrich their lives.
We also believe that motor racing is uniquely set up to allow others to live their best lives, to feel enriched and to uplift others. Whether competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, racing a Spec Miata at a local track, standing at the fence line watching great racing or tuned in to see our heroes race on TV, racing generates an emotional reaction in even those with just a casual interest.
“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, the human drama of (athletic) competition” are famous words courtesy of ABC’s Wide World of Sports, capturing the essence of why competition is so engaging. We all need heroes and villains, and sports is where we find them in the modern world.
Motorsport is no exception and those who participate, as a driver or in another capacity, are in a higher state of being, and are rewarded for their efforts by living life as their best self. There is no doubt that living and working in motorsports can be hard with lots of travel, time away from family, long, long days and nights with little material reward. However, to those who know the emotional rewards, there is nothing we would rather do. Simple victories – be they finishing first or simply beating our own expectations, deliver a deep sense of accomplishment and joy that enriches in a way that seems entirely disproportionate to those poor souls who have not sampled “Feeling Alive” as we do in racing.
For those who watch, at live events, on TV in longform or via shortform digital and social content, there is an aspirational element about watching their heroes do things they only dream of, living vicariously through the exploits of their favorite driver or team. Racing drivers have an opportunity to inspire others to reach new heights and break boundaries in their own lives. That inspiration can live long after the race has ended and, in some cases, the personal challenges a driver has been through can be that inspiration all by itself. Think of how many racers among the Mazda racing community have inspirational stories to share that can uplift others. Our friend Liam Dwyer, who suffered catastrophic injuries while serving our country, yet returned to racing and became a multiple race winner in IMSA, is one. We’ve had others who have forever left their mark on this sport such as the late-Dave Wheeler (pictured above) and his late-wife Ann O’Malley, who made sure you had a beautifully working race car and delicious food in your belly at all times while at the track. And there are others in the racing community, who, despite advancing chronological age, are out there racing and inspiring others to live their best lives, every day they can. And at the other end of the age spectrum, we have had three young drivers in Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires that had yet to turn 16 years old – Robert Noaker, Tyler Maxson and Tyler Gonzales. Like others, they too are inspiring a new generation of Mazda fans to feel uplifted and follow their own dreams.
Through racing, Mazda and our racers have an opportunity to bring dreams to life in the minds of our fans and to educate a wider community about the Mazda brand through sharing their inspiring stories. If it holds true that to be human is to uplift other humans, then many in our midst are doing just that by living their best lives.
For those interested to read another brand story and learn more about our Challenger Spirit, please click here.