Mazda MX-5 Open Race-2010, or as we defended the honor of Russia on the racetrack
Surprisingly, with all the diverse geography of business trips, I still have never been to Italy. Of course, this annoying gap would be eliminated sooner or later. But was it possible to assume that for the first time on the Apennine Peninsula I would find myself in a convertible with a dismantled roof, in the rain and plus four Celsius? And most importantly – also on the race track!
How did I get there? For this you need to thank several bright minds of Mazda, which in the late 80s decided to release a two-seater roadster. The Japanese have recreated the recipe for classic sports British – an attractive design, minimal weight and, of course, rear-wheel drive. Who would have thought that this “baby” MX-5, reminiscent of the Lotus Elan of 1962, would be a deafening success for Mazda?
In 1990, the MX-5 will debut on the European market. And how do you order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of an incredibly popular car (it has not left the pages of the Guinness Book of Records for a long time – is this the best-selling roadster on the planet, which has already sold 870,000 copies)? MX-5 was loved by the whole world not only at an affordable price and cool design. The main thing – the Japanese brilliantly embodied their concept of “Jinba Ittai”, which means “the unity of the rider and horse.”
The MX-5 has become a synonym for driving pleasure, and around the world not only clubs of loyal fans of the car began to emerge, but also racing monoseries, in which only the MX-5 participated. So the holiday could be held on the only correct scenario – the race, only the race!
So it happened. The event called MX-5 Open Race 2010 was striking in its scale and seriousness. But what to be modest – it was a “super event”! The racetrack is the Adria International Raceway 2.7 km long ring, which even such series as the FIA GT and DTM took at different times! The race leader is Fabrizio Fondcci, a licensed FIA international referee.
And most importantly – our “battle” horses. The standard two-liter Mazda MX-5s were subjected to ruthless dissection within the walls of the famous German “Stable» Engstler Motorsports, which was famous for performing in the World Touring. The folding top is dismantled, all the insulation is removed, the second seat, radio, climate control …
In general, the luxurious interior did not shine – one “bucket” with a six-point belt, a safety cage, a removable suede steering wheel and a “lap-timer” on the center console, which showed lap times. We improved the braking system (reinforced hoses, high-temperature fluid, other discs and track pads) and installed the Sachs racing suspension.
The engine received other “brains” and straight-through exhaust pipe with a diameter of 70 mm. It turned out great. Power of about 170 forces, weight less than a ton, and what a sound! Tires supplied by the Italian company Marangoni. Each team was provided with 2 sets of racing slicks for a dry track, and in case of rain, an unlimited amount of Marangoni Mythos sport rubber. Impressed and scope, the Germans prepared a whole fleet – 29 cars for teams from all over Europe.
Each team consisted of 5 pilot journalists, as the race was ahead of us a long, four-hour, with refueling and a change of drivers. Russia was represented by Boris Schulmeister (professional ring pilot, instructor of the Mazda Sport Academy and a representative of the TV channel Avtoplus), Dmitry Sokolov (Automobiles magazine), Oleg Bogdanov (Top Gear), Sergey Voskresensky (“Driving”) and me. Oleg Keselman, the famous “koltsevik”, a former Porsche Supercup racer and the head of the Mazda Sport Academy, set us up for combat.
In addition, Mazda provided us with a complete set of equipment – FIA homologated overalls and underwear, shoes, a helmet and gloves. She even provided command jackets to keep them warm. The color scheme of clothes is strange only at first glance, and experts are aware that this is exactly how the sport prototype of the Mazda 787B was painted – the only car in the world with a rotary engine that won the “24 hours of Le Mans”.
Summed up only the weather. If on the eve it was just cold, but dry, then on the day of training from the morning it started to rain. So it was possible to forget about slicks – only “wet” tires. So let’s go! The first to go on the road is our main “miner” – Boria Schulmeister. After seven laps Mazda in the colors of the Russian tricolor returns to the pits to change the pilots (according to the regulations, each driver had to skate at least 5 quick laps in the session).
My turn. I dive in through the maze of the safety cage, quickly snap the belts (thanks to practice during track days). Ready to start! Keselman picks up the sign, let’s go. Acceleration, second gear, braking in front of the stud, juicy exhaust shooting and … MX-5 immediately becomes sideways. Wow, well, and habits!
Light rear-wheel drive Mazda with a differential lock on a wet slippery road requires very smooth clutch operation. And all switching “down” is better to do only with peregazovkoy. Otherwise – the loss of time for the permanent correction of a hard-nosed roadster And special attention – getting out of turns.