Posts tagged auto racing
While plenty of people know all about Subaru’s rally heritage, the company has plenty of track experience too. Now, for 2015, Subaru debuted a race-prepped 2015 Subaru WRX STI in advance of the 2015 Nurburgring 24 Hour Race at the Tokyo Auto Salon. While no doubt highly modified, Subaru chose not to elaborate much on what the racing modifications included beyond beefed up brakes, sticky race tires, and the obligatory roll cage.
Alongside the racy STI, Subaru also rolled out a super low, super wide, Japanese Super GT-spec BRZ. Built to fit within the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT Series, this lean and mean BRZ should offer a great platform to go racing.
In either case, it looks like 2015 is going to be a busy year for the Subaru factory racing teams!
This past opportunity I traveled to Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California to participate in the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. To the unfamiliar the 25 hours of Thunderhill is America’s longest endurance sports car race and its become an end of the year tradition for many racers. The race regularly attracts racers from across the country and beyond. This years event had 55 vehicles entered ranging from Mazda Miata’s to factory supported cars like the Acura ILX to sports races like the Radical SR3.
I was invited to race with Mazda who brought a trio of diesel powered Mazda6s that were purposely built just for this race. Since the Mazda6 is not available with a diesel in the United States, Mazda started with three Russian Spec cars and built them up from there. Two of the cars were driven by Mazda dealers with the third driven by a foursome from Mazda North America.
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This past weekend Road America hosted both the Grand Am series and American Le Mans for a sports car double header weekend. Arguably the best race course in North America, Road America was the perfect backdrop for these races. The weekend proved that even a bout of rain showers couldn’t keep the fans and participants alike from having a great time.
As a long time Mazda dealer it was great to see Mazda running in not one, but both series. On Saturday afternoon the Grand Am sports cars and Daytona prototypes took the green flag for a two hour and forty five minutes race. No stranger to Grand Am racing, Mazda committed to running the season with their Skyactiv-D Mazda6s. A first for the series, Mazda’s diesel race car achieved it’s first win earlier this year and the two car effort came to Road America hunting for another win.
Many manufacturers view the race track as the perfect proving ground for street car innovation. Mazda is a huge proponent of this view. John M. Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports, said of the racecar, “We’ve always said that the best street cars make the best racecars, and, with more than half of the components in the race engine being shared with the street engine, this program is a solid proof-point.”
Whereas car races are typically characterize by a cacophony of V8 roars and screaming six cylinders, the Skyactiv-D Mazdas made nary a noise. With each passing lap all you heard was a rush of air from the turbo diesel, an occasional tire squeal and wind gliding over the cars sleek body. While the race was not trouble free for either team, SpeedSource’s VisitFlorida-backed Mazda6 of Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez came out on top in GX. In doing so they inched out the number 38 Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly, marking the classes closes finish in history.
Over Memorial Day weekend the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) held the Harvey West Memorial Day Classic races at Brainerd International raceway. Despite a weekend plagued by numerous rain showers it did not hinder the racers too much and made for exciting spectating. Rooster tails abound and a number of cars were slipping and sliding their way around the 2.5 miles course. The races were spread amongst six different race groups ranging from purpose built open wheel race cars to vintage race cars from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s. On any given weekend there are more Mazdas raced than any other brand and there definitely was a large Mazda contingent this past weekend, made up primarily of Miatas. Other cars included Porsches, Volkswagens, Triumphs, MGs, Austin Healeys, Fords, Chevys, Chryslers, Nissans and Datsuns,