Get Ready for Boise’s 2017 Mazda Takeover Event

Another year, another weekend of Mazda community love. Here’s a rundown of 2016’s Mazda Takeover Event in Boise to prepare for 2017.

Last year, Barrett and I got the chance to head to Boise, Idaho, for a great Mazda Takeover event that my good friend Keith Eggert put together. People from Utah, Washington, and northern Idaho all made the trip for a fun weekend full of racecars, beer, and good laughs. We met some new people and reconnected with friends that we hadn’t seen in awhile. It was a big event made even better by securing a few shops so we could do some fun things besides racing.

This Thursday, we’re heading back to Boise for another weekend of good times. But before we go, let’s reflect on last year’s event.

The 2017 Mazda Takeover event in Boise, Idaho, is a great Mazda community event.
It’s always a good time when the Mazda community gets together.

Dyno Day

Everyone who wanted to dyno their car had the opportunity to do so last year, which made for an incredible day. Almost all of the cars that attended Dyno Day were fully bolted and tuned on E85, so you can imagine we had a lot of quick Mazdaspeeds in attendance.

A few notable results: Cody Allington from Utah made right at 500whp with his HTA turbo and port injection. Next up was my car strapped with the CS turbo and meth coming in at 400whp on the stock block. There were plenty of other Speeds right around 320whp. The smell of E85 and meth definitely told us we were in the right place!

Drags

Once we were done with the dyno, most of us hung out and prepared some cars to run in the 1320. Cody needed to install a cut-off switch, because he had relocated his battery from the engine bay to the hatch of the car. Once we had that all figured out, it was time to head to the track.

Over 40 Mazdaspeeds attended the Mazda Takeover in Boise, Idaho, last year.
That’s a lot of Mazdaspeeds.

We had about 40 Mazdaspeeds show up to the track — the biggest turnout I have ever seen.  I remember thinking this is what the Mazda community is all about: a bunch of friends getting together to have a genuinely good time. That’s something I think we forget about from time to time. I realize there’s a lot of competition out there, but at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

That race night was great because I got to see a bunch of Mazdas ripping down the track. And, I also got to see the smiles that came with a fun night among a great community.

This year's Mazda Takeover in Boise promises to be bigger and better than the amazing event in 2016.
Boise, here we come.

We’re going to be in attendance again at the Mazda Takeover this year in hopes that the event is even bigger and produces an even larger turnout. The plan is the same as last year. But, this time around, the boys from CorkSport have more lead time so we can take more time off than just the weekend. It’s going to be a amazing!

We are very excited to see what happens this year and look forward to hanging out with 40+ Mazdaspeed people. I highly encourage anyone that is within driving distance of Boise to check out this meetup. At its current rate, this takeover event is turning into the largest on the West Coast. The meetup begins on June 8, and I’d really like to see some fresh faces there!

If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me (Luke McCarvel) a Facebook message.

Cheers,

Luke

NATOR OR BBQ and Dyno Day

As some of you may know already, CorkSport HQ made the move to a much larger and more functional building in January 2014. I think we can all agree that moving sucks and basically consumes your life for at least the month before and after the actual move. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s a hundred times worse when you are trying to move a business while still “keeping the doors open”. In the chaos of moving and getting the new location setup just right it’s easy to forget about the little yet important activities. So what better way to get back in the groove than a BBQ and Dyno Day to support the local community!

July 18th was the big day with 15 cars scheduled to get on the dyno, and another 35-45 cars planning to show up to watch the numbers! With everything set up and the burgers and dogs grilling away, people started to roll in by 12:30pm. The first car got on the dyno and the show began.

Dyno Testing Day

First, a bit about our dyno; it’s nicknamed “The Heartbreaker,” and oh so many hearts has it broken. The Tq/Hp curves look good, but it just reads low numbers. For example, a stock Mazdaspeed3 puts down a sad 190whp. Anyway, amongst the 15 Speed3s that planned to hit the dyno the mods varied from nearly stock to big turbo builds with lots of meth. There were quite a few Speeds in the 200-250whp range with a nice assortment of bolt-ons, a couple cars running a BNR or CS turbo in the 295-320whp range and then there is Justin England: a local out of Washington rocking a built block, GTX3071r at 34psi and tons of meth. He put down a very respectable 400wHp/365wTq on the heartbreaker dyno.

More Mazda Dyno Testing

Just to give you another reference point, we threw a 07’ Corvette on the dyno that also has high flow cylinder heads, intake & exhaust manifold, performance camshaft, and full exhaust system. He put down a mere 420wHp/380wTq…yup. Anyways, enough about our depressing dyno!

Along with the constant roar of WOT pulls there was plenty of food and drinks and even a raffle thanks to a handful of sponsors: Tuned by Nishan, Justin at Freektune, Damond Motorsports, James Barone Racing, and CorkSport.

Check out the images below!

Mazda BBQ 1

Hot Pink Mazda Miata

Yes, that’s a pink Miata with a V8 that’s a daily driver drift car…it’s basically badass.

Dyno Testing a Mazda

Mazda BBQ 2

Mazda BBQ 3

All-in-all it was great day! We had a blast, put down some numbers, and stuffed our bellies. What more can you ask for?! Big thanks to all the NATOR OR members and CS employees that made this day possible and to the sponsors that donated items for the raffle! This is what makes the Mazda community so great!

 

Cheers,

Barett

Barett Strecker-01

Track Day at the Oregon Raceway Park

Last weekend I experienced my first track day ever, and quite frankly it was awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect because I only knew autocross and track in the context of a Formula SAE race car. In short: Ripping around a track at 100mph is far more exciting than ripping around a cone at 35mph.

Oregon Raceway Park (ORP) is located in Grass Valley, OR in the rolling hills just south of the gorge—also know as “BFN.” Now, that’s not intended to be a negative, just an observation. The location of the track is open and beautiful, which you’ll see in the following images. It’s a bit of a drive, but oh: So worth it.

OK, back to the track. The image below is the terrain track map with the descriptions of each straightaway, turn, and associated components of a fully functional road race course. 16 turns make up this beautiful 2.3 mile loop that has as many elevation changes as a roller coaster.

Oregon Raceway Map

At the Track

So what was my first track day experience like?

First, let me provided some background information. My car is a 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 with CorkSport springs/struts, RSB, and a handful of goodies under the hood. That’s all great, but most important to a race car are brakes and tires, and mine are lackluster to say the least. OEM calipers and rotors with some old P ZERO NERO All Seasons are not the best combination for a track day, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

The track day was put on by ORP and Team Continental. The instructors were top notch, and the officials made the event a complete success. The actual event was a High Performance Driving Education (HPDE) with 4 levels ranging from beginner to licensed racing driver, each racing in separate sessions.

A Little Advice

My first suggestion: Get off your high horse and go to an event that provides you with an instructor. I’ll admit, I signed up for the intermediate level HPDE because I thought I had enough experience from autocrossing. Fortunately, the officials running the event kicked me down to the beginner level, which requires an instructor. Mine, Brian, ended up being a wealth of knowledge. He knew the ORP track extremely well, and as a bonus, he had a Ford Focus RS, so he understood the FWD issues I would be facing.

Autocross Race Track Instructor

Next suggestion: Don’t be afraid to go off track, but do be cautious of it. ORP is very forgiving for noobs, as there wasn’t anything to hit off track; but plenty of tracks out there are not at all forgiving. Below, you can see one of the Nator OR guys, Vincent Pham, doing a little off road adventure after coming into a corner too hot. He got his MS3 stopped, then waited for a clearing in traffic and continued on. No harm, no foul. I’m guilty of this as well. I went completely off track once in turn 16, and I still drove my car home.

Motorcross Off Track

My last piece of advice: Go with your buddies! There is nothing more rewarding than passing your buddy in the straightaway and him giving you the one finger salute. Below is a handful of the Nator OR members, and one of the track officials.

Fun at the Autocross Track

All right, one more suggestion: Have fun! That’s why we do this, right? Don’t get frustrated with your driving or your car’s performance, because then you stop having fun. My car was probably one of the more powerful Speeds there, but I had by far the worst tires and most faded brakes holding me back. I decided to focus on my lines and being smooth instead of going for the best lap time I could. My results: Best lap of 2:07 and a day I’ll never forget.

Autocross Racing with CorkSport

Race Cars on the Track

Track Day Outcomes

I highly recommend you participate in a track day, even if you’re only a smidgeon interested. There are two possible outcomes from participating in a track day:

First, you have a good time, but decide one track day in your life was enough. There’s nothing wrong with that, because your daily driving will be improved from just a few hours on the track. Pushing your car on the track lets you find you and your car’s limits, so you’ll be better at assessing and controlling an emergency situation on a public road.

Second, and most likely, you become hooked just like me. You begin scheduling family events around track days, going through tires and brakes like they grow on trees, and calculating your fuel mileage in smiles per gallon. Do yourself a favor as a car enthusiast and participate in the next local track day. I promise you will love it!

Oh! And check out the video below I made from my last session at ORP.

Barett Strecker-01

Life in the FSAE Lane: A Year-Long Journey

Have you heard about FSAE? You Haven’t? Well, grab a beer and take a seat. We have quite the journey ahead of us.

The Basics

Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is an international collegiate design competition held among colleges and their associated student groups. The project is to design and build an open-wheel race car (within the specified rules) to compete in both dynamic and static events.

The dynamic events include:

  • A 300ft drag race
  • Left/right skid pad
  • Single pass autocross track
  • A closed loop autocross track run for 20 minutes, which is also scored on fuel economy.

The static events include:

  • An engineering design event
  • A cost analysis event
  • A marketing presentation.

The goal of the project is to simulate a new startup company that designs and builds track day cars that are affordable for the average guy. All right. That’s the background. Now, I hope you enjoy my personal FSAE journey.

FSAE Sample Race Car Design

First Encounters with FSAE

For me, it all started in September of 2011. I had just transferred to Portland State University (PSU) to begin my upper division classes in Mechanical Engineering. The classes were difficult, and I didn’t know anyone at Portland State. One day, I came across the PSU Viking Motorsport Formula SAE student group. I was instantly hooked, getting whatever information I could from the couple of members I met. Before I knew it I was in the student group’s lab, tinkering with the car and asking way too many questions. I had no idea what I was getting myself into at the time, and I’ll admit: I’m glad I didn’t because I don’t know if I would have stuck it out any other way.

I attended a second meeting with enthusiasm, which landed me managing the cooling system for the next race car. A mixture of stress and excitement overwhelmed me.

Building an FSAE Race Car

You only have a year with FSAE, which means we had to work quickly. Within a few weeks the 2012 race car was beginning to take shape.

FSAE Race Car Frame

Remember: This wasn’t built from a kit. From concept to 3D computer model to the immense amount of fabrication, we did it all. Not to mention the 12-21 credits of engineering classes, and on top of it all some of us were working an hourly job—myself included. Sounds crazy, huh? You have no idea unless you’ve done it.

With a goal to have an operational race car by mid-February there were at least eight members spending 60-80 hours per week building the race car. There were many late nights—actually, “early mornings” are a better way to put it—that ended like this:

Working Late on an FSAE Car

But with every tough time there was a moment like this to remind us to have fun:

FSAE Fun Engineering

The Fruit of Our Labor

By March, only a couple weeks behind schedule, we had an operational race car, and we were feeling pretty awesome (to have an operational race car by then was impressive in this competition) and ready to start testing and tuning. With so much time spent in the machine shop and lab, we were all very excited to get some fresh air at the test track. Who wouldn’t be excited with a view like this?

FSAE Race Test Track

Our testing and tuning consisted of every aspect of vehicle dynamics. Tire pressure, camber, caster, anti-squat, anti-lift, toe, spring rate, and damping rate adjustment—not to mention the live engine tuning via wireless connection. Testing and tuning days were an absolute blast, but they were packed full of problems and solutions, because that’s the reality of a race car. On top of our private testing and tuning, we would also participate in local SCCA autocross events, because it was more testing and great driver training. These events were usually a bit more relaxed if there weren’t any issues.

The FSAE Competition

Let’s fast forward a few months to the actual competition held in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The most important step was getting through tech inspection. Tech inspection, or commonly called “scrutineering”, involved four stations, each testing a different aspect of the car. First, the car is thoroughly inspected by officials to verify all the rules had been followed. Second, accelerate for a set distant then apply the brakes at full force. All four tires must lock up and the race car cannot rotate out of control. Third, rev the engine to a set RPM for 3 seconds without overshooting the 110dB threshold. Fourth, the epic tilt table. The car and driver are tilted to over 60 degrees to check for leaks and to simulate a 2.5G cornering force. Sound nerve-wracking? It can be, but this is also pretty fun:

FSAE Testing

To our surprise, we were the third team to get through tech inspection. That may not seem like a huge accomplishment, but you need to understand that some teams never even get through tech inspection at all. The tests are exhaustive, especially for college students who just built a racing vehicle from scratch. With the tech sticker on our race car we were off to prepare for the next few days of static and dynamic events.

The next morning came, and the first event on our schedule was the design presentation. This was my biggest worry of the whole competition. Four very well educated and known motorsports engineers drill you for an entire hour with questions about your design and your decisions to get to that design. It was like standing in front of the firing squad.

Formal FSAE Design Presentation

All-in-all we did pretty well for being more of a hands-on focused team. The important thing was the most difficult event was behind us. Next were the other two static events, but I didn’t present in these, so we will just move forward to the dynamic events.

Like any good race car it was having issues that we couldn’t for the life of us diagnose. After limping the race car through the drag race and skid pad events, we narrowed the issues down to the fuel pressure regulator and a potential tuning issue. After completely re-designing the fuel system from an in-tank setup to an external setup we had the car running much better. There was still a mysterious tuning issue, but with only minutes to spare we pushed (all race cars had to be pushed to the events according to the rules) the race car to the autocross event in an attempt at least score some points.

Pushing an FSAE Race Car

The race car was difficult to drive as the throttle response was poor to say the least, but I managed to finish 25th of 90. I later found out that this was the highest score for the autocross event in PSU’s history.

Check out the Autocross event here. (Skip to 3:15.)

Last but not least was the endurance event. This event is worth 40% of the total competition points and is by far the most demanding dynamic event. On average, only 60% of the teams that start the event finish. The most common issues are engine overheating or failure to restart after the driver change, but sometimes you have an unusual issue much like the one we had to overcome. I was the first driver for the endurance event, so I was forced to improvise. The bracket that stops the accelerator pedal broke on my first lap, which resulted in the accelerator pedal being stuck wide open. I couldn’t get my foot around the pedal to pull it loose, and quitting wasn’t an option. With no other choice, I drove the next ten laps throttling through the corners with the clutch, leaving the throttle wide open. As you can see in the video, things got a little out of control for a bit, but I managed to finish my ten laps without blowing up the car.

The FSAE Endurance Challenge

We changed drivers and proceeded to complete the endurance event with a broken chain tensioner at lap 18. Through all those issues we finished 14th in the endurance event.

Check out the Endurance event here.

With all the points tallied up, we finished 16th place of 90 teams at FSAE Lincoln. This was and still is the highest placing in PSU’s history. None of this would have been possible without the support of my fellow teammates and our extremely supportive adviser, Evan Waymire. Of course we learned a ton about engineering, but also, and maybe most importantly, that life is not about the issues you face, but about the ways you solve them.

Barett Strecker-01

So You Want to Go Racing in a Family Sedan?

CorkSport Mazda in NASA 25 Hours of ThunderhillNot too often do you get a chance to cage up your family sedan and “run what you brung,” but that’s exactly what Mazda and Robert Davis Racing (RDR) did in the 2013 NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Mazda took three brand new Mazda 6 Skyactiv diesel sedans out to the track and ran them. There were a few on-track incidents in the 2013 race but nothing too serious. Mazda was lining up to run the cars again in 2014, and several things fell into place that allowed CorkSport to provide some additional power improvements to the cars. We outfitted them with a downpipe and exhaust made from 80mm stainless steel, a high flow intake system, an upgraded intercooler and piping, and some ECU tuning. This gave the cars more power to stand a shot at the podium in E1 with better fuel economy than the other class cars and more power than the previous year.

CorkSport at NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill

Inside the group of three Mazda Sedans was a rivalry of the Mazdaspeed Guys (comprised of Mazdaspeed Motorsports employees) and the Dealers CEB (Crayon Eating Bastards), a group of Mazda dealership owners/employees. The dealers controlled cars #55 and #56, and the Factory Guys (Mazda Employees) had #70, all fighting it out for bragging rights. Before the race got going #70 hit a snag where a coolant line came loose and overheated a motor, which prompted a Thursday motor change.

By Friday the cars were all in good shape for qualifying. This went down trouble-free despite a giant rainstorm, as if it wasn’t hard enough trying to run a fast lap with 58 other cars out on the track in six classes— all of which had different speeds.

CorkSport Mazda parts qualifying

Thankfully, by Saturday morning the weather had cleared up, and the forecast predicted dry racing for the full 25 hours. This prompted us to get the three cars ready to run on slicks which were mounted up on the wheels and installed on the cars.

CorkSport Mazda parts ready for racing

Right at 11 am the flag dropped and started the longest race in North America. This was, needless to say, an adventure for the whole team. Several hours into the race, the driver of #70 reported that the car would not shift into all of the gears. It turns out the extra power was a little harder on the drive train in the higher gears, which removed the 5th gear from being functional. The driver decided to stay out and run the race in 6th gear until the fuel stop came up. That turned out to be hours later courtesy of the excellent fuel economy of the Skyactiv engine. The pit area was prepped for a transmission swap with a spare gearbox the team had brought with them. Unfortunately, this took the car out of any chance of being on the podium, but with endurance racing you never know what will happen! So the transmission change went ahead as planned.

At the first extended yellow flag session #55 and #56 reported a power loss in the cars. This resulted in a massive jam session to diagnose and fix what was going on with the cars. Since these specific cars live their lives on the track they did not get a chance to be tested with the new modifications at low speeds (AKA street driving speeds) which brought up an exciting challenge with the fire control systems in the cars. It took ~about 2 hours to sort out the problem, and we had the #55 and #56 back at full speed heading into the night.

Mazda Sedans drive into the night

The #70 was getting its final work completed with the transmission change and ready to head out onto the track again well behind the Mazda dealers in the #55 and #56 cars. Late into the night, after a driver change, we got a call in on the radio #55 had an on-track incident with another car in the E2 class, and sadly both cars had to retire from the race. This E2 class car happened to be leading the class which RDR was also fielding “Kermit,” the green RX8, in. Though the incident was unfortunate, as a result Kermit moved to the leader position of the E2 class.

Several hours later we got a call in from #56 of an off-track situation which required the car to retire from the race too. This put the #70 Mazda 6 in position to finish ahead of the #55 and #56 for total laps if its drivers could finish the race trouble-free. As the sun came up, the #70 car was running without a hitch, as was Kermit.

Mazda RX8 racing at sunrise

From sunrise until noon, the race for the two remaining cars was uneventful. At the noon finale of the race Kermit secured the win in E2 for the first time! Like in any race, there were things you learn and adjustments for the next time on the track. I want to give a huge thanks to RDR, Mazda, Mazdaspeed, the volunteer crew peeps , and Weldon for the guidance on my first time being a crew chief for an endurance race. Lastly, a big thanks to Ruandy from Pacific Northwest Life for the great camera shots—and to my family for letting me miss an entire weekend at another race.

-Derrick

Interested in any of the diesel performance parts we developed? Shoot an email to sales@corksport.com for more information.