Tag Archives: lrr

Global MX-5 Cup Car Rollover Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Video

I don’t usually post about incidents… for one because we’re not allowed to. Especially not to take any pictures. OR share stories on social media about how something happened. But I think this is an important post about what happened because the video is available online and anyone watching it can clearly see exactly what happened so I’d like to share a few comments and concerns that I have as a private citizen, taking my flag marshal hat off.

First I have to give praise to Long Road Racing for building a car that was able to handle such an incident and allowing the driver to walk away unscathed. The roll cage did it’s job and that’s what matters.

Second, I have to say that accidents like this will continue to happen. There’s no way to prevent rollovers or crashes for that matter in general. As long as there is racing, accidents and incidents will happen. What’s concerning though is that this rollover was the second one to happen under the IndyCar series as a sanctioning body of the series, the other video can be seen here:

…and it doesn’t seem that a solution has been created to allow the drivers to get out of the car unassisted.

I thought it was a requirement of most closed wheel (and probably open wheel) racing that a driver must be able to exit their vehicle unassisted in a certain period of time. (fast!) I understand that there are driver’s racing in various series, including in Miatas that may have physical limits (disabilities) but they too must be able to escape the vehicle if a need arises quickly.

That’s not what happened here, for the second time now in IndyCar Global MX-5 Cup series a driver was trapped. And I’m worried about that because that really shouldn’t happen.

I don’t have a solution for this problem.

But I hope and wish one becomes a reality in the near future.

The scariest part about this incident wasn’t so much the rollover. This was my second rollover of the season that came directly at me. The other wasn’t at Barber, even though I worked that race… I was too far to even see it from another station. But I had a twofer in Canada where a similar small car, the Nissan Micra Cup had two cars tumble towards me, spraying the three of us working the station with debris and dirt, and broken glass. One car hung up on the edge of the tire wall to the point that I had to balance it until a flat bed tow truck showed up and propped it up so the driver could get out with the help of medics. Long story short, the rollovers didn’t scare me at all. But I was ridiculously concerned for the driver. I could see the guy moving in the car… but I couldn’t see him getting out on his own. That’s really scary!

 

PS. here’s Micra Cup video from Mosport, Canada earlier this year:

2017 MX-5 Cup Cars Already Being Built at Long Road Racing in North Carolina

Huge props to the Long Road Racing social media team… I checked in with a silly comment on facebook: “drive-by wave to the best MX-5 shop on the East Coast” or some such statement, and someone replied: “Come Visit!”

So visit I did… I was making good progress on my Florida Road Trip, with about 20 minutes to kill before the restaurant opened – my designated foodie pit stop before continuing on to Jacksonville. And what better excuse to kill time than checking out some MX-5 race cars being built…? the actual process of it!

Some may remember my earlier visit to Long Road Racing in March while returning from another Florida Road Trip where I volunteered at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix and Sebring 12 hours. It was a neat tour then… but this was a great follow up. Considering the racing season just wrapped up at Road Atlanta with MX-5 Cup playing a support role to Petit Le Mans, there were plenty of banged up MX-5 cup cars being re-built… some with body panel damage others with blown engines, where new ones were being put in. And then there were the shiny new 2017 models being ready to go through the configuration process, roll cage install, suspension and braking components upgraded, etc.

I had such a fun time being a tourist. And I wasn’t the only one… apparently some journalist from Racer magazine was getting a private tour also, look for an upcoming write up about the Long Road Racing prepped street-version of the Cup car to hit the streets soon… This time around I took a ton of pix:

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Oh and it’s worth mentioning that Long Road has plenty of OEM new take offs from all the standard cars before they’re configured. You can buy wheels/tires combos… complete seats, or even Long Road Racing designed office chairs that utilize the stock ND Miata seat. There’s a whole pile of brand new air bags for sale. Soft tops… exhaust systems. And I’m sure plenty more. So if anyone is looking for some brand new stock take-off parts, I’d give Long Road Racing a shout. I’d be the first to say that facebook gets a real quick response.

I’m looking forward to flagging some MX-5 Cup races next season, they are sure a lot of fun especially with the huge fields!

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PS. Thanks for the freebie Long Road Racing t-shirt… I already have a ton of Mazda swag, but it’s my first MX-5 Cup factory souvenir, I’ll wear it proudly!

Post Card from Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway

I’m not sure if there’s an event in the US I wanted to do more than the IMSA race at VIR… now I’ve gone and done it!

And I’m really proud of the opportunity I had to participate in this amazing event at a really fantastic facility. I went from being treated like a reject to feeling like a VIP with the snap of the fingers. And I loved every minute of my experience there, including the full paddock access upon my arrival on Thursday, where I took a million pix of the various spec racers as well as the feature event machines.

Enjoy!

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And of course lots of Miata stuff!

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This was a weekend full of spec racers, from the Global MX-5 Cup to the Porsche GT3 Cup USA to Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

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more to follow…

Mazda MX-5 Cup Car in SCCA Club Racing

One of the cars that caught my eye early on upon arriving at Palmer Motorsports Park was a brand spanking new Mazda MX-5 Cup Car from Long Road Racing (the place I got to visit in North Carolina on my road trip back home from Florida in March).

While I knew the cars were sold as a package to anyone willing to shell out $55k (+/-). I didn’t quite comprehend the possibility of someone getting one to flog it in SCCA Club Racing… in a field of mostly NA and NB gen Miatas… Who’d do that?

Gregory Pecora apparently would. I didn’t get a chance to meet him until the end of the race day while walking back to race control from Turn 1 where I was stationed, and he was conveniently set up in the paddock directly in front of my point so I can see the car all day. But why let facts get in a way of a good story, the whole weekend I was speculating what was going on with that vehicle… you see most of the day Friday, during practice and the first race or two, Gregory was pretty consistent slotting himself between two NA Miatas somewhere in the middle of the pack. I was confused. Shouldn’t the ND be faster than the NA’s? Is he running some sort of a restrictor or a handicap to balance the performance of the vehicle?

On race day Saturday the speculation got worse! Gregory came out on the formation lap while the track was mostly wet. Made it as far as Jessie’s station at Turn 5 pulled over and let the field by him starting the race if not dead last pretty close to it. Then he spun it at Turn 4 on the first green flag lap where I had perfect vision of the incident watching from Turn 1. He pitted and retired from the race. For the second race he circulated around for formation, started the race and retired after first lap again… What the hell was going on?

Things improved quite a lot later in the day when the rain stopped. Gregory started form the back of the field and relatively quickly moved up a number of positions. It was exciting to watch! The leader of the race in car #37 / Flatout Motorsports NB MX-5 Miata, had been dominating all weekend as the driver “double-dipped” and raced in almost every race group (except for open wheeler’s and SRF’s), finished first at least four or five times during the day, in the race with the ND, the #37 car managed to lap him before taking a checkered flag, but then I look across in the paddock and the folks in Gregory’s entourage are happily displaying the little checkered flag winners get for taking the top step on the podium in their class. Had he won that race? Apparently so… I was confused!

I will be first to admit I have no idea how the SCCA Club Racing classes work, even in a group of identical Miatas most cars have several classes stickered on them typically with lines through the ones they don’t want to represent in a particular race. But I thought both #121 ND and the #37 NB that lapped it for an overall win were both in STU… maybe there were sub classes in the same group? Not sure… but it was nice to see the ND win.

I went over to the paddock to ask Gregory for permission to take some shots of his car and he explained to me the reason for early retirements in the morning were because he did not have rain tires for the car…. D’oh!!!  Of course that’d make perfect sense… and it would explain why he suddenly picked up speed on slicks in the dry! He also said he set the lap record first time out in his class, that’s pretty impressive also! I congratulated him and snapped a few shots:

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Gregory reminded me to give a shout out to Long Road Racing when sharing these pix. He was very appreciative of the outfit saying that he had spoken with them earlier in the day as they were providing technical advice to him for the race. How cool?! So for all you up and coming racers, the choice to get started… go out and buy yourself a jalopy that you can painstakingly convert from street car into a race car or go to LRR and for a fixed amount get a brand spanking new MX-5 Cup Car that comes with all the racing and safety equipment standard, along with tech advice on race day via your phone or internet connection.

In my naive view, it was the best looking car of all the Miatas on track this weekend. Very happy to see one racing on the Club level.

Post card from Palmer Motorsports Park: Whiskey Hill Raceway

Another last minute road trip to New England to help Jessie staff the NER SCCA club racing season opener at Palmer Motorsports Park: Whiskey Hill Raceway. And it turned out absolutely fantastic!

Palmer Motorsports Park is my #41st track to marshal. I was excited to check it out. It’s a brand new facility that only opened last year and still has that brand new track smell to it. Lots of areas are still a work in progress, but what is finished looks very impressive. It’s pretty fascinating how much rock… nay, boulders there are here. It reminded me of Pikes Peak… except instead of going up into the heavens forever, the track climbs up and then swoops down in a series of zig zag zoom zoom turns… which I was lucky enough to experience for myself at the end of day Friday when they let workers drive the track… at speed… in pouring rain. It was a Wicked Pissah! of an experience, I loved it sooooo much!

I’ll write a longer debrief later, but for now enjoy some pix:

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Pretty low key entrance… but the boulder lined driveway into the facility gives you a preview of what to expect at the track itself.

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Worker transport was very useful not just while getting flaggers to stations during the work day, but also at the end of day when we took it for a spin in town of Ware to celebrate Cinco de Mayo…

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Back to the track… the 2D layout doesn’t do the 3D track justice!

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NER SCCA region folks are a tight knit community of down to earth, hard working, racing enthusiasts! Racers and Flagers alike…

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My favorite toy of the weekend was the MX-5 Cup Car from LRR, but I’ll write more about it in a separate post.

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I was lucky enough to score some Mazdaspeed swag on this trip.

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As well as some worker “TIPS” the Track Incentive Plan which is $8 per slip of which you get a few during a race weekend. Three of these plus a $1 bill were redeemed for a $25 Shell Gas Card which almost paid for my fuel bill on this trip!

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First day I got to enjoy the views working Turn 3.

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It was a great Blue Flag station.

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The first day ended with a tasty warm meal.

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And of course I got to haul ass around the wet track, for 2 laps.

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While there was a little bit of variety, I was thrilled to see the majority of race cars at the track were Mazda MX-5 Miatas… and #37 in particular mopped the floors with all of it’s competitors as the car raced in multiple classes… it won against other Miatas, it also won against a mixed field of similar cars… and it won against a field of GT’s on a wet circuit, none of them could put the power down.

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I had an absolute blast! And I’d love to return to this facility when the surrounding forest/trees are covered in luscious green leaves. Although baren trees certainly contributed to better visibility, especially when I worked Turn 1. I will be back here for sure!

Global MX-5 Cup Assembly Shop Tour at Long Road Racing in Statesville, NC

As if my three week Spring Break Road Trip to marshal St. Pete GP and Sebring 12h couldn’t get any better, it totally did. The very last stop, albeit unscheduled, on the trip home I got to visit Long Road Racing the official assembly plant for Global MX-5 Cup cars. Yep!

It almost happened by accident. My marshal buddy Ben from South Carolina invited me to crash for the night on my drive home which I really appreciated and as we were BS’ing after dinner about MX-5’s and my Miata he suggested I visit the LRR shop. I knew nothing about it… always assuming that the Global MX-5 Cup race cars were probably built to spec in Japan and shipped around the world just like their road cars, but I would be wrong. The road cars are shipped, sort of body in white trim to North Carolina, where LRR strips them down and preps each car, hand-build mind you, to spec to be shipped around the country and the world for use in each country’s specific MX-5 Cup series.

The drive to Long Road Racing was about 3 hours from Florence, SC located at the intersection of Interstates 77 and 40 (I drove right past them on the way down to Florida being completely oblivious to the magic going on there). And was a very appropriate pit stop before the 9 hour drive from Statesville, NC back to New Jersey.

One of the LRR employees who was extremely welcoming gave me a private tour of the facility. Showing each step of the assembly process from teardown to build up, fabrication station, paint shop, etc. in a very exciting fashion. And even allowed me to take some shots of the finished cars before leaving. (*you can see a ton more pictures of the actual build and various fab components on Tom Long’s personal blog… as in Tom Long of Long Road Racing fame: https://longroadracing.wordpress.com/) But I love the fact I was able to take some actual pix besides all the mental pictures I took during the tour:

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What an impressive facility and operation, I wish I could find a job with a place like this as it would totally complete my motorsport hobby…. ironically, Tom Long the owner of LRR was racing at Sebring this weekend, behind the wheel o the Mazda LMP2 car. I possibly even saw him without really knowing who he is.

While researching the trip after Ben brought it up I noticed that LRR was actually hiring people. So half jokingly I asked about it during my tour but being there in camo shorts and flip flops with three week old beard, I don’t think anyone would take me seriously. Not that I really have the skills they are probably looking for and for most marketing and business related jobs I’m actually interested in I’m sure the best candidates are chicks with long hair and big tits. But nonetheless it would be a killer opportunity to try and land something in the future… I certainly have the global experience to be useful 🙂

In the meantime, my enthusiastic tour guide said the shop is open to visitors and looking thru facebook I’ve seen whole MX-5 club get together’s at the facility, so if you’re driving by on I77 and I40 through North Carolina give LRR a visit, you’ll definitely enjoy the views inside the shop. It’s like a candy store in there. And at just $53,000 a pop, you can leave with your very own MX-5 Cup Car from Mazda Motorsports, Assembled right here in the US of A!

More info:

www.mazdamotorsports.com 

www.longroadracing.com

longroadracing.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/longroadracing

2668 Peachtree Rd, Statesville, NC 28625 (980) 223-8547