Category Archives: Europe

“Rock Star Marshaling” Few Thoughts on a Post in “A Life In Orange” by British Marshal Blogger

I’d like to share a few thoughts after reading a fellow marshal’s blog post about “Rock n’ Roll Marshalling”

Though I’ve never met Rob Lee, the publisher of “A Life in Orange” blog chronicling his experiences volunteering in the UK and elsewhere. I do admire his efforts, because like me, he seems to devote a considerable amount of time promoting this hobby to others. In fact I fall far short of the effort he puts into his articles with my immigrant English and rampant spelling and grammatical errors… I’m not sure whether I completely agree with the post I’m commenting on here, but I’ll try to outline my reasons below from a few angles based on my personal experiences.

So few items jumped out of the page at me in his September 14th post here:  alifeinorange.com/2017/09/14/rock-n-roll-marshalling/

  1. Glitz, Glamour, that Rock and Roll lifestyle
  2. Spotlight on marshaling vs. Drivers/Teams
  3. Celeb-Hero matrix
  4. Martin Brundle Orange Army TV comments
  5. Kids perceptions on Rockstars/Drivers/Marshals apeal
  6. Different location every weekend/travelling aspect
  7. Quirky shit
  8. Share, share, share!

 

Point one… glitz, glamour, rockstar-lifestyle is fiction.

It may appear that way if you follow someone’s social media account, posts and photos on facebook, twitter or instagram. But the reality is hardly that cool.

Do “perceptions” really recruit people to marshal? I’m not sure… I remember watching the Gumball 3000 events a decade ago. The glitz, the glamour there… the wannabe drivers racing on city streets telling cops that wrote them tickets in the videos that they’re on a rally not a race, etc. It looked so cool. But the more I looked into that event and other copy-cats like it, most participants didn’t even own the exotic cars they were driving… those were rentals. Similarly, the marshals participating in those high-profile, professional events are generally poor slobs having to rough it out in a tent somewhere. Waking up at the crack of dawn, first to show up at the track, last to leave. Working long hours, mainly standing in one spot in all kinds of weather. Hardly glamorous, is it? Sure some may get away for a little bit to take some of those amazing pictures of high-tech cars on grid. Rubbing shoulders with celebrity drivers, and real celebrities, and some other really important people. But not all marshals are even able to do this. Having to choose between eating lunch in most cases or taking pictures by making a hike to the grid from whatever post they are stationed at…. hoping they get back in time for the start of the race without getting in trouble. That’s the reality. And reality is hardly rockstar-like lifestyle. It is what you make it. You could request post assignments. You could make personal choices to allow yourself to participate in the glitz and glamour, but usually there’s a price to pay. Personally I’m careful promoting the idea of marshaling as glitzy because new recruits see right through it if their first pro event isn’t all you cracked it up to be. Expectations should be realistic!

Point two… I don’t agree with the idea of throwing marshals and teams, drivers into the same basket. They couldn’t be more fundamentally different. Remember that teams and drivers get paid to go to Motorsport events. Most volunteers have to pay their way to marshal those same events. And if the organizers had their way I’m sure they’d try to charge those otherwise “non-paying spectators” for access to the best viewing spots on the circuit. The other issue with teams and drivers is that their participation at lesser pro/club events is fickle at best. Lose a sponsor, you’re losing your seat or a trip to the race. Crash a car, the team packs up and leaves if they don’t have a backup vehicle, even if this happens on the first day of the event. Comparing volunteers to racing teams and drivers is comparing apples to oranges.

Point three… It’s no secret that many marshals like the celebrity aspect of their line of work… they’re practically rubbing shoulders with the multi-million dollar earning champion racers at the same events with the best seat in the house. Many Brits seem to push this “Hero” idea that marshals are the unsung heroes of the racing world. I don’t know if I buy that either. WE, as volunteers, are at Motorsport events to do a job. If we were not willing to do it, we’d just be spectators paying our way to watch the racing. The organizers know this. The sanctioning bodies know this. Most do a really great job of cutting us out from TV coverage unless of course something major happens and we do a really good job with the incident or a really bad one. If we do something wrong we have a great chance of making it on TV. Less so if we do something really right. Do we deserve to get more TV time and being acknowledged that we are “someone” doing important work. Perhaps… but there’s little value for organizers/TV to push that line so I see why they don’t do it.

Are we Heroes? That’s debatable. Real heroes are too humble to refer to themselves as such.

Point four… is very much tied to the Celeb-Hero matrix idea above. Martin Brundle giving a shout out to the Orange Army every broadcast is something. Is it enough… Yeah, probably. Do we want more? Of course we do, it does wonderful things for our ego’s! Should he do it? Well, that depends on what the TV producers think about that.

Another famous announcer in the world of Endurance Racing: Radio Le Mans announcer John Hindhaugh or Hindy for short does a fantastic job mentioning the marshals and other volunteers in all of his broadcasts. But he’s also called out several recent incidents in my own experience working IMSA races where he made false claims that I… yes I! was doing something wrong, even though when watching the video replay of the incidents everyone and their mother could clearly see his statements were inaccurate. So how the fuck do you deal with something like that? A well-intentioned broadcaster making you look like a foo… an amateur… I’m a Pro dammit! (right?) Second guessing your actions. Wrongly… It’s not right! But that’s the issue of Celebrity and the whole actions of Heroes debate. No matter what you do, someone will question it. It’s human nature. Best thing to do is continue doing the right thing, no matter what people comment about it. It’s all about perception.

That said I do think it’s important that TV announcers should continue to promote Motorsport volunteering. And they ought to do it more often!

Point five… Kid’s perceptions. I agree with Rob wholeheartedly that we need to recruit kids. Young marshals are key to the success of Motorsport of the future. This idea is not necessarily what current marshaling clubs rely on. It’s been my experience that here in North America the business model generally speaking is to focus recruitment on older folks… people that are retiree’s… people that have the time and money to travel to events to volunteer.

Yes, those people are needed. But I also think clubs and sanctioning bodies like the FIA or FIM, or IMSA or NASCAR need to cough up some cash to promote volunteering to younger folk. Provide the tools needed for the youngsters to succeed. Provide training. Provide incentives to volunteer often. Provide some support.

And it’s important to remember that kid’s perceptions of actual Rockstars and Race Car drivers whom Rob compares to Rockstars is not necessarily a realistic expectation of kid’s perceptions of volunteers. As I mentioned before comparing the two is akin to comparing apples to oranges. I think some experienced Motorsport marshals could be perceived as Rockstars for their actions on track. I have a number of people I look up to myself because of the way they do their job. But the way I look at them isn’t the same as I look at celebrity drivers. Then again I’ve learned long ago I have no future as a race car driver… so I don’t look up to any race car drivers at all.

Point six…. I love this point! Even before my family moved from Ukraine to the United States of America, it has been my dream to travel. I couldn’t wait to take my first trip to Czhechoslovakia (yep, it was still one country back then) or Poland… In high school in New Jersey I was determined to find a job that would allow me to travel. When that didn’t materialize I went travelling on my own, lived in Australia, Singapore, New Zealand… picked up this marshaling hobby while in Singapore and the travel bug exploded even more.

And to think there was a time when I’d read FlyerTalk.com forums and take flights to anywhere without any purpose for the only reason that the flight was cheap. Now marshaling has given me a purpose… a mission. A travel to a destination around the world so I could volunteer for a Race. Motorsport tourism is life! And I promote the shit out of it on this blog and to anyone that would listen to me whenever I meet people… it’s the only thing that comes out of my mouth when I’m given an opportunity to share some opinions…. sometimes I bore people to death with the idea. But I truly believe in it.

So yes! Different event every weekend is possible. It’s exciting. And it will probably drain your bank account like it has done to me. But it is extremely addictive and I love every minute of it!

Point seven… Quirky shit I don’t get. I don’t agree with it. I don’t think I fully understand it. But whatever, people do it, I’m cool with it. Continue doing it. All those racing bears. The wombats. The sheep. Whatever. When I take selfies I use my own face. I don’t need to use a plush animal to satisfy the same want… of taking a picture to remember an event.

I suspect, and I could be wrong… people use toys as an excuse to take a picture of something to promote this hobby.

Point eight… Sharing is essential! Social media. Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat… Instagram. Shit I don’t even use. You should continue using to promote this hobby. Because it’s worth it. I’ve written many times that the more there are of us the more enjoyable this hobby gets. It goes without saying that this is critical… For anyone that has learned anything about SEO, searth engine optimization, on the Internets… sharing stuff makes it go up in ranking on search engines which results in more traffic. Sharing info about events, opportunities to marshal, sharing volunteer opportunities will make the idea more popular and solicit participation. Greater participation will attract more participants. And that’s what it’s all about. Strength in numbers means better training because there are more of us doing this. More swag. More rewarding experiences. More fun!

So to wrap this up and make a long post even longer… I want to say marshaling is what you make it! If you want to feel like a Rockstar, sign up for some exotic races. Of the fifteen countries I was lucky to work, there’s something attractive about each and every one of them. But if you’re chasing opinions of your facebook followers, I can say with certainty that events in Southeast Asia or the Middle East take the cake… Yas Marina Circuit was one of the most incredible circuits I got to work. I was visiting on my own when a bus load of Brits was brought in at the request of the series, so I got a local experience while they were wined and dined by the series. Seek opportunities like that to make yourself feel real important. It sure is a boost to anyone’s ego. Singapore is a great place to feel important too, and there’s so much stuff you can share with your jealous friends on facebook from the tiny city state. The glitz, the glamour! The makan makan…

But more importantly go in with realistic expectations. Experiment with different volunteer positions. It’s not all about being a track marshal. Try flagging. Try working comms. Consider being a Fire Rescue marshal. Take the crash and burn school. Work in Pit lane. Starter is one of my favorite positions, and one you probably have to bump someone out of the way to get an opportunity to work.

There are so many possibilities.

But manage your expectations.

Volunteering won’t make you a millionaire. But the experiences you have the potential of witnessing are priceless!

Share… share… share!!!

 

Thanks Rob Lee for an opportunity to comment on your opinions.

What would make e-Prix Formula E more Exciting? Electric GT Support Races

I had a blast at the two Formula E events I  volunteered, but not all experienced such an electrifying time I was lucky to have. Why? Because of the amount of downtime between sessions… How would something like that be fixed? By adding support races of course!

At present the Roborace is the only “support” series that Formula E advertises, which consists of a single DevBot putzing around the track at slow speeds while it learns the track. That series will get more interesting especially when the autonomous/driver-less cars take to the streets in anger, but we are some time away from that happening.

What could be implemented much sooner is an exciting idea announced in Ibiza, Spain earlier… a Tesla Model S based spec series called Electric GT.

I had written about that series when I first learned about it, but I feel it’s important to talk about it so that people are aware and indeed support the idea to help bring it to fruition.

Just look at the latest pix posted on electricgt.co web site:

Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)
Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)
Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)

Actual track footage of the car in Europe…

Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)

The reveal

Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)

Yes, the car has so much torque it can smoke those tires easily!

Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)
Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)

The new P100D version

Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)

Simulation race, something Formula E already does letting fans take on actual professional drivers in a video game.

Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)

Even electric carts could help fill the void of having too much downtime… should some people want to remain in the grandstands instead of wandering around the eVillage.

Photo credit: Electric GT (electricgt.co)

It seems based on the calendar the Electric GT series is very Euro-focused, but the global schedule of current Formula E series is very attractive and could certainly be managed easily by the participating teams sharing expenses with Formula E.

I for one would love to see this happen. Strength is in numbers, and to keep the electric series together would bring the costs down and excite both the viewing public in attendance and the TV eyeballs entertained. Make it happen folks!

Happy Volunteers Day!

Congratulations Motorsport Volunteers… tomorrow, May 12th you are getting your very own day of recognition. Go ahead and pat yourselves on the back for giving up your time for this hobby!

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile has posted this:  http://www.fia.com/2017-fia-volunteers-day-resource-page

2017 FIA VOLUNTEERS DAY…

Announcement

The first FIA Volunteers Day will take place on 12 May, celebrating those who dedicate their time to make motor sport possible around the world. Capitalising on a packed weekend of FIA competition – six headline race events will raise awareness and give thanks to the volunteers who carry out the wide variety of essential roles without which the events would simply not happen.

Throughout the day, the entire motor sport community – from volunteers and officials to fans, drivers and members of the media – are encouraged to join in and show their appreciation on social media. Using the hashtag #FIAVolunteersDay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, people can share photos and stories of themselves in action on the day connecting motor sport volunteers at all levels from all around the world – from club events to world championships.

“This is an opportunity to embrace the day as an occasion to thank all volunteers who support our events at all levels,” said FIA President, Jean Todt. “It will also promote the positive benefits that they gain from their involvement in motor sport, and help attract new people to get involved.

“It is important for the FIA to give the appropriate recognition and publicity to acknowledge that each volunteer’s commitment is an essential part in ensuring the safety and success of every motor sport event.”

yada yada yada…

What does this mean?

Will the FIA finally take my suggestion to recruit and train marshals at the grassroots level for major events and then have a great pool of trained professionals available to volunteer for other non-FIA events? Nope… not that. I guess the volunteer numbers are so damn low around the world, the FIA had to come up with a gimmick to push local ASN’s to promote the volunteering business with FIA graphics.

What a shame!

Probably the biggest insult is the FIA using a picture of a Monaco marshal for this V-day promotion. Monaco is not hurting for volunteers. Monaco is typically oversubscribed. Monaco is pretty arrogant about who they choose to work their events from a very small pool of very local volunteers.

Ugh…

To be perfectly clear, I fully support Volunteering in Motorsport. I mean that’s basically the whole point of my blog. I volunteer around the world and share my experiences to encourage others to do the same… but the FIA has done very little to “help” me in my endeavor to volunteer even when I reached out to them time and again. Only certain contacts within the ASN’s of the individual countries I wanted to visit were helpful. And that’s a good thing because without local contacts I’d be shit out of luck. But it would be so nice if the FIA helped with (at the very least) establishing or facilitating the contacts for me and others to use. The FIA should take the leading role on that!

And then there’s the US of A. America doesn’t give a fuck about the FIA… The SCCA… America’s only ASN that provides marshal licenses recognized by other ASN’s that recruit international marshals for FIA events… definitely doesn’t give a fuck about the FIA. I haven’t heard anything from the SCCA to promote FIA Volunteer day on May 12th….    USAC an ACCUS/FIA member didn’t share any news about this “promo” either. Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole world (of Motorsport) was on the same page and recognize these dwindling numbers of Volunteers and done something about it, even if paying lip service to it like the FIA V-day hashtag they created for May 12th? I for one would really love to see more done.

Good luck to the FIA!

And have a very happy V-day Motorsport Marshals of the World…

#FIAVolunteersDay

May 12

mark your calendars for the future…

Updated Wish List of Events I Want to Marshal in the Near Future

The 2017 Racing season is in full effect now and it looks like it will be a pretty busy one for me… but with the whole NYC Formula E recruitment woes and the anticipated rejections for Macau GP I’ve been reminiscing about a post I made at the end of 2014 called the “Wish List” and all the events I would love to work… So in this post I’d like to take a look back and totally Trump-style pat myself on the back for all my accomplishments and failures.

Read about my 2014 Marshaling Wish List click here.

The Accomplishments:

Spa 24h at Spa-Francorchamps… Big mission accomplished with this event… for two years in a row actually! The track and the race are some of my favorite events ever… in the world. Period!

 Malaysian Merdeka… or perhaps the renamed Sepang 12h race at SIC: Sepang International Circuit. Mission accomplished on that one… almost by chance, because I worked two events in the Middle East but it was too expensive to stay there, so I flew to Southeast Asia to work an awesome 12h race… and then I came back to do it again in 2015 while on a trip to Bangkok for a wedding, which was amazing… highly recommend that event. Especially since it’s affiliated with Blancpain Series and SRO as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

 Oak Tree Grand Prix is a massive accomplishment which was totally unexpected… Why? Because on the previous Wish List post I suggested this was a “no thanks!” event since they don’t want volunteers for their paid events. Well, an opportunity came up last year not to flag, but to work as pit fire. I jumped on it and had a time of my life. I loved it so much I returned this year for the PWC race to work with VIR fire rescue and this time I was the “hooker” riding around on a truck and hooking crashed cars to the tow truck. It was soooooo amazing! Would highly recommend this.

 DTM! My plan was to work Deutsche Touring Cars in Deutschland… but I got the next best thing working DTM at the Zandvoort Circuit in the Netherlands super close to the beach and just an hour outside of Amsterdam which turned out to be an amazing opportunity and event overall. Mission accomplished for the series, but also added 15th country to my list of places to volunteer. Still would love to do another German track besides the Nurburgring, or better yet schedule two consecutive events involving the Nordschleife and something else. Will see…

The Failures:

 Dubai 24h race in the UAE…. I signed up and then didn’t go. And that’s a horrible, horrible thing to do! I hate when people cancel on events they register for. But I did, and it was bad. But I’d like to fix this in the future and participate in the awesome Dubai 24 hour event in the future, perhaps?

 Pokka 1000 didn’t happen for me. I even enlisted help of a famous Ukrainian race car driver who was huge in Japan, Igor Sushko… whom put me in touch with the head of marshals at the Suzuka Circuit and I was rejected. Maybe expected. Maybe not. I heard people talking about working there who weren’t Japanese, but to me it was suggested that the track requirements forbid it. Sad! Igor suggested bigger events than Japanese Super GT… for example Formula 1 or MotoGP would be easier to sign up for. But I truly really want to work a Super GT race in it’s current format.

So my 2017 Updated Wish List of places to marshal in the future is:

A Must:

I want to do this event soooo bad! The Macau Grand Prix is still #1 on my list… Will it ever happen? Maybe…

 So this is an interesting one… I wanted to work Super GT at Buriram or wherever it was run in Thailand but that seemed like a one time deal. Now the Asian Le Mans series runs in Thailand and even though the country is super welcoming to tourists it is not necessarily as friendly towards “workers” or “volunteers” for Motorsport. Despite my numerous trips there, I have failed to establish a Marshaling connection to volunteer in this country, and I would really really like to!

 MotoGP at Losail International Circuit is really growing on me. But I haven’t made it happen yet. I must do it one day!

 DTM at the Red Bull Ring. I established a contact there and was told they would welcome foreign marshals. But it hasn’t happened yet. One day though… it’s a must!

 Supercars on the streets of Gold Coast. My last wish list included V8’s around Mount Panorama, the Bathurst 1000 but I think the same cars on the streets of Gold Coast would be a million times better for another visit back to the land down under.

Would be Nice:

 Brasil and South America sort of dropped a peg from my previous Wish List. Why? Not quite sure but I certainly wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to work there except I still refuse to pay the outrageous reciprocal fee they charge to get a visa for most of the Latin American countries. So Sao Paolo is on ice. But maybe one day?

 Much like Latin America not much is really happening in South Africa. I really really really want to go there. I think it would be a fantastic opportunity but nothing has jumped out at me to sign up and go just yet. It’s on the list, but it’s more of a long term plan than something that will happen imminently.

 WTCC goes to Marrakech, Morocco. I’ve been to Marrakech before and it was an amazing experience. Flew there on Ryanair and almost didn’t leave because the Spanish Air Traffic Controllers went on strike potentially leaving us stranded in North Africa. It was a great experience and cars racing on the streets of the beautiful city would be quite a site to see. So if South Africa doesn’t happen to me in the near future, maybe Morocco could be more doable? Who knows… but I wouldn’t mind.

 Screw Quebec… Always giving me shit at the border to go to Montreal for F1 and all that jazz at the track about taking pictures, but I would really love to check out two tracks one of them in QC… Trois-Rivières! The other Calabogie, in nearby Ontario. The first track is Northeast from Montreal and holds some cool events I wouldn’t mind marshaling. The other is several hours north of Canadian Tire Motorsports Park which I love to visit and it too holds interesting events. I would love to add them to my list!

Meh! Sure, why not?

 Something in Mexico City… Formula 1 or WEC? I thought Mexico would be easy to marshal. It hasn’t been. The people I reached out to in order to sign up for Formula 1 event when it came back to Mexico didn’t help me one bit which really sucked because they sure talked a lot of shit when we worked together in Canada or Long Beach… but perhaps it would happen in the future. I would love to add Mexico to the list of countries I marshaled.

 Baku F1 was going to be one of those super practical events because American Airlines treat Azerbaijan as Europe (so does F1 calling it GP of Europe) which means award flights only use a ridiculously low amount of points, half in fact what they charge for Bahrain which is really nearby. But I never got invited here, even though there seems to be a ton of traffic coming to my blog from that area and since there’s such a close relationship with Bahraini marshals. Surprised it didn’t happen yet, but maybe it will in the future?

 Despite working with a whole ton of Czech marshals from Le Mans to Spa-Francorchamps I have never heard… “hey, come join us at Brno!” Weird how that happens. But their track looks fantastic, Moto events there seem amazing. Maybe one day?

 The problem with Sentul International Circuit in Indonesia is that nothing seems to happen there. I almost booked a flight once to correspond to the Asian Le Mans Series round at Sentul hoping I could volunteer there but the round got moved to Sepang in Malaysia instead. I would love to add Sentul to my list. I’ve been to Indonesia a bunch of times, Bali, Jakarta, Batam (by boat from Singapore)… and it’s a beautiful country. It would be so cool to work an event there. Maybe MotoGP would come back? I know it would be super appropriate there, everyone uses Motorcycles and Scooters.

 

What else? Am I missing places I should add to my Wish List? Some I have consciously bumped off like Monaco, because why bother? But I’m sure there’s something I’m overlooking. Like Isle of Man… or?

Mazda Badge Engineering or… Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM)

Leaving the restaurant after celebrating my dad’s birthday my sister noticed a new Fiat 124 Spider in the parking lot and commented: “Hey, that’s a nice Miata!”

Funny that…

I explained the concept of Fiata to her and thought it would be an excellent topic to research and share in this blog. I like Mazda’s. I like their badge engineering efforts with other major companies. And having lived in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia I’ve been exposed to some of their other popular OEM agreements with Ford primarily, but also Suzuki, Nissan and most currently Toyota.

So here’s my attempt at explaining some of the “shared” platforms between Mazda and others.


Mazda & Fiat

Mazda Roadster / Mazda MX-5 – Fiat 124 Spider / Abarth 124 Spider

This is my favorite tie up because obviously the MX-5 started my relationship with Mazda and at some point I would love to buy a Fiat just for variety’s sake.


Mazda & Ford

Mazda BT-50 – Mazda B-series – Ford Ranger

Mazda Tribute – Ford Escape

I almost bought a Ford Escape once to replace our family’s aging Ford Explorer. Tribute would have been an option before I decided to focus my search on CX-7 & CX-5

Ford owned a big chunk of Mazda so there were lots of badge engineered vehicles. They go so far back I can’t even find pretty pictures to display here, so I’ll just list them all:

  • Ford Escape – Mazda Tribute
  • Ford Explorer – Mazda Navajo
  • Ford Courier – Mazda B-series
  • Ford Ranger – Mazda BT-50
  • Ford Probe – Mazda MX-6
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Soho (Africa)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 121 (Europe)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 2
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Demio
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda 5
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford Ixion – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford MAV – Mazda Premacy

 

Mazda Demio – Mazda2 – Ford Fiesta

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford Ixion – Ford MAV

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford i-MAX

It’s worth noting that Mazda uses different model names based on the market. Therefore a Demio is also Mazda2 which replaced Mazda 121 of the past.


Mazda & Toyota

Mazda Demio – Mazda2  – Scion iA – Toyota Yaris iA

This is the most recent relationship with the world’s largest car manufacturer which started off as a Scion brand that Toyota decided to fold into the parent company and now it’s the Yaris replacement. An odd scenario considering how many Yaris & Echo’s Toyota sold on it’s own over the past many years of making the little cars. Why outsource this production to Mazda now?


Mazda & Suzuki

Mazda AZ-1 / Autozam AZ-1 / Suzuki Cara

The Suzuki – Mazda relationship stretches back many generations. Including their famous AZ-1 / Cara project which was marketed under Mazda’s Autozam nameplate. Besides Autozam Mazda also launched Eunos which was originally one to market the Roadster in Japan known as MX-5 Miata everywhere else. Amati and efini brands which were meant to be the luxury divisions of Mazda much like Lexus was to Toyota, Acura to Honda or Infiniti to Nissan. Ford had it’s Lincoln brand and Cadillac did the trick for GM long before.

The list of Mazda – Suzuki mini-micro kei car collaborations:

  • Suzuki Every Wagon – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki  Carry – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki Wagon R – Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon
  • Suzuki Kei – Mazda Laputa
  • Suzuki Alto – Mazda Carol
  • Suzuki Lapin – Mazda Spiano
  • Suzuki Jimmy – Mazda AZ Offroad
  • Suzuki Vitara – Mazda Proceed Levante
  • Suzuki Ertiga – Proton Ertiga – Mazda VX-1

 

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Every Wagon

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Carry

Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon – Suzuki Wagon R

Mazda Laputa – Suzuki Kei 

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda AZ Offroad – Suzuki Jimmy

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda VX-1 ~ Suzuki Ertiga ~ Proton Ertiga

I could be wrong but it seems to me that Mazda rebadged every Suzuki made on the Japanese market. Which is interesting…


Mazda & Nissan

 Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Nissan Lafesta Highway STAR

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette Truck

Mazda Familia Van – Nissan AD Expert

The Mazda Nissan relationship seems very interesting in that Mazda builds the Lafesta minivan for Nissan, along with the commercial Bongo rebadged to Nissan’s Vanette models. But Nissan provides the rebadged AD Expert marketed by Mazda as a Familia Van… Mazda’s Familia in Japan is marketed as Mazda 323, Mazda Protegé and more recently Mazda3 or Mazda Axela and none of the Mazda models look anything like the Nissan version… but, whatever works!


Mazda & Kia

Mazda Sentia – Kia Enterprise

This luxobarge was a rebadged Mazda for the Korean market before Kia/Huyndai started getting all fancy with their own big car designs.

Besides this product there was also Kia Pride which was a rebadged Ford Festiva just like Mazda 121 and Mazda Soho.


Mazda & Holden

This is going way back but Mazda used to sell Australian Holden’s in Japan as Mazda Roadpacer – rebadged from Holden Premier. Apparently Holden shipped the whole car minus an engine where Mazda shoved a rotary under the hood and put it on the market. It was not terribly successful.

 


Mazda & Isuzu

The next Mazda pick-up truck will be a rebadged Isuzu. Currently Isuzu and GM have a partnership where Isuzu’s rebadged D-Max trucks sell as Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.

 

I will update this page as I find more Mazda collaborations out there.

Electric GT Championship New Series Racing Spec Racer Tesla Model S P85+

Pretty exciting news from Ibiza today! A brand new “zero emissions” series is to hit European circuits next year with a spec racer Tesla Model S P85+ as a platform vehicle with 10 teams and 20 drivers competing on a half dozen of major European circuits.

I think that’s cool!

electric-gt-series-3

The circuits in the promo video are world-class and frankly lucky to host something new and exciting like this… all the press releases I’ve read seem to piggyback this idea on the already somewhat successful Formula E “formula” which is great… maybe these e-GT racers can act as a support event for the ePrix events in the future.

I for one would be looking forward to that!

electric-gt-series-2

It would especially be interesting to see how the marshals approach the event from a safety perspective.

On the press page of the series there is some insight into how the Teslas are modified for racing, by altering the roof line:  http://www.electricgt.co/press/ I wonder what sort of protection there is from the batteries in case of a high speed crash or fire.

Here’s the promo video:

 

And here’s an interview with the series CEO Mark Gemmell: https://evannex.com/blogs/news/113207301-exclusive-interview-electric-gt-world-series-ceo-discusses-tesla-elon-musk-and-ev-racing-news-from-the-frunk-ep-59

Europe is probably ideal for the launch of this series seeing how they embrace the Tesla Model S in everyday use (just check out the taxi stand at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, most taxis are Teslas) so I’m wishing them great success. And it’s definitely something I’d like to participate in as a marshal one day.

Mazda MX-5: Euro Trip Awesome Miata Meet-Ups: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Köln, Germany; Liège, Belgium; and Paris France

European MX-5 Miata Road Trip Overview:

f-netherlandsPost Card from the Dutch MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-netherlandsAmsterdam to IJmuiden Miata Road Trip

f-germanyPost Card from the German MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-germanyCologne to Dusseldorf Miata Road Trip

f-germanyNordschleife, Nurburgring Miata Road Trip 

f-belgiumPost Card from the Belgian MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-belgiumLiege MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-francePost Card from the French MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-franceParis by Night Miata Road Trip


 

What an incredibly fantastic Mazda MX-5 Miata Euro Trip I had over the past month visiting a few countries and meeting owners in almost every city I went to. I can’t rave and rant enough about it. Incredible experience that I would highly recommend to anyone!

This post will highlight a few post cards I shared from the road and will be followed by a more detailed write up after I return from NASCAR at Watkins Glen this weekend.

Enjoy the pix!

Amsterdam & IJmuiden, Netherlands

dutch mx-5 road trip 1

Thank you Vincent from The Hague for giving me a tour and an amazing Dutch lunch right by the waterfront!

Köln, Hürth, & Düsseldorf, Germany

german mx5 visit 9

Thank you David and Andre for showing me around Cologne area and for the dinner at Dusseldorf it was amazing. The stop and I.L. Motorsprot was pretty awesome also.

Nürburgring, Germany

nurburgring wec 18

Big thanks to Maggie for finding me at the Nürburgring and giving me my first ride in an NB Miata as we headed to dinner.

Liège, Wallonia, Belgium

belgian mx5 miata 17

Huge thanks to Phil for giving me quite an amazing tour of Liège and Wallonia Province around Belgium. What a great experience.

Paris, France

france mx-5 meetup in paris 5

Huge thanks to Mike in France for organizing an amazing dinner with a dozen of his fellow MX-5 France Club members and for giving me an incredible tour of Paris by night showing all the big sights like the Eifel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triumphe and Notre Dam!

A super trip all around paired with incredible racing at Zandvoort for DTM, the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit for WEC 6 hour and Spa 24 at Spa-Francorchamp. I loved every minute of it!

Friends of MX-5: Europe Where are you?

With just a few days left before my epic Euro Trip, the frustration is setting in. I had high hopes of organizing an MX-5 Mini-Meet-Up in every country I plan to visit on this trip and so far it’s shaping up to be a complete failure. I’ve posted all the invites, I’ve joined the local club forums and so far nothing has been concretely organized. Why?

Mazda has a “Friends of MX-5” marketing campaign for Europe that can be nicely summed up in this promo video:

So the fans are there… plenty of enthusiasts throughout Europe eager to meet up in a group and talk about their favorite roadster. But why am I having such a hard time organizing a small get together especially when things went exceptionally well in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.  I really don’t know what’s going on in Europe.

Second year attempt, and hopefully not a wasted opportunity.

So for anyone reading this and sensing the frustration in my tone, come out and join me on the trip if you can. My plans are as follows:

f-netherlands July 13 & 14: staying in Amsterdam

f-netherlands July 15 to 17: marshaling at Zandvoort for DTM

f-netherlands July 18 to 19:staying in Amsterdam

f-germany July 20 to 21: staying in Cologne

f-germany July 21 to 24: marshaling at Nurburgring for WEC

f-belgium July 25 to 27: staying in Brussels

f-belgium July 27 to 31: marshaling at Spa-Francorchamps for Spa 24h

f-belgium August 1: staying in Brussels

f-france August 2: staying in Paris, meet-up at Auto Passion Cafe

 

While in the Netherlands I’d like to visit an MX-5 tuner located very close to the Zandvoort circuit. And while in Cologne I wish to check out IL Motorsport another famous MX-5 tuner and aftermarket parts manufacturer. If anyone could help me out with these two quests I’d be forever grateful.

My other goal is to get a ride in a NC Miata with suspension work done to it. Suspension upgrades are next on my list of things to do for my personal MX-5 (2007 GT PRHT) and it would be very hepful to experience first hand what different options feel like on a similar car. So for anyone that can help me with a ride along I’d be more than willing to buy lunch or dinner.

Please reach out to me via facebook to organize a meet!

Thank you.

Français MX-5: Les USA à Paris, Auto Passion Café Mardi 02 Aout 2016

Last minute update [August 1st] the folks from AutoPassion cafe are on vacation for a month. So instead our meeting/dinner will be at:

L’Auvergne à Paris
102 Rue Blomet
75015 Paris


“Où un miatiste newyorkais nous indique passer sur Paris début aout et vouloir rencontrer des miatisters parisiens, je vous propose de nous retrouver à l’autopassion café porte d’Orléans!

http://www.autopassioncafe.fr/photos-dambiance

Je vous propose de nous y retrouver mardi 2 aout à 20 heures !”

Miketorcy x1


 

“je note, ce café est vraiment sympa, et la nourriture très bonne. je pense que c’est la meilleure adresse sur Paris pour les passionnés de sportives.”


Dear MX-5 Miata Friends,

If you find yourself in Paris on Tuesday, August 2nd please come and join myself and a few MX-5 Club France owners at Auto Passion Café in the 14th Arrondissement near Porte d’Orléans Metro stop. I’m hopeful that the French MX-5 owners actually bring their cars but I’m excited for their enthusiasm about this idea of meeting a fellow Miata owner from the other side of the Atlantic.

While my other plans to organize a similar event around Amsterdam, Brussels and Nurburg haven’t gained much traction, the Parisians seem excited, and I’m really happy to see that!

I can’t wait to go there and share some delicious food in the ambiance of a Motorsport cafe… It ought to be a blast!

MX-5 Club France is an active forum in France and french speaking world (including Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland) MX-5 owners that maintain a very flashy web site complete with regularly scheduled events around the country and throughout Europe.

mx5 france club summer meeting august 2 at auto passion paris

I sent them an e-mail to encourage the club officers to help organize a little get together and they invited me to join the forums (something that I would normally get in trouble for by promoting myself, my event or my web site). But the response has been surprising, and very promising!

mx-5 france club summer meeting august 2 at auto passion paris

I hope the event does materialize and also encourages other Europeans in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to join me as well… it would be so awesome!

auto passion cafe paris porte d'orleans mazda mx-5 miata meet august 2

Auto Passion Cafe is a Motorsport themed restaurant near the center of Paris that caters to motor heads… which we clearly are. I’m so excited about the opportunity to check it out and share a meal with some French / Parisian MX-5 owners this August.

Please consider coming out and joining us!

MX-5 France forum: www.mx5france.com/

Auto Passion Cafe web site: www.autopassioncafe.fr/

197 Boulevard Brune, 75014 Paris, France

+33 1 45 43 20 20

Stay tuned for updates!

(Header photo credit: club.autoplus.fr Merci!)

Feature on 100×100 Racing Spanish (not just language, but actually based in Spain) Motorsport Portal

While I was away flagging Long Beach Grand Prix in California a Spanish language article popped up on the internet featuring my exploits around the world along with a translated version of the interview by my buddy Julio Castrejón who runs the Motorsport portal 100×100 Racing. Things got fairly busy and I almost forgot to share the news of this article on my blog, but here it is. I’m very much thrilled and excited to see the article! I am very fortunate to have Julio as a friend and a colleague, particularly one I look up to having worked with him for several 24h of Le Mans races. I’m humbled to get the recognition but at the same time very proud to support the idea of marshal interviews to encourage Motorsport enthusiasts around the world to take the next step and become Motorsport volunteers and try their hand at Motorsport marshaling!

Check out the article here:  http://www.100x100racing.com/archivos/1889

100x100racing

web site: http://www.100x100racing.com/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/100x100Racing/

twitter: https://twitter.com/100x100Racing

 

IF the name Julio Castrejón sounds familiar, it should be, he’s contributed to this blog with a bunch of articles in both English and Spanish a few years ago. He was also a very devoted supporter of my MarshalCam.com #MarshalCam project with several videos that we shot together at Le Mans 24 hours in France (both in English and Spanish). Julio is also fluent in French (and probably a bunch of other languages). He’s been a very involved figure in European Motorsports with marshaling being just a small part of his duties. He’s quite an impressive person and I’m incredibly jealous of him, especially his latest job working the Dakar Rally in Latin America.

Go check out the article and be sure to follow 100×100 Racing on all of their social media pages.

Gracias Julio!