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Jun 27, 2014 - 03:41 PM
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Mazda Motorsports: Watkins Glen Preview: Team Ready to Shine in Six Hour Race
Posted by: newsla on Jun 27, 2014 - 03:31 PM
USCR News
Mazda Motorsports: Watkins Glen Preview: Team Ready to Shine in Six Hour Race


At this stage last year, Mazda had scored three of their nine wins with the SKYACTIV-D Mazda6 in the Grand-Am GX class on their way to the manufacturers’ championship. This year has been a massive step up to the highest level. Mazda is now racing in the top prototype class of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. While the team is still chasing their first win of the season, the progress has been dramatic with significant gains made at each race.

 

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John Doonan, Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations noted that, “As racers, we won’t be happy until we win races and challenge for championships. As a car company, developing new technology in the harshest of environments, we couldn’t be happier with how the season has progressed. This is year two of a five year plan, and we have lived up to the Mazda standard of Courage, Creativity, and Conviction. After the sprint races, it will be great to return to a true endurance race, one where our SKYACTIV efficiency has an opportunity to pay off in terms of fewer pitstops. We knew that coming to a new series with the smallest engine would be a challenge, but that’s why we race – to build better cars. We are asking our race engine to do three times the workload of the production engine – a huge task. We are now within a few percentage points of the lap speeds of the fastest cars while beating everyone on fuel economy. Our collective efforts will be rewarded.”

Since the opening race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mazda SpeedSource team has been operating on an almost 24/7 level developing the powertrain and chassis. At each race, the team has brought new hardware to test in real world race conditions. Since the first race, there has only been one mechanical DNF, and both cars ran flawlessly at Detroit. The latest improvements, focused on cooling, include:
• The additional of a cooling fan on the high pressure intercooler
• The addition of radiator extraction louvers on the top of the sidepods
• A change from a single pass to a dual pass radiator
• Ongoing optimization of engine mapping for efficient shifting

For Watkins Glen, the regular driver lineups of Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long in the #70 and Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez in the #07 will be supplemented by Ben Devlin and Tristan Vautier. Miller and Nunez scored the GX class win in 2013 in their Mazda6.

To make the racing as accessible as possible, Mazda will once again be offering a live ‘second screen’ during the race. Fans watching the race live on FOX Sports1 can simultaneously ride along in the Mazda cars via the Mazda YouTube channel.

In addition to the TUDOR Championship race, the Watkins Glen weekend will also feature round six of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and a doubleheader for the Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda.

Mazda leads the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner Manufacturers’ Championship thanks to three straight wins. Freedom Autosport and CJ Wilson Racing will both have their MX-5’s ready to do battle with BMW, Porsche, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai. This race will be on Saturday morning.

MX-5 fans will also want to follow the action from the streets of Houston where rounds five and six of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires will take place. John Dean II and Kenton Koch have each scored a pair of wins in the first four races.

Mazda Motorsports is not a story. Mazda Motorsports is a wide variety of stories that cover the latest in automotive technology, business, along with amazing, often inspiring, people stories. These include:

RACE WHAT YOU SELL -- Mazda is using their latest SKYACTIV Technology to power a Mazda Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Mazda has the smallest displacement engine in the class, a true David and Goliath story. Race what you sell translates into improved Quality, Durability, and Reliability (aka QDR). Over the years, Mazda has made direct improvements in street cars from lessons learned on the track.

RACE GREEN – The fuel in the Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype is a RENEWABLE, SYNTHETIC DIESEL (not a bio-diesel). The fuel is produced by Dynamic Fuels from waste food products and is approved for use by the U.S. Military. Mazda is the only race team in the world using this fuel.

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS – Earlier this year Mazda introduced a new national educational outreach program designed to encourage the nation’s middle and high school students to consider studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Called Racing Accelerates CreativeEducation (R.A.C.E.), the program is visiting schools near each of the 2014 TUDOR Championship events. The curriculum of this turn-key, interactive learning forum is designed to provide stimulating, real-world examples of why it is important to know science and math. Mazda utilizes their racecar, race drivers and race engineers in the interactive presentation.

THE MOST POPULAR RACE CAR AT ANY GIVEN ROAD COURSE – Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the all-time best selling two-seat roadster with sales of over 900,000 units. With thousands of used MX-5s for sale at affordable prices, the MX-5 has become the most road-raced car in America. Mazda Motorsports has sold over 2,500 Spec Miata racing kits.

OPERATING MOTORSPORTS AS A BUSINESS – It’s easy to hire a professional team to race your products – just pay them. Getting people to spend money BUYING cars and parts requires a completely different approach. The products must be great – capable of winning. And there must be great customer service. Mazda Motorsports has a full-time staff of motorsports parts and technical professionals who assist club racers in buying the right parts, and with guidance on vehicle set-up. This is racers supporting racers. The result is Mazda North American Operations has sold over $75,000,000 in parts since 1991.

RACING AT HOME – MAZDA SUPPORTS iRACING PROGRAM – Announced earlier this year, iRacing competitors competing in the 2014 iRacing MX-5 Cup season beginning April 29th will be eligible to compete in the annual Mazda Club Racing Shootout held each fall. The shootout winner earns a Mazda Motorsports scholarship for the following year's Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires. Complete details are posted at iRacing.com

IF IT TURNS LEFT AND RIGHT, THERE IS LIKELY A MAZDA IN THE RACE – The list of professional series where you can find Mazda cars or Mazda-powered cars competing includes:
• TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (Prototype Class)
• Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (Street Tuner)
• Pirelli World Challenge (Touring Car, Touring Car A, Touring Car B)
• Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires
• Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge
• Cooper Tires Prototype Lights Powered by Mazda
• Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda
• Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires
• Atlantic Championship Series
This is in addition to the dozen plus club racing classes in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA) where Mazda cars and engines compete.

SAVING LIVES OFF THE TRACK – Mazda Motorsports is promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and formed a strategic partnership with Project Yellow Light in 2012. With hundreds of teenage race drivers Mazda is uniquely positioned to have teenage racers take this message to their peer group. Mazda funded Project Yellow Light Scholarships are being awarded to high school and college students who produce the best public service videos. Details can be found at http://www.projectyellowlight.com/

ICONIC MAZDA RACEWAY – Mazda North American Operations doesn’t have a company picnic. They have a company track day. That’s the type of people who work at Mazda. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, Laguna Seca was a favorite track of Mazda racers and fans. At the end of the millennium, as the raceway was entering its fifth decade as one of America’s premier sports car circuits, Mazda entered into a naming rights agreement with the Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), operators of the track, which is a Monterey County recreational area, and made a substantial investment to bring the track up to 21st century standards. The track has been Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since the year 2000. The remaining 2014 schedule is as follows:
• July 11-13 ENI FIM Superbike World Championship
• Aug. 8-10 Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion
• Aug. 15-17 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
• Oct. 10-12 SCCA National Championship Runoffs

DEVELOPING THE MOTORSPORT HALL OF FAME OF 2064 – Racing is where sport, technology and commerce come together. Many young drivers succeed at one level of the sport but often, because of a lack of financial resources, struggle to move up. Thanks to the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, the Mazda Road to Indy, and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, over three dozen racers have been promoted to the next level with Mazda scholarship money. Mazda is developing the next generation of road-racing superstars. This year eight of the 33 racers in the Indy 500 had Mazda on their racing resume.

THE UNITED NATIONS OF RACING – Racing is a global sport and the top U.S. series attracts talented racers from around the world. At the first races of 2014, over two dozen racers from beyond the U.S. borders chose to come to America and race with Mazda power. Racers from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, Norway, Colombia, the Philippines, Argentina, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Jamaica are represented on the grid between multiple Mazda series.

AFFORDABLE AND FUN SHOWROOM STOCK – The Mazda2 is a B-segment car. Horsepower snobs may not think much of a 100 hp econobox, until they drive a great one that is set up for the track. The fun factor of the car amazes everyone who gets it onto the track. A DIY racer can buy a used Mazda2, add a MAZDASPEED B-Spec kit plus safety equipment and be ready to race for under $15,000.

RACE TO THE SHELTER – Since 2007 Mazda has worked with multiple animal welfare organizations to actively promote shelter animal adoptions using Mazda racecars as billboards. The company has also helped raise money for shelters. Mazda has multiple activities planned with the SPCA for Monterey County in 2014.

9,000+ RACERS, 9,000+ STORIES – You cannot stereotype a racer. Mazda has racers from all walks of life. People who race Mazdas are contractors, lawyers, doctors, engineers, students, retirees, and many more. We have racers too young to have a license for the street, and some who are AARP members. Mazda racers are in 44 of the 50 states. Pretty impressive when you realize that only 37 states have road-racing tracks.

MEET A FEW MAZDA RACERS – Among those 9,000 stories, we have recently been inspired by:
• Liam Dwyer – A U.S. Marine who lost his leg in combat. In only his second professional start Liam co-drove to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST win at Lime Rock Park last month. Liam will be racing at VIR in August.
• C.J. Wilson – Mazda racer, Mazda team owner, Mazda dealer, who spends most of the year as a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. C.J. is developing his own ‘farm team’ with an eye on becoming a full-time racer after his baseball career wraps up.
• Natalie Feneroli – An 18-year-old high school student racing in the NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge.
• The Prather Family – Kent and Jesse Prather are father and son. Both have won SCCA Championships in Mazda MX-5s. They have one particular MX-5 that has won five championships, in three classes, after it completed 180,000 miles on the road. Jesse built the Mazda motors for over 20 of the cars that competed in the 2013 SCCA Runoffs.
• Patrick Gallagher, Dalton Kellett, and Kenton Koch – All balancing a full race schedule with a full schedule of university engineering classes.
• Julia Ballario, Michele Bumgarner, and Vicky Piria - While Indycar may not have any women racing full-time in 2014, the Pro Mazda Championship, a part of the Mazda Road to Indy, has three competing this season.
• Michael Johnson – Seeking to be the first driver to win the Indy 500 racing with hand controls.
• We have many many more compelling stories.


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