Photo: Al Arena – Ignite Media / Mazda Motorsports

It felt good to be back at Daytona International Speedway this past weekend. The opportunity to drive this iconic circuit is always a welcome one to me. The goal of our event with Flis Performance was to test some components in preparation for the 2021 Global MX-5 Cup season opener at Daytona. Next year, the series will be running there during the Rolex 24 event in January.

During the course of last season, with the addition of the sequential gearbox, the speeds of the cars increased. That higher speed puts more stress on other components, like the brakes. Whenever you change or add a component to the mix, everything else changes, too!

This test let us confirm how things will run on the banks of Daytona and it let us take a look at the brake cooling package and other aspects that will ensure the car is optimized for the 2021 season.

After a successful and fun first day, it became very apparent that the role of the draft and drafting technique were going to play a large factor in how competitive a driver is. We were fortunate to have several MX-5 teams on hand for this event. All of the cars were able to run together at times, creating a NASCAR-like look up on the banks of Daytona!

This was not only thrilling to be right in the middle of, but it was also eye-opening because it really creates a tremendous amount of respect for the precision and mental capacity it takes to draft at those speeds in such close quarters.

These cars don’t have any downforce, so they move around a lot in the draft. That makes it a lot less easy than it might look! Add in the fact that the cars are approaching 150mph, and it’s even more of a difficult challenge.

I can guarantee the race is going to be one of the most exciting events on the Rolex 24 schedule, and everyone should be sure to check it out. And keep an eye out for some big announcements coming soon from Mazda Motorsports about how to tune in for every race!