Miata Fiata Shopping in Daytona Beach, Florida

I noticed a Mazda3 in traffic on our way to the Rolex 24 at Daytona one of the five days volunteering there, sporting a cool Daytona Mazda license plate frame. I instantly decided I must get one for my Miata. I plan to cut back on my volunteering and I know that Mazda RT24-P Multimatic DPi of Team Joest will be successful at a future Rolex 24 event, so this frame would be my tribute to that future day.

Well today on our way to Daytona International Airport my buddy John and I stopped by at Daytona Mazda to see if we manage to score such a license plate frame… we did! And I took some MX-5 RF for sale pics in the process…

There were only two on the lot among dozens of Mazda SUV’s but they were sure pretty. John especially admired the red one, soul red, I believe similar color to the Daytona prototypes.

Mission accomplished!

Thanks to the salesman that ran out to greet us when we walked into the lot, and offered to get me as many frames as I requested. What a nice fellow!

We had a look-see around the lot, behind the building where we only spotted more Mazda SUV’s and again the red one caught John’s eye. I don’t blame him, it sure looks pretty!

After a bunch of selfies we were on our way to the airport. Unfortunately we didn’t stop at the Daytona Fiat which we zoomed past on the way to the Mazda store. It would have been nice to see what Fiata’ s they had on offer. Next door they also had a Maserati Alfa Romeo dealer which would have been nice to visit to see what they got.

Ironically the only place that had an NC Miata on the lot was the BMW dealership a few hundred yards down. Too bad I didn’t  snap some shots of it.

So yeah, if you’re in the market for a new or used Miata or Fiata check out the many stores of the Daytona Auto Mall.

UPDATE February 2, 2018: frames mounted

It was Tough to be a Mazda Fan at Daytona 24 Hour this Race

I had high hopes for Mazda Motorsports DPi team this weekend. Team Joest showed so much potential at the Roar. And then 2017 repeated itself… deja vu all over again.

Right off the bat one of the cars had a hard time leaving the Le Mans style grid in pit lane. Remarkably IMSA allowed the car to retake its position on the sighting laps before the green flag started the race.  At one point (first full course yellow if I remember correctly) the car ended up in P1 briefly because it didn’t pit like the rest of the leading pack… but things fell apart quickly. I remember thinking, well at least it’s only tire failures which Mazda could easily blame on Continental Tire like Wayne Taylor Racing did, but long before the race ended there was an engine fire that took one of the cars out. Both would DNF from this year’s Rolex 24, much like last year.

What a shame!

The owners lounge in the fan zone  was similarly disappointing. I remember when they were generous… I remember collecting Mazda swag long before I bought my Miata. It encouraged me to develop enthusiasm for the brand. This year it was purely for show if you looked from the distance. Inside the fancy display you got some pictures on the walls with a nice Die-cast Model of the original Cosmo which you couldn’t even purchase. If you got a red wristband after registering as a Mazda owner, the lady behind the podium offered you a Mazda lanyard and a coffee mug. If you got a black wristband you only got a lanyard.

Why so stingy Mazda?

I hope with the money they saved on fans they could buy some better reliability. If that doesn’t work maybe their money is better spent slapping a Mazda sticker on a Cadillac powered Dallara like the Spirit of Daytona team… though their car failed to finish also, so clearly success isn’t guaranteed.

Hopefully things turn around in the future… It was obvious to see that Mazda Motorsport didn’t come to Daytona 24 to win it.

Daytona 24 Hour Favorite Moments of the Weekend

There were lots of ups and downs this Rolex 24 hour weekend. Mostly ups and one of my recent favorites was to see the Kremer Porsche out on track from the HSR display… what a cool sight to witness!

Great to see vintage race cars from way before I started in this motorsport hobby.

Also super happy to have been in pit lane for the majority of the weekend especially in my post at Out.

Special thanks to the chief of pit marshals Scott Lucas for taking care of our team. Including dinner and lunch deliveries:

Fine Dining with a view…

Even after being totally worn out and exhausted at the end of the weekend, I had a blast!

 

Rolex 24 at Daytona 2018 Grid Walk Pics

What an amazing experience this year’s Rolex 24 hours at Daytona was for me. Got to work in pit lane and was well positioned to do the grid walk just before the race. Here’s some of my pics:

 

I’m happy I got some close ups of the GT Daytona cars, the only true race of the weekend. The other two classes were a disappointment with runaway winners laps ahead of the competition. More on that later.

 

Rolex 24 at Daytona Spotter Guides by Andy Blackmore

Great news! Andy Blackmore has just released the 2018 IMSA Spotter Guides ahead of the Rolex 24 hour race at Daytona this weekend.

You may download the guides on Andy’s web site spotterguides.com or on official IMSA site, or do like me and get a printed booklet at the paddock in Daytona International Speedway. It’s a great collectable.

I’m writing about this while sitting at the gate in Newark Liberty International Airport about to board my flight to Florida to volunteer this awesome event.

The Roar Before the Rolex 24 Hour the debrief

I have to say that booking flights this year instead of driving down to Florida was a brilliant idea… boy am I glad I did that. The night I was flying out to Orlando flights at Newark were beginning to get cancelled for the next day. After I arrived in Daytona, NYC was getting 12 inches of snow, a storm that already dumped a ton on Savannah, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. There was even snow in the panhandle of Florida. No snow in Daytona Beach for the weekend but it was absolutely freezing. I brought a ton of warm winter clothing but I was still freezing cold.

Anyway… main reason for signing up to volunter this event was to see the new cars for the 2018 season. There was a lot new. The Acuras of Team Penske were quite ugly to look at but fast right out of the box. The Cadillac Dallaras were predictably the quickest. Mazda was still predictably slow, even under Team Joest management.

I love the fact there were so many prototypes. Seems like more than I remember in previous years. The GT Daytona collection had amazing variety again. Very nice to see both BMW M6 and M8 side by side in naked carbon fiber form.

In Continental Tire series it was near to see the fleet of TCR cars. Volksvagen Golf GTi especially was impressive to watch as it spun a few times in the bus stop where I was flagging for a few days.

Mercedes and Audi GT4 cars were a surprise especially when I realized that the R8 was a V10!

I got a chance to flag from Turn 4 as well and worked Turn 3 on Monday for Ferrari Challenge which looked revived with the Ferrari 488 Evo spec racers.

It was a great weekend despite the cold. Looking forward to the Rolex 24 next week.

Audible Flagging System for SCCA Pro Trans Am Series Mandate

Racer Magazine just reported that Trans Am (one of two SCCA Pro series that remained with the club’s sanctioning body after many other respectable series bailed) will make Audible Flagging System mandatory in the cars that race with the series… TA1, TA2, TA3, TA4, etc. The system will not cost the team’s extra, instead it will be provided to all in the name of safety. The system will use audible and visual flashing lights to warn competitors of danger reflecting the traditional flags displayed around the track. An interesting statistic used to promote the idea of the system is that 88% of major incidents that happen result from secondary impacts, or not the direct result of the initial crash but crashing into the crash because of failure of adequate warning.

This news fascinates me.

Not sure how to take this news. Be proud? Be insulted by providing an insufficient service as a volunteer?

Do we even need volunteers anymore?

The AFS system will surely cost less than the soggy sandwiches provided to flag marshals every day of the race meeting.

Ironic that the only club in the U.S. with the power to issue internationally recognized marshal licenses had bailed or is in process of dumping its volunteer marshals.

Or are they?

Link to Racer.com article: http://www.racer.com/scca-home/item/146674-audible-flagging-systems-becomes-trans-am-series-flagging-system

Red Bull Global Rallycross is Returning to Atlantic City in August 2018

Great news!

The Red Bull Global Rallycross event is returning to Atlantic City New Jersey this August.

And I signed up to volunteer that event.

Last year was an absolute blast!

Maybe I’ll attempt to do an additional event if it fits my schedule and I’m still jobless this year.

Post Card from Ferrari Challenge at Daytona Pre-24h Weekend Test Day

Great way to spend Monday at the race track. The temperature is warmest it has been for the whole week down in Florida. Today was in the 70’s and misty. But despite the light rain it was enjoyable flagging at Turn 3.

I thought Ferrari Challenge was dying out based on the low attendance at Line Rock, but this field was impressive.

Some pix:

Back to reality tomorrow… great trip to Daytona! Can’t wait to return in two weeks.

Favorite car wrap: