What’s Racing Got To Do With It?

Looking from the outside, racing really doesn’t make much sense. You spend a bunch of money to win some trophies, which are nowhere near as valuable as the money spent on the racing to get it. This leaves most people asking “why?”

I’m here to explain why the people at CorkSport spend the time and energy to go racing.

First, we get access to world-class drivers. I’m not saying I’m not a decent driver, but I’m always learning, just like the best drivers out there. The best example we have is recently hiring pro driver Kenton Koch to do development work on our 2016 Miata suspension.

If you haven’t heard his name, you should by now. He’s a Mazda development driver and he’s won the Skip Barber Series Championship, Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Series Championship, Battery Tender MX-5 Cup Championship, and this last year, the IMSA Prototype Lights Champtionship. This year at the Rolex 24hour in Daytona, Kenton was part of a JDC-Miller PC team that won their class and the first race in the Patron Endurance Championship. This was also the first time he’d raced this car against other competitors. So you can say Kenton is good.

Kenton Koch Daytona Win

The second thing about racing is you’ll break and wear out parts. If you’re not wearing out parts, you’re not pushing the car hard enough and you’re officially a Sunday driver. Brakes, tires, suspension, and motor components are exposed to the worst conditions while racing. A recent example was when I raced at Daytona for the SCCA runoffs. We raced our 2015 Mazda 3 2.5 with all of our parts for an entire week. Every lap we hit a top speed of 139mph, hammering the brake to make corner 1. The intake and exhaust got a massive workout dealing with the full throttle driving for extended periods of time on the embankment of the oval. The CorkSport springs and swaybar were pounded over the curbs on the infield and the bus stop. The end result of the race weekend was zero problems with our parts, even in a worst-case environment.

2016-02-02-hale-motorsports

The third reason is just as compelling to me as the first two reasons: you learn. When I head to the track, I make sure I have a goal in mind of what I want to accomplish ahead of time. For this upcoming year, CorkSport is an associate sponsor of Hale Motorsports Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car effort with two MX-5 TC classed cars and a very familiar Mazda 2 TC B-Spec, which CorkSport built and raced. I’ve signed on to be a crew chief for the car driven by Joey Jordan, who piloted the CorkSport Mazda 2 last year to four straight 1st place finishes at the end of the Pirelli World Challenge season. We also have a future star in the making. Henry Morse will be driving the Mazda 2 for this season as well, which makes for a busy schedule.

My goal for the season is to develop the skills to operate at the highest level needed by a crew chief in strategy, drive prep, team communications, and operations. Each one of these items is essential inside a team to be effective and win a championship.

Now that you know, what do you think? Do you understand why we race? Feel free to post your comments here on the blog and I’ll make sure I reply back personally.

Meet Derrick from CorkSport. Loves racing, Mazdas, and his CS fam.

What to do During Racing Off-Season

Racing season is officially over. What do you do when it's the off-season?

The conclusion of the SCCA runoffs came in late September and the NASA western conference is all wrapped up. We’re approaching a horribly sad time of the year for us folk in the north: the racing off-season. Here in Washington, it gets a little bit colder and a whole lot wetter. The days get shorter and the racecars get put into the garages. Except for rally, that stuff goes on all year round because they’re bosses. But all in all, the season dies down.

I personally like to take this time to work on all those little projects I’ve been putting off during the summer months. That engine you were going to rebuild or those quarter panels you said you would paint and fix.

For the enthusiast, the off-season is a good time to bring your ride back up to where you want it to be. For the racer, the off-season is a great time to sit down, plan, and make a strategy for the up-and-coming season. It’s a good time to think about your goals for next year and plan out what races you wish to attend.

As much as I love racing, you still need to make good memories with friends and family that put up with your hobbies. So slow down and enjoy the holidays. Spend time with your friends and family because when summer rolls back around, your best friend becomes your steering wheel. And yes, those are chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Take the off-season of racing to appreciate your family and plan your next season.
Photo Credit: gallery.asiaforest.org

So guys, what do you like to do in the off-season when you’re not driving the racecar as much? What plans do you have this winter? Share them with us and maybe I can try something new.

Cheers,

Vincent

Winner of the Drive to Win Giveaway

Who doesn’t like a giveaway? Free stuff is always a good idea.

Last week, we ran our Drive to Win with CorkSport giveaway where our Facebook fans entered by uploading a picture of their Mazda in action. Autocross, racing on the track, drag strip, hill climb, and rally cross pictures were all acceptable entries. The winner was chosen at random and will receive a CorkSport swag bag.

Congratulations to our winner, Cody Allington! His shot features him and his girl, Marisa, having some fun on the track.

Drive to Win WINNER Cody Allington
WINNER Cody Allington at the track.

We had to throw in a few of our other favorite shots and racing stories. See them all on our Facebook page.

slaying the dragon Chris Milton Brandon Chap and Cezary Koral
Chris Milton, Brandon Chap, and Cezary Koral slaying the dragon.
Niclas Swahn with his CorkSport equipped Mazda msp on a track in Sweden.
Niclas Swahn with his CorkSport equipped Mazda msp on a track in Sweden.
Bret Nicoletti with his dog car aka #rooneyspeed RD3 at Global Time Attack around Willow Springs International Raceway.
Bret Nicoletti with his dog car aka #rooneyspeed RD3 at Global Time Attack around Willow Springs International Raceway.

We have a feeling this isn’t our last giveaway… stay tuned.

Cheers,

CorkSport

Journey to the Perfect Race Car

For those of you who don’t know me, or frankly have no idea who I am, I’m Vincent and I’m part of the CorkSport team. If there’s one thing you should know about Vincent, it’s that he likes to race.

Start racing with the help of CorkSport.

I’m a huge fan of sports car racing and pretty much anything that includes four wheels, an engine, and high speeds. Another thing you should know is that I’m still fairly new to the Pacific Northwest. I moved up here almost 10 months ago to work for the great Mazda company, CorkSport. In an effort to spread my wings and make my way to Vancouver, some sacrifices had to be made. The biggest was selling my race car.

Discover Vincent's journey to his new race car with the help of CorkSport.

I’ve been lucky to have owned a few good Mazdas and some other cars. I’ve been even luckier to have been able to compete with these cars, including my import drag racing Mitsubishi Eclipse and my HPDE Mazdaspeed Protege. But when I moved, they had to stay behind and find a new home. So I was left lonely. Alone, sad, and with a desire to get back on the circuit, I went on the hunt to find a new race car to compete with. Of course until I get my hands on a third generation Mazdaspeed 3. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to go far. Literally not far at all. I’m talking two desks over to our co-owner and fellow racer Mr. Derrick Ambrose, or as I like to call him Mr. Derrick. We’re polite here at CorkSport.

Tucked away in the back of his garage was a familiar face to anyone who has been around CorkSport over the years. That familiar face was a 1999 Mazda Protege with a little P5 front end action.

Vincen't new CorkSport powered race car.

The old CS drag car was a little aged, a little dirty, and begging for a new life. Needless to say, I found myself my new race car. She had already been gutted and caged so the hard parts were done. With a new engine and transmission, it was in a good state to get finished up. Just a few odds and ends here and there and possibly a fresh wrap, and then she will be good to get on the track in no time.

I still haven’t decided what class of sports car racing I want to compete in. I’m thinking simple like PTE in NASA or maybe H-production in SCCA. What entry level club racing appeals to you guys the most?

Cheers,

Vincent

Become a Racecar Driver with Mazda

So you want to become a professional racecar driver. Awesome plan, I mean who doesn’t right? But where do you start? The answer is Mazda.

Mazda can help you become the race car driver you always wanted to be.
Image via Road & Track

Hop on Craigslist and start looking for a car. You’re going to need a good solid platform to start with and something that’s easy to work on. A car that is relatively inexpensive, easy to find parts for, super reliable, and can give you the best driving experience along with great aftermarket support for future upgrades. BAM you just bought your ‘91 Miata racecar. A car that has everything you need and then some.

First things first, you need to make sure it’s safe and in tiptop shape to handle the abuse you’re about to put on it. Go on the hunt for pieces you need to replace like brake pads, shocks, and maybe a wheel bearing or two. Don’t settle for some cheap aftermarket pieces. You are going to be racing this car and don’t want to lose a track weekend because of premature part failure. You need OEM top notch quality.

Mazda was the first company to offer a support program for their grassroots racers. The Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development program sells OEM parts to drivers at cost in order to keep them on the track longer. If you provide them with at least two current race results within the past 12 months you can join the program and reap the benefits they have to offer. Along with parts, you also have access to trained employees and other racers who can provide help and guidance.

Once the car is ready to go, you need a place to go racing. Mazda has partnerships with some of the largest sanctioned racing bodies such as SCCA Solo, NASA, and SCCA Club Racing. With over 20,000+ racers, it’s easy to see why more Mazdas are raced on any given weekend than any other brand in the world.

So you have been racing for a year or two and you’re ready to take it to the next level. Introducing the Mazda driver development ladder system, the one and only true program to help guide you from the grassroots level of club racing to the high ranks of Indy lights. If you really have what it takes, the skill and the character that Mazda embodies, you may be lucky enough to find yourself in the cockpit of a Mazda prototype racing in the Tudor United Sports Car Championships, the most prestigious road racing campaign in North America.

Mazda driver development ladder helps drivers pursue their dream of racing.
Image via Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development

We all know racing is expensive. The cost of gas, food, entry fees, and travel can add up quickly during a regular season. Who can help you pay for these things? Mazda of course. As a competitor in the Mazda ladder system, you have the ability to compete and earn scholarships worth thousands of dollars to help you pursue your dreams. Imagine winning the run-offs or the MX-5 cup and being awarded $75,000 to help fund your racing expenses. Now that’s what I call support.

Mazda also created the R.A.C.E program in 2014 to help motivate and engage the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professionals. They dedicated a whole program to developing young minds and helping them pursue their dreams even if it has nothing to do with racing cars. You can’t tell me that is not cool.

Mazda is the true racers brand. From mentoring to scholarships to the various after school programs they have invested in, no one is as committed to the driver as Mazda is. They breed the next generation of racers. A brand built by the people for the people. The reason #DrivingMatters.

Happy racing,

Vincent

Sources:
http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/a25343/mazda-is-racings-biggest-angel-investor/
http://mazdamotorsports.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/DisplayRacerStoryView?source=story&uniqueId=3568&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1
Http://www.mazdausamedia.com/2014-01-13-MAZDA-KICKS-OFF-NATIONAL-EDUCATION-PROGRAM-TO-REV-UP-THE-INTELLECTUAL-ENGINES-OF-FUTURE-S-T-E-M-THOUGHT-LEADERS-AND-AUTO-ENTHUSIASTS