Mazda Motorsports Hour to Debut On New Velocity Network

Mazda has supported more road racers over the past decade than any other automaker and is now stepping up the support to include extended TV coverage on the new Velocity network.

Velocity is the cable network created by Discovery communications that provides high-octane programming for its viewers with programming geared toward events, with live auctions and world rally championships and real-life adrenaline-pumping shows.

The Mazda Motorsports Hour will be hosted by award-winning motorsports broadcaster, Rick Benjamin and will include 24 shows that be broadcast from April through November with content that will include feature races from the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – two tiers of the Mazda Road to Indy Ladder – and SCCA Pro Racing’s Playboy MX-5 Cup. Joining Benjamin in the booth will be racers Randy Pobst for the MX 5 Cup, and James Hinchcliffe for Star Mazda and USF2000. Todd Lewis will be the pit reporter.

A competitive field of more than 30 cars are expected at each of this year’s 11 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup races. The spec series based on the popular auto platform has served as a launching pad for young drivers as well as a place where veteran racers can find intense competition at a good value.

Drivers who show promise and success on the track in any of these series throughout the season qualify for additional chances to learn additional skills at being a professional driver and earn “MAZDASPEED Motorsports Scholarships” that include off-track developmental competitions and feature the creation of business plans and sponsor development processes upon which the driver moves to the next step in their racing career.

“Hardcore fans know that some of the most intense action can be found in the Playboy MX-5 Cup, Star Mazda and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. But if you weren’t at the race, you are left to take our word for it. Now, thanks to a partnership with Velocity, and Carolinas Production Group, fans can enjoy the action on a regular basis from their living room,” noted Jim Jordan, Alternative Marketing Manager, Mazda North America. Retrieved from Mazda Media,

To find Velocity on your local cable system, go to


B-Spec, Big Time

Over the last year there have been rumors of a racing series to run b segment cars on the track. Mazda and Honda decided to give it a shot, testing out cars at the 25 hours of thunder hill, which we blogged about last year with the Mazda 2 and the Fit.

On October 12th there were four cars which were tested by the SCCA at Michigan’s Grattan raceway to see how the cars stacked up against each other at racing speeds. The cars that showed up were the Mazda 2, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, and Fiat 500.

The SCCA tested out throttle restrictors and ballast weights to see how it affected each car. The restrictor and the ballast are used to equalize the playing field between the cars if one car has an advantage in weight or horse power.

The SCCA will be doing another round of testing at some point in January where they expect more manufacturers to show up. Kia has announced that they will have the Rio racing and has been rumors of Toyota and Nissan getting into the action next year as well.

The B-Spec class cars qualify for the SCCA showroom stock C category and there has been interest by both Grand-Am and World Challenge to pick up the series next year.

I am looking forward to seeing the cars our there on the track with some closer door to door racing next year.


Compete and Win!

The Oregon Region SCCA Solo Director stopped by CorkSport this week and during our discussion, he brought up the topic of the national event and contingency awards that he and the other driver for his car had won. I missed the national tour event this year from other obligations, but it got me thinking, “what if I had competed and won my class.”

So I hopped on the computer and took a look at the SCCA national webpage to see what contingencies are offered to the winners of the National Solo tour.

#1 Mazdaspeed. Mazda pays out $200 for first and $100 for second for any Mazda who is registered with their program.

#2 Kumho. I am currently running #2 Kumho EXS tires on the CorkSport Mazda 2 and Kuhmo pays out big time if you win especially in the street tire classes. First place pays out $600 in product credit, second place is $400 in product credit and third place is $300. The tire size I use is 205/50/15 which goes for around $90 a tire. Even third place would almost pay for a set of new tires.

If you wanted to give it a shot in the Pro-Solo event (the Pro Solo event was the weekend after the national solo tour) there is even more available if you can get a class win.

#1 Mazdaspeed. Mazda pays out $200 for first and $100 for second for any Mazda who is registered with their program for a class win. If you go on the challenge they bump it up to $400 for a win and $200 for second place.

#2 Kumho. Kumho pays out the same for the street tire classes as the national solo win. For the challenge first place pays out $300 in product credit, second place is $200 in product credit and third place is $150.

#3 Hawk Performance. Hawk gives out $100 per class win and $100 for the challenge win.

So hypothetically if I could pull off a class win for two weekends of racing it would add up to a total of $2500 in products. Not too shabby for having a great time driving around cones. I am fortunate that the events are only 2 hours away for me. Some of the competitors I saw in the entry list came from as far as Texas.

Remember, even if you think you might try to attend a national event, make sure you register with the contingency sponsor before the event. Some require registering at the beginning of the year so read the fine print.


Roadracing Around in Mazdaspeed 3’s

Back in 2009 Mazda decided to get the then new 2010 model year Mazdaspeed 3 involved in road racing in the ST class of SCCA Grand Am racing. This pitted the Mazdaspeed 3 up against VW GTIs, Kia Fortes, BMWs, Honda Civics, Porsche Boxers, and even Mazda MX-5s along with a host of others. The variety of vehicles that can compete in this class makes the field of cars immense at these events. In the recent Grand-Am 200 race, 45 different cars were represented.

The bodies of the cars competing have to remain stock in most aspects. Modifications allowed in the ST class are limited to bolt on performance items along with various suspension parts that will hold up to the rigors of road racing and all cars competing get a boost in safety with roll cages, seats, and fire suppression equipment. The tires are one size only for the Mazdaspeed 3, 225/45/17 Continental Extreme Contact Tire.

This year, there are two teams racing the Mazdaspeed 3 in the ST class, I-Moto Racing and Freedom Autosport.

I-Moto Racing has a three car team lead by the team owner Glenn Bochinno and includes past world challenge driver Pierre Kleinubing who used to drive Acuras (welcome to the darkside Pierre). Despite challenges faced due to the Grand Am making a performance adjustment resulting in a boost reduction due to a new “Altitude adjustment”, they have seen their share of successes.

Mark and Matthew Pombo finished 2nd in March at the Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca and returned to the podium for a 3rd place finish in June after a flawless race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.

Also featuring the Mazdaspeed3 in their stable is Freedom Autosport. After two full seasons in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge campaigning Mazda MX-5’s, Freedom Autosport added two Mazdaspeed 3 teams driven by Jason Saini and Nick Igdalsky in one car and Eric Foss and Brad Rampleberg in the other. Brad Rampelberg and Eric Foss gave the team their first podium for the speed3 during the B+ Foundation Heroes 200 at New Jersey Motorsports Park on July 23rd. The third place finish came after the car underwent a complete overhaul in just a week’s time by the Freedom Autosports crew

Mazda looks to have the Manufacturers championship wrapped up with one more event left to go at the Emco Gears Classic at mid-ohio on Sept 16th. The race will be televised on Sep 25th at 12:00 pm EST so be sure to check out the race.