Posts Tagged ‘racing’

Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar gets first win at Road Atlanta

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 23rd, 2013

Filed under: , ,

Mazda has a long motorsports history, and one that is peppered with fascinating cars. The latest chapter in Mazda’s racing story has just been written, as Joel Miller and Andrew Carbonell have driven the Visit Florida Racing Mazda6 Skyactiv-D to the car’s first ever victory at the Rolex Grand-Am GX race at Road Atlanta. The win marks the first ever for Mazda’s diesel-burning, production-car based Skyactiv-D racer, and the first win for a diesel-powered car in a Grand-Am event.

In fact, it was a particularly good day for the Mazda Motorsports team, as a Mazda6 also picked up the third finishing spot at Road Atlanta. Director of Mazda Motorsports, John M. Doonan, 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.”

SpeedSource Engineering, which helped to build the Mazda6 racer, was greatly heartened by the car’s performance in just it’s fourth-ever race. Owner Sylvain Tremblay called the victory, “a tribute to the thousands of hours of hard work over many months,” continuing, “The normal plan with a new car is to spend the first year in development, the second year seeking race wins, and challenging for a championship in year three. We are already at our year-two status after four races. We can’t wait to get to the Belle Isle course in Detroit for round five.”

Continue reading Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar gets first win at Road Atlanta

Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar gets first win at Road Atlanta originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Apr 2013 11:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink


Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before

Published by Mazda Blogs on January 27th, 2013

Filed under: , , , , ,

There has never been a four-door diesel sedan in the Grand-Am series, until now: The blunt, bewinged grille of the Mazda6 GX has blown right through that wall. It’s said that racing improves the breed, but usually the breed has gone on sale when the racing begins. One of the unusual aspects of the Mazda6 GX, on the other hand, is that while the diesel won’t go on sale to the public until later this year, it will already have tasted racing blood by the end of the day. That kind of reversal is more likely found with super coupes like the Lexus LFA and Honda NSX.

Mazda has taken class wins at Daytona’s 24-hour race a whopping 23 times since 1975, most recently in 2010 with the RX-8 in the GT class. This year the Hiroshima company decided to show off its SkyActiv technology, then turned things up to eleven by opting for its SkyActiv-D instead of the more conventional SkyActiv-G gas engine to run in the new GX class. It will be joined by competitors like the Lotus Evora and Porsche Cayman in the class, nevertheless, at 2.4 liters, it’s the smallest engine on the grid.

Time has not been a friend, either – Mazda said that the first five SkyActiv-D engines off the production line went to Speed Source in Coral Gables, Florida, the company that preps Mazda’s race vehicles. Still, race driver Jonathan Baumarito on the #70 car said that although the engine’s been on the dyno since February of last year, it’s only been in the car for about a month and there have been only a couple of test days.

Speed Source owner, team driver and multiple 24-hour winner Sylvain Tremblay – he drove in the teams that won in 2008 and 2010 in the RX-8 – said the big challenge right now is getting the gearing right. Both Tremblay and Baumarito said that the diesel’s torque is a plus through the Bus Stop section at the back of the course, entered after coming off the high-speed banked turn. But Tremblay said that the first infield section of horseshoes is more trying because the SkyActiv-D needs to be on boost to get its power on, and that doesn’t happen until after 3,500; maintaining that through slow-speed turns and having enough to get the job done through the high-speed ovals is the test.

There are three Mazda6 GXs competing, Everyone is cautiously optimistic about how things might go during the race, but in fairness this has to be looked at as a 24-hour testing session. Road & Track rode shotgun for a lap in the #00 Visit Florida Racing car, you can check out the sounds of diesel at Daytona in the video below.

Continue reading Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before

Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Jan 2013 19:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink


Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 25th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Point. Shoot. Grin.

Flyin' Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Wedging myself into the cockpit of Keith Tanner’s 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned Targa Newfoundland podium finisher, I’m struck with the realization that most race cars are the automotive equivalent of a pet electric eel. They look fantastic lounging around, and you may even be struck with the impulse to get close, but the reality is that it’s only a matter of time before it reaches out and lights you up like a cheap string of Christmas lights. This notion is only underscored when Tanner hands me a set of noise-cancelling headphones with an integrated com system.

“Here. You’ll probably want these,” he says. “It can get kind of loud in here.”

With a 400-horsepower General Motors L33 wedged between the fenders of the poised Miata, it’s only a matter of time before the stripped interior resonates with the sound of eight furious cylinders. I ask if there’s anything I should know before I hit the ignition. Tanner says no. I’m beginning to suspect he’s lying to me.

Continue reading Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink


How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video]

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 1st, 2011

Filed under: , , , ,

Mid-stage is no time to let your driver know his navigator has no damn clue what’s going on.

My helmet has just been crammed into the cross ribs of the roof of our Miata for the third time in less than a kilometer, driving a guttural “OOMPH” from my lungs mid-sentence at the same time. I regain my breath, look from the route book to the kitchen timer that’s Velcroed to the rally computer on the dash, and start counting out the seconds on my fingers. My tiny brain is already too overloaded for simple math, and I’ve reduced myself to elementary school tricks for quick calculations. It’s the fifth stage of the fourth day, and the verdict isn’t good; we’re a far cry from our target time.

“We are 17 seconds slow,” I say into the mic, doing my best to stifle any tones of urgency.

“Seventeen seconds? Are you sure?”

The short answer is that no, I’m not sure. For the first time in a full week’s worth of time-speed-distance rallying, our time intervals are making no damn sense. We’ll pass one and be 25 seconds down only to pass the next and be within five seconds of our target. I’m all kinds of crossed up, but mid-stage is no time to let your driver know his navigator has no damn clue what’s going on.

“I’m sure. Beat on this thing.”

Always project confidence.

Continue reading How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video]

How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink


The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 2: Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment [w/video]

Published by admin on August 25th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , , , , ,

Flyin' Miata at Targa Newfoundland trailer

We’re pretty smitten with the Flyin’ Miata story at Targa Newfoundland, and not just because they offered us a seat in their supercharged Grand Touring Class entry. Husband and wife team Keith and Janel Tanner managed a 16th place finish in their 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata in the event back in 2008, and this year, they’re coming to the fight with a fire-breathing V8 conversion at their disposal. The tale is interesting enough to have snagged the ear of a filmmaker who wants to bring the Tanner story to the rest of the world.

Adam Costa has jumped onto the Flyin’ Miata wagon for the long road to the checkered flag, and he’s started a Kickstarter project to help fund the endeavor in hopes of being able to bring along an additional cameraman. You can donate anything from one dollar all the way up to $2,000 for various ‘thank you’ gifts, including an executive producer title in the film itself. A more reasonable $50 donation will land you a DVD copy of the film. Having had the pleasure of seeing Costa’s work in Speed Science for the Science Channel, we don’t think we’ll be disappointed. Hit the jump to check out the trailer for yourself and cruise over to Kickstarter for a look at the project.

Continue reading The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 2: Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment [w/video]

The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 2: Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Aug 2011 16:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink


The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 1: Bill breaks an arm

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , ,

Flyin' Miata Nancy

Racing is built on a foundation of tired sayings packed with monumental truths. Recently, few have been more poignant for the crew of the supercharged NC Miata we’re set to co-pilot in the 2011 Targa Newfoundland than, “You have to start before you can win.” Last week, Bill Cardell, our valiant pilot and part-time lumberjack, wound up accidentally felling an aspen tree on himself while doing some work at a mountain cabin. He’s currently awaiting a second set of x-rays to determine just how lengthy his recuperation will be, but either way, he’s facing a few long weeks out of the saddle due to a broken humerus. Cardell, while in seemingly good spirits, finds nothing funny about the situation. Needless to say, squeezing into the cockpit of a race car isn’t on his doctor’s prescription pad, which leaves Nancy and I without a driver.

Brandon FitchIn a moment of solidarity, your author managed to high-side my ’82 Kawasaki GPz750 on day one of a two-week motorcycle ride. The next morning, one very haggard ER doctor told me that while my bones were intact, there’s a good chance that I’ve torn my rotator cuff.

“That’s bad,” I said.

“Yes. It’s very bad,” he agreed after a pause that conveyed a mix of disdain and admiration for my appreciation of the obvious.

Even so, I’ve regained much of the movement in my left shoulder, and the pain has subsided to an ever-present dull ache. If I can ride 2,300 miles on the arm, I can sure as hell use it to hold up pace notes. I’ll circle back with the medical establishment after our return from Canada.

Meanwhile, Cardell’s nephew, Brandon Fitch, will take over the forced-induction Miata’s controls. Fitch formerly served as crew chief for both vehicles and has worked with Flyin’ Miata for the past five years. As such, he’s had plenty of seat time with our car as part of his work in product development, and word has it he’s plenty quick to boot.

The race kicks off on September 10, and I’ve been ordered to stay indoors and intact until then. That’s advice I’ll likely heed. Our best get-well wishes go out to Cardell as he stitches himself back together.

The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 1: Bill breaks an arm originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Aug 2011 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink


Autoblog to compete in Targa Newfoundland with Flyin’ Miata

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , ,

Flyin Miata 2006 Mazda MX-5

No matter what part of the world you hail from, there’s really nothing quite like the Targa Newfoundland. Held on a beautiful island off the Eastern coast of Canada, the course is over 1,350 miles long and winds through small towns, open spaces and deep forests for some of the most challenging and varied stages of any competition on the continent. As a result, competitors come wielding sheetmetal from every conceivable corner of the globe and era of automotive history. It’s a buffet of horsepower at wide-open throttle, and this year, we’ll be in the hunt ourselves.

The good people at Flyin’ Miata have been so kind as to offer us a much-coveted co-driver seat in their supercharged 2006 MX-5. Nancy, as our valiant stallion is affectionately known due to her NC chassis, started life as an abused orphan of the Mazda press car fleet. After a little massaging by the Flyin’ Miata crew, the car now rocks a 2009 front fascia, the company’s proprietary supercharger kit, springs and sway bars as well as a set of Tokico Shocks. All told, the car produces somewhere around 240 horsepower, which should be enough to help us keep up with the rest of the Grand Touring Class.

Yours Truly will doing his level best to keep from confounding Bill Cardell as he whips Nancy across the Canadian landscape. Those familiar with the Miata scene know Cardell as the founder and owner of Flyin’ Miata, so if anyone knows how to properly cane an MX-5, it’s this guy. I’m honored to have the chance to share the cockpit with him.

This year, Flyin’ Miata is actually campaigning two vehicles. While Cardell, myself and Nancy are set to go the distance in the Grand Touring category, Keith and Janel Tanner are also taking to the Targa. The husband-and-wife team will once again helm the same 1994 MX-5 Miata that they drove in the 2008 Targa Newfoundland, with one big change. This year, the car rocks a General Motors L33 V8 conversion that cranks out 400 horsepower to the rear wheels thanks to a set of LS6 heads and a trick cam. All of that power is funneled through a T56 six-speed transmission and a Getrag differential with a clutch-pack limited slip. Needless to say, the Tanners will be taking on the Open Class to do battle with the quickest metal of the event.

Interestingly enough, Flyin’ Miata wouldn’t have been able to head to the 2011 Targa Newfoundland at all without the help of the company’s fans and supporters. The team tried to seduce large sponsors to help fund the trip to Canada before turning to the Miata nation for help. To date, they’ve raised over $14,500 to help put the cars on the first stage. It’s a testament to just how faithful Miata owners can be.

Given that my navigation experience is limited plotting the quickest path to the Dippin Dots stand at the local amusement park, I’ve got some serious work to do before the race gets started on September 10. Stay tuned for updates on my Targa education.

Autoblog to compete in Targa Newfoundland with Flyin’ Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Jul 2011 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink


Tweeter button Facebook button