The American Road Race of Champions (the ARRC) celebrated its 25thanniversary at Road Atlanta last weekend. I was there for the GT3 Challenge, which is a new series that Mazda is supporting to re-energize interest in the SCCA’s GT3 class. Mazda is a heavy hitter in the series with the RX-7. Utilizing data and video, I helped the Mazda racers in the class fine-tune their own driving as well as their car setup. It’s rewarding and fun to do, and I got to meet a lot of new racers.

These GT3 cars are really cool: they are true race cars, with a tube-frame chassis, lots of neat modifications, and upgrades to the engine and aerodynamics. The series rules allow competitors to create a very capable race car.

The 2019 Global MX-5 car at our test day.

The 2019 Global MX-5 car at our test day.

I was able to drive one of the cars during the test day, and it’s always rewarding when I’m able to give feedback to help develop a car for the weekend ahead. It really gave me respect for the engineering that goes into this level of car, and it’s a lot of fun whenever I get to drive a fine-tuned race car on slicks!

Earlier in the week was the initial roll-out for the 2019 Global MX-5 package, which includes an upgraded engine from Mazda. It has an added 25 horsepower and redlines at 800rpms higher than the previous package. Driving on track, the extra power and rev range were both instantly noticeable. You can read more details here in this announcement from Mazda.

Developing this car has been a lot of fun, and we’re continuing to log miles on the new package. This coming week, we’ll be doing more testing, this time in Sebring, Florida. It coincides with the MX-5 Global Challenge event there, where racers are competing for the ultimate Mazda prize of $50,000 to win.