There were plenty of interested participants and media guests on hand last week for the Japanese Global Mazda MX-5 Series event at Tsukuba Circuit. The day started off with presentations about the car, background about the current U.S. series, and details on the pricing structure for the Japanese market. Then 15 preselected participants drove in a lead/follow format throughout the afternoon at Tsukuba Circuit to enjoy the GMX-5 Cup car. (You can read more about the event here from MZ Racing Japan, and you can scroll to the bottom of this post for pics from the event.)
Meanwhile, I was involved in many interviews with journalists. I was amazed how well some of the media and participants spoke English. For those who didn’t, I was fortunate enough to have a translator, which was a new experience for me. I even had a translator for my presentation to everybody about the series!
My other task was to help coach the two Japanese drivers who will be participating in the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next month, getting them used to the Cup car and working with them on iRacing to discuss the finer points of MRLS.
I also got to help with Keiko Ihara’s Women in Motorsport program. I gave most of the ladies a ride and rode with them to continue their progress in the endurance race series they participate in with the “NRA spec” ND MX-5 (a lightly modified track package with a bolt-in cage).
I had an absolutely fantastic experience in Japan. Mazda management was so nice to host me and take care of me while I was over there. It was an incredible experience not only to drive at Tsukuba, but also to meet all of the Japanese Mazda drivers.
I’m very encouraged by all of the interest that Japan has in the series, and this marks the next step in it becoming a true global series. It’s exciting to think about all of the other countries that will be jumping on board in the near future to be a part of this incredible platform.