17_Roebling3Last week I was excited to participate in our first full day of testing for the 2016 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car. It went extremely well and was very productive – it was a lot of fun, too! We had a smooth day and we learned so much. We were able to try a lot of different suspension settings and confirm a few different development pieces. We were also able to determine what we will need to focus on for future development, so that will help us move forward.

Everything ran very smoothly: the car was not only a lot of fun to drive because of how lightweight and nimble the chassis is, but we also had no hiccups throughout the whole day, either mechanically or electronically. It really shows what a quality product Mazda builds!

After a successful, busy day at the test, I had other coaching commitments throughout the southeast. I went first to Road Atlanta for a David Murry track event. It was a perfect two-day lapping event in preparation for the famous Walter Mitty historic races. I was working with Rob Trollinger and a car he got just a couple of months ago. The Mitty was going to be Rob’s debut in the car, and we couldn’t have asked for a better two days to prepare.

Racing Analytics Spec Miatas lined up at Roebling Road.

Racing Analytics Spec Miatas lined up at Roebling Road.

We made a ton of progress, and it was apparent that Rob had really done his homework before the event. Rob prepared by doing a lot of iRacing simulator time, visualization, watching videos, and other coaching techniques that we’ve been working on. He was really in tune with the car even though he’d only driven it once before. Rob went on to put in a lap time that gave him a top-five spot on the grid, and he battled for a podium position in his first race with the car! I was so excited to hear about Rob’s results, and I’m looking forward to working with him at his next event in June.

After a great couple of days at Road Atlanta, I headed to Roebling Road for a unique opportunity to coach the Racing Analytics Spec Miata team. Racing Analytics was fielding eight customers for the SCCA race, and in preparation for the event, they rented the track for their own private test day. This was a lot of fun because it allowed me to work with all eight of the drivers on a one-on-one basis. It was the most drivers I’ve worked with in one day! Everyone learned from each other, and I think it made the team better as a whole. We began the day with a group ride around the track, and after every session we had one group come in to review data and video while the other drivers were on track running. We cycled through this format during the day, and I also drove some of the cars to help with setup and video reference laps. A lot of the drivers set personal bests during the race weekend that followed the test.

17_Roebling2This week will be another busy one. I’m really excited because racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is always one of the highlights on the IMSA schedule for me since it’s Mazda’s home race and it has traditionally been a very exciting and successful round for me. I’m hoping this weekend is no different. We’ll be making the public debut of the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car during the Mazda MX-5 Cup practice sessions, I’ll be competing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Series with the Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype, and it will be the first time this year that I have raced with Freedom Autosport in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series. It will feel good to be back in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5, and I’ll be co-driving for the first time with Britt Casey, Jr., who I’ve been coaching during the past season.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, check out this Mazda Motorsports piece I contributed to about the importance of giving good feedback: http://bit.ly/1EqKc0a