Hype News: Mazda’s “Drive For Good” Program Donates 2016 MX-5 Launch Edition To St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Posted on 07.10.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

2016MazdaMX-5Roadster_auction_small

One of my favorite things is when this car hobby that we’re all a part of does something good and makes the world better for people despite if they share our interests or not. I am happy to report that Mazda and their “Drive For Good” program has donated a 2016 Mazda MX-5 “launch edition” to St Jude Children’s Hospital so that they can raise funds by auctioning off the car this weekend (Saturday July 11th). If you wanted to get your hands on the very limited (only 1,000 examples were made) launch edition MX-5’s but couldn’t get on the list then this is your chance.

The live auction will take place at the St Jude “Hope In The Hamptons” event however you do not have to be there to bid. If you want a shot at this MX-5 you can bid online live via Proxbid. The auction starts on Saturday, July 11th at 8:30pm eastern time. For more info check out the auction link and official press release below. Happy bidding!

[Auction link: www.proxibid.com/stjude]

Press Release:

Mazda Drive for Good Donates MX-5 Launch Edition to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

Mazda North American Operations, through its Mazda Drive for Good program, donated a 2016 MX-5 Miata Launch Edition, one of only 1,000 made for the U.S. market, to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® to be auctioned at its inaugural Hope for the Hamptons event on July 11, 2015. The all-new MX-5 Launch Edition will be available for Proxibid online auction benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as part of St. Jude Hope in the Hamptons. Prebidding for this car is available until July 11 at 8:30pm Eastern. Or, bid live online on Proxibid during the auction, beginning Saturday, July 11 at approximately, 8:30 pm Eastern. www.proxibid.com/stjude

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hype Video: Watch A Rotary-Swapped Mazda MX-5 In The Midst Of Track Battle

Posted on 06.23.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

FEED_Rotary_Mazda_MX-5

Sometimes people imagine things that make perfect sense and yet do not actually exist in any official capacity.  Why isn’t there a telephone booth that doubles as a time machine?  Why isn’t there a high-tech suit of armor that allows the wearer to fly and fight evil along side other super heroes?  Why hasn’t Mazda actually built an MX-5 roaster with a rotary engine?  While not always the case, sometimes imagination and ingenuity can provide tangible solutions to those questions.  Surely if necessity is the mother of invention then imagination must be its father, yes?

Anyhow the point I’m getting to is that sometimes if someone else doesn’t make the thing you want, then you can make it yourself.  That is exactly what Japanese tuner FEED did with the Mazda MX-5.  Considered by many to be a near perfect car when it comes to power and balance, some felt that it was missing one essential ingredient to actually make it so: a rotary engine.  For some mysterious reason Mazda never saw it fit to equip their peppy roadster with their tri-point engine.  Thus, FEED did it themselves and with quite successful results.  In the video below, Japanese drifting legend and accomplished circuit racer Nobuteru “N.O.B.” Taniguchi pilots the FEED Rotary MX-5 in an all Roadster battle.  The video is just a taste but its a tasty taste.  While just an excerpt from Hot Version Vol 127, the full video can be digitally rented or purchased.  In the meantime, I suggest checking out the preview!

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hype: A Quick Look Inside Mazda USA’s Unofficial Museum

Posted on 04.27.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

MazdaUSA_Museum_Small

A short while ago a group of journalists (including myself) were invited to Mazda USA’s R&D headquarters in sunny industrial Irvine California get a look into their Mazdaspeed motorsports ladder and preview their upcoming season.  We even got to meet a few of their young gun drivers but you’ll get more on that in a later post.  What this post is about is what happened after the presentation.  Once the presentation was over the group was taken into what the staff at Mazda R&D refers to as “The Basement”.  Technically, its more of an underground parking garage but semantics aside, “The Basement” is pretty special.  Why?  Because it is the area in which several historically significant Mazda race cars, production cars, and concept cars are kept.   Want to see a 4-Rotor Le Mans race car?  There are two of them in the basement.  How about a super rare Miata coupe? Not hard top but a true coupe.  Yes, Virginia, it does exist.  There were also vintage race cars, and other show room stock rare production cars like the short lived all wheel drive turbo-charged 323 GTX hatchback.

MazdaUSA_Museum_1 MazdaUSA_Museum_2 MazdaUSA_Museum_3 MazdaUSA_Museum_4 MazdaUSA_Museum_24

This place is a candy store for any Mazda enthusiast and the best part is they let me take pictures!  Well, I couldn’t take pictures of everything I saw down there but I shot as much as they’d let me get away with.  Just click on any of the thumbnails in this post to see a few cool pieces of Mazda history.

MazdaUSA_Museum_7 MazdaUSA_Museum_8 MazdaUSA_Museum_10 MazdaUSA_Museum_11 MazdaUSA_Museum_12

MazdaUSA_Museum_15 MazdaUSA_Museum_16 MazdaUSA_Museum_17 MazdaUSA_Museum_18 MazdaUSA_Museum_25

MazdaUSA_Museum_13 MazdaUSA_Museum_14 MazdaUSA_Museum_22 MazdaUSA_Museum_23 MazdaUSA_Museum_27

MazdaUSA_Museum_28

 

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hype: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Roadster Gets A Reasonable Price

Posted on 03.30.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

2016MazdaMX-5Roadster_MSRP_small

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 roadster is easily one of the most anticipated cars in a good long while.  In fact I would argue that gearheads are just as excited for the MX-5 release as they were for the release of hypercars like the McLaren P1, LaFerrari, and Porsche 918.  The difference with the MX-5 is that it will be way more available and much more affordable.  Today Mazda has announced that the new MX-5 will have a starting MSRP of $24,995 for the “entry-level sport trim”.

This puts the ’16 MX-5 in Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ territory.  Obviously, that number will go up if buyers opt for other trims and options but for those who just one the pure MX-5 experience, the price for entry is very enticing.  The true test is if the new MX-5 will live up to the legendary reputation that precedes it.  If it does, then the other test will be if Mazda can keep up with demand.  If you don’t need a review to convince you, then I would highly recommend checking with your local Mazda dealer now to see if you can reserve an MX-5 before they sell out.

Press Release:

IRVINE, Calif., March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today announced that the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will start at $24,9151 in entry-level Sport trim. Mazda has instilled the latest MX-5 with the pure driving experience that has won worldwide fanfare since the arrival of the first-generation MX-5 in 1989 as a 1990 model.

Yet, the fourth-generation MX-5 provides Mazda’s latest safety features and technologies and maintains an inflation-adjusted price close to that of the original roadster. The 2016 MX-5 launches this summer and will be available in Sport, Club and Grand Touring trim levels.

“As we get closer to the MX-5’s summer on-sale date, we’re seeing a surge in interest and excitement from enthusiasts and journalists,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO. “Already, early MX-5 reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and we expect the momentum that MX-5 has garnered to continue to build as drivers get behind the wheel of our fourth-generation sports car.”

Infused with SKYACTIV®2 TECHNOLOGY and KODO—Soul of Motion design, the 2016 MX-5 is smaller, lighter and more aggressive than its predecessor, with the base MX-5 Sport expected to outperform the sportiest previous road-going variants. However, even with its focus on delivering maximum driving enjoyment, the 2016 MX-5 boasts more creature comforts and a more functional interior than the vehicle it replaces.

For the first time, a six-speed manual transmission will come standard as well as LED headlights, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a leather-wrapped shift knob and power door locks.

“The three trim levels available – Sport, Club and Grand Touring – are tailored for three very different types of customers, broadening the MX-5’s appeal,” said Rod McLaughlin, MX-5 vehicle line manager, MNAO. “The Sport model is for those desiring a pure, lightweight, unadulterated wind-in-the-hair driving experience. MX-5 Club is for those seeking a more aggressive appearance and driving experience and Grand Touring models are for loyal MX-5 owners who seek premium amenities and a driving experience that only MX-5 can deliver.”

A full list of pricing information, specifications, options, packages and other information will be available at a later date.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.

1 Starting price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).  MSRP does not include $820 destination charge (Alaska $865), title, taxes, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary.
2 SKYACTIV is a registered trademark of Mazda Motor Corporation (MC).

Tags: · , , , , , , , ,

Hype: Mazda Bringing “Club Edition” 2016 MX-5 To 2015 New York Auto Show

Posted on 03.25.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

2016_Mazda_MX5_Club_preview_small

The base 2016 MX-5 isn’t even in show rooms yet and Mazda is already working on tantalizing variants!  Mazda has officially announced that there will be a “Club Edition” of the 2016 MX-5 and it will make its debut next month at the New York International Auto Show.  The concept of the club edition is relatively new and showed up a few years ago for the current generation MX-5.  The current club edition doesn’t offer much in the way of additional performance but does put together an exterior package that looks pretty sharp.

Mazda hasn’t announced if the Club Edition for the new MX-5 will also be purely aesthetic or add some function as well.  The current Club Edition was created as something of a send off for the current gen MX-5 which would explain why its strictly cosmetic.  However, with the new Club Edition coming at the beginning of the next-gen MX-5’s life cycle, I am hoping that they do more than make it look nicer.  At the very least perhaps Mazda may re-tune the suspension to make it even more nimble than the base MX-5 promises to be.

Either way, I am looking forward to see what they come up with!  Although, if I’m being honest with myself, what I really want to see is the new Mazdaspeed3 that we thought we were going to get at the end of last year.  If there was ever a time to debut the new Mazdaspeed3, it would be just before the summer kicks off.  Though, even if Mazda doesn’t reveal the new ‘speed3 at New York, there is still the possibility it could debut at the LA Auto Show this year, which would actually work out better on a personal level.  But hey, if Mazda is ready to pull the trigger I’d rather it be sooner than later.

Anyhow, I digress.  I am very curious as to how they will handle the new Club Edition.  As soon as I get more news about it I will share all the juicy details.  So stay tuned!

Press Release:

IRVINE, Calif., March 25, 2015 : Ready to join the Club? The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club edition, that is.

Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) will be introducing the North American-spec MX-5 Club next week at the New York International Auto Show. The MX-5 Club represents the most aggressive road-going iteration of Mazda’s fourth-generation flagship roadster.

The 2016 MX-5 sheds approximately 150 lbs. from its predecessor through use of lightweight, efficient SKYACTIV®1 TECHNOLOGY, now weighing 2,332 lbs. when equipped with the standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission (2,381 lbs. with the six-speed automatic). Powering all North American models will be a 2.0-liter SKYACTIV engine, rated at 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque.

Shorter than the first-generation MX-5 that initially graced U.S. shores in 1989, yet wider than the outgoing model and with its engine lower and farther back in its chassis, the 2016 MX-5 is designed to deliver maximum driving enjoyment. The MX-5 Club aims to amplify that experience, harking back to the early lightweight sports cars that inspired it, but serving as a beacon for the future as a thoroughly modern, sophisticated package.

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gaming Hype: Drive The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Early In Forza Horizon 2 On Xbox One. Then Try To Win One…A REAL One!

Posted on 03.12.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Forza_Horizon_2_Mazda_MX5_DLC

Heads up Forza fans.  Next week a free DLC pack consisting of the last 4 generations of Mazda MX-5 roadsters is coming to Forza Horizon 2 and that includes the brand new 2016 MX-5 that has yet to be released.  That’s right, players of Forza Horizon 2 will get a chance to “drive” the new MX-5 before its real life counterpart is available for sale.  If that weren’t cool enough, the DLC pack will also be absolutely free!  But wait there’s more!  It was also announced that when the Mazda MX-5 DLC pack, a new “Mazda MX-5 Challenge” rivals event will launch.  During this event, registered players will compete to set the fastest time in the challenge for a chance to win a real life 2016 Mazda MX-5 Roadster when its released!

Looks like its time for some serious Forza practice!  For more info on the DLC pack, the contest, and to watch the official trailer, scroll down!

Press Release:

Win a 2016 Mazda MX-5 in the Newest Free Car Pack for “Forza Horizon 2” on Xbox One

Mazda fans, if you are eager to see one of the most iconic and eagerly anticipated sports cars of recent years, you’re in luck. Next week, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will make its digital debut First in Forza as part of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Car Pack! The brand new car pack features four iconic Mazda MX-5 models and will be available to download for free on “Forza Horizon 2” for Xbox One on March 17.

The Mazda MX-5 Car Pack features four amazing examples of the MX-5’s legacy of sporty style and thrilling driving. Starting with the car that reignited the world’s love of sports cars in the late 1980s – the 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata – and featuring three other models, including the 2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed MX-5, the 2010 Mazda MX-5 Super20 concept car, and the upcoming 2016 Mazda MX-5, this pack covers more than 20 years of the MX-5’s legendary contributions to sports car history.

In addition to the launch of the free Mazda MX-5 Car Pack, we’ll be kicking off an exciting Rivals contest for “Forza Horizon 2” players on Xbox One. The Rivals contest, which begins on Tuesday, March 17 and ends on Thursday, April 30, will give “Forza Horizon 2” players the opportunity to win a real-life 2016 Mazda MX-5. Once registered*, players can set a time in the “Mazda MX-5 Challenge” Rivals event in “Forza Horizon 2” for Xbox One and while anyone can set a time in this Rivals event, only registered players’ times will be eligible for prizes. For full rules and conditions for this contest, please see http://rules.xboxpromotions.com/mazdatimetrials

The Mazda MX-5 Car Pack will be making its worldwide debut this month at the Mazda booth (#513) at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, TX. In addition to letting fans get their hands on the Mazda cars in “Forza Horizon 2” for the first time via two interactive driving simulators pre-loaded with the Mazda MX-5 Car Pack, Mazda will also announce the winners of its recent Mazda Design Challenge contest on both Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Stay tuned to ForzaMotorsport.net and the Forza Hub app on Xbox One, as well as our Twitter and Facebook pages for more information on the Mazda MX-5 Car Pack.

Here’s a breakdown of all four of the Mazda MX-5 models coming in the Mazda MX-5 Car pack. Plus, watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SCE3yONvOA&feature=youtu.be.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

After 25 years in production, the Miata is still doing things right. So right, in fact, that the driving experience of the latest Miata is nearly identical to the original, and that is a good thing. Sure there is more power – 200 horses vs. 116 in the original Miata – and the new model is a bit heavier, but the intuitive steering, danceable rear end, and impeccable transmission are all still there. It’s no wonder the Mazda Miata is one of the most popular and affordable paths to racing; it’s built for the role. The 2016 Miata combines the best of the modern with what’s made the MX-5 such a reliable favorite for more than two decades – a credit its identity as an instant classic from day one.

1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata

When first introduced, the Miata brought back the memories or the roadsters of the past, particularly the Lotus Elan; small and nimble and full of fun, but now with Mazda reliability thrown in the mix. You could drive this little roadster to work and back all week then spend all weekend working out the kinks of the curviest roads you could find. Sure the Miata was cute, but any driving enthusiast who got behind the seat immediately became a fan. It didn’t take a ton of horsepower to provide excitement, it’s the whole package that make it a nimble joy to drive. These desirable traits are courtesy of precise steering and a supremely shift-able transmission. Thanks to Mazda’s rebirth of the affordable roadster, letting the sun shine in never felt so good.

2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed MX-5

When you have something as tried and true as the roadster formula that makes up the Mazda MX-5, it has been worthwhile to tread lightly with updates. However, add a factory-built turbo to the mix, and things can only get better. And it does, the Mazdaspeed MX-5 sprints to 60 mph in under seven seconds and turbo-lag is nearly non-existent. All around, the Mazdaspeed treatment stiffens the ride and accentuates the stability that the Miata has built a reputation for. MX-5 plus turbo equals fun factor multiplied. It’s a formula for success that any car enthusiast can figure out once you get behind the wheel of this pocket-rocket.

2010 Mazda MX-5 Super20

When the first MX-5 Miata hit dealer showrooms in 1989, it sold like hotcakes and early buyers endured waiting lists and over-sticker pricing for a chance to own the “Mazda-Experiment Project Number Five. The cars official name “Miata” was coined by product planning head Rod Bymaster. It was based on the German translation of “reward” and it’s fitting since the Miata is certainly a rewarding drive. After 20 years of market success, Mazda put together the Super20 to show off at SEMA. The Super20 was shown in 2010 in medium gray and repainted a muted yellow for 2011. Taller tires on Enkei rims, coil-overs, and front and rear anti-roll bars give the Super20 an improved ride and smart stance. The real treat is under the hood, where 200 horsepower are ready to excite, compliments of a Cosworth supercharger, ECU tune, and Racing Beat header and exhaust.

Mazda MX-5 Challenge Rivals Event Details

*To register, users must log into Xbox Live on Xbox One and navigate to any one of the following channels: Games, Music, Movies, or Apps. From there, users should click on the Mazda MX-5 ad to reach the Mazda MX-5 ad landing experience. Once on this hub, users must register to enter the contest by following the prompts on the contest page.

Once registered, players can then set a time in the “Mazda MX-5 Challenge” Rivals event in “Forza Horizon 2” for Xbox One. You can find this event by going to the “Monthly Rivals” item in the pause menu. While anyone can set a time in this Rivals event, only registered players’ times will be eligible for prizes. For full rules and conditions for this contest, please see http://rules.xboxpromotions.com/mazdatimetrials.

###

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hype News: U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Liam Dwyer To Drive Full Time With Mazda MX-5 In Continential Tire SportsCar Challenge

Posted on 01.21.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Liam Dwyer and Tom Long on Lime Rock Podium_small

What does a kick-ass U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant do when he is done with his military career? Join a racing team and start kicking ass there, that’s what!  Liam Dwyer (said kick-ass Staff Sergeant) has been racing for a while but only on a part time basis.  However, in 2015 he will join Freedom Autosport, a team created to honor the men and women serving in the armed forces, to race full time with teammate Andrew Carbonell in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in a Mazda MX-5 race car.

In 2011, Staff Sergeant Dwyer was injured while serving in Afghanistan and as a result became an amputee, losing most of his left leg.  Despite such a severe injury he did not let that stop him from pursing a career in motorsports and in 2014 in just his second professional outing he won (with co-driver Tom Long) the Lime Rock Park Continental Tire ST race on Memorial Day weekend, all while wearing a special prosthetic leg attachment.  Talk about inspirational!

Staff Sergeant Dwyer will have his work cut out for him this year though as he takes on the 10 race Sports Car Challenge season this year starting off later this month at Daytona and finishing in October at Road Atlanta with every race in between held at highly technical, difficult tracks, including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

I wish Staff Sergeant Dwyer luck!  If you want to follow along with him this season you can follow Liam on Twitter at @LiamDwyerRacing

Press Release:

LIAM DWYER ENLISTS WITH MAZDA MOTORSPORTS

Dwyer shifting from active duty with the U.S. Marines to full-time racer

IRVINE, Calif. (January 21, 2015) — Mazda announced the addition of Liam Dwyer as a full-time racer in the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.  Dwyer stunned the racing world in 2014 when he teamed up with Tom Long to co-drive their Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 to the win in the Lime Rock Park Continental Tire ST race on Memorial Day weekend.  The win was a made for Hollywood storyline as Dwyer was competing in only his second professional race, and he was doing it with an artificial leg, having been injured while serving as a U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan just three years previously.

For 2015, Dwyer will be paired up with Andrew Carbonell for the entire ten-race season beginning January 23rd at Daytona International Speedway.  Carbonell scored two wins with Freedom Autosport and Mazda in 2014.

Quotes:

John Doonan, Motorsports Director, Mazda North American Operations:  “While we are all impressed with Liam on so many levels, we have recruited him for the same reason we recruit any driver.  We believe that he can help Mazda win races and the 2015 manufacturers championship.  His personal story is just the icing on the cake and helps us connect with a bigger story.”

Liam Dwyer:  “I am very excited for the 2015 season. I thought things couldn’t get better after last season, but Mazda has once again shown how immensely awesome they are. To be granted a full ride in the Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 is the ultimate dream come true. And on top of that, I have one of the fastest MX-5 drivers, Andrew Carbonell, as my co-driver. I can’t thank Derek Whitis, Rhett O’Doski and everyone at Mazda enough for this opportunity.”

Andrew Carbonell:   “I am excited to be confirmed with Mazda and Freedom Autosport for the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire Challenge season. I am also proud to be co-driving with one of the most incredible racing stories recently; Marine Staff Sergeant Liam Dwyer. I have had the honor of getting to know Liam through the select races he drove with Freedom Autosport in 2014. To watch the inspiration and motivation from Liam from afar makes one understand the sacrifices one makes to follow their dreams whatever the circumstance may be. I look forward to continuing success and adding more victories together for Freedom Autosport and Mazda.”

Derek Whitis, Owner, Freedom Autosport:  “When we created Freedom Autosport, it was to honor the men and women serving in the armed forces, especially the U.S. Marines.  We are honored to have Liam join the team full-time in 2015.  Just as important, we look forward to having additional marines served other key roles on the team.”

The 2015 Continental Tires SportsCar race schedule is as follows:

Jan. 23 – Daytona International Speedway (Florida)

March 20 – Sebring International Raceway (Florida)

May 2 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Monterey, California)

June 27 – Watkins Glen International (New York)

July 11 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Toronto, Canada)

July 25 – Lime Rock Park (Connecticut)

Aug. 8 – Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin)

Aug. 22 – Virginia International Raceway

Sept. 18 – Circuit of The Americas (Austin, Texas)

Oct. 2 – Road Atlanta (Georgia)

About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED

Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing.  Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals.  Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built.  Via the Mazda Road to Indy and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.

Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991).  Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.

Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO).  MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com.  Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsports), Twitter (@mazdaracing), Instagram (MazdaMotorsport) and www.mazdamotorsports.com

# # #

[Source: Mazda Motorsports]

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , ,

Hype: New Indy Lights Cars To Be Powered By Mazda. Indy Lights Now Officially Part Of Mazda Motorsports Ladder

Posted on 12.12.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Mazda North American Operations Dallara Indy Lights

Mazda just announced that they are officially taking over as the engine provider for the Indy Lights series which is a feeder series directly to Indy Car.  Previously, Indy Lights cars were powered by V8s that were derivatives of Nissan/Infiniti engines.  The new Indy Lights cars will be powered by a version of Mazda’s 4 cylinder 2.0 liter turbocharged MZR-R engine.  If that engine sounds familiar its probably because it is the same powerplant Mazda developed in partnership with Advanced Engine Research (AER) for Mazda’s American LeMan’s series program.  The Indy Lights version will have slightly less power (450hp) than the LeMan’s version (500hp) however the Indy Lights MZR-R is also built for durability as Mazda Motorsports claims that one of these engines can go for an entire Indy Lights season without needing a rebuild.  This should make the racing much better with no mechanical DNFs and also make things a little bit easier financially on the teams.

Here’s hoping that the addition of lower cost, higher efficiency engines to the Indy Lights series results in more talent making their way up to the Indy Car series!  Expect the new Indy Lights chassis and Mazda engines to line up on the grid next season.  For more info, feel free to check out the official press release below.

Press Release:

Mazda Powers Indy Lights in 2015

Mazda Enters Third Decade of Open-Wheel Racing with Addition of Indy Lights

December 11, 2014 (INDIANAPOLIS) — Mazda announced the addition of Mazda-power in the all-new 2015 Dallara Indy Lights chassis at the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show. This was the latest development in its ongoing commitment to motorsports, which includes the Mazda Road to Indy, the most comprehensive driver development system in the world.

While most noted for success in sports cars, Mazda has been active in open-wheel, formula-car racing since 1984.  In recent years, that has developed into the Mazda Road to Indy, where aspiring racers can advance upwards along a logical progression from karts all the way to the Verizon IndyCar Series.  In 2014, Mazda powered both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.  For 2015, Mazda adds Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

The all-new Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights chassis will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged Mazda MZR-R.  Originally developed in conjunction with Advanced Engine Research (AER), the MZR-R was first campaigned by Mazda in the American Le Mans Series and Mazda customer teams in the European Le Mans Series.  The engine enjoyed several milestone victories, among them were Mazda’s first-ever major North American overall sports car racing win and the 2011 LMP1 engine manufacturers championship.  The engine, further developed by AER, will be designed to produce 450 horsepower and last an entire season without a rebuild.

The 2015 Mazda Road to Indy schedule will kick off with the fifth annual pre-season Cooper Tires Winterfest at NOLA Motorsports Park, just outside of New Orleans, La., on February 18-20 and will move to Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala., on February 24-26.  The official season will open at St. Petersburg on March 27-29 and conclude at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 11-13.

John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports: “The Mazda Road to Indy is a great showcase for what Mazda represents.  Our strength is in helping drivers move up the ranks.  Almost a third of the Indy 500 field traces their roots to Mazda.  Adding the Indy Lights series allows us to have an even longer, more productive relationship with the Indy stars of the future.  We were among the first to recognize the on- and off-track talents of racers like Simon Pagenaud, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal, and many others.  We can’t wait for the season to start at St. Pete, all the way to autumn in Monterey at our own Mazda Raceway for the season finales.”

Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions:  “From the onset of my involvement with Indy Lights, it’s been my hope to have our longtime partner, Mazda, join us in this effort. My decision to select AER as our engine provider was consciously made knowing the substantial Mazda involvement with the engine proposed by AER, and today I am delighted to confirm that the IL-15’s engine does indeed have deep Mazda roots. Mazda does more for open-wheel racing in North America than any other manufacturer, and its full involvement in the Mazda Road to Indy is great news for all.”

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:  “Today’s announcement that Mazda has agreed to become the Indy Lights engine supplier next season is another pivotal step forward for the series. Mazda’s increased commitment to Indy Lights, and their continued support of the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder system, is instrumental in the development of the next generation of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers. We’re thankful for their partnership and certainly look forward to having Mazda power behind the new Dallara IL-15 chassis in 2015.”

Chris Pantani, Director of Motorsports for Cooper Tires:  “Knowing that Mazda is once again our partner, this time in Indy Lights, continues to prove that the combination of Cooper Tires and Mazda is the best choice in the career path of a developmental driver.  Our relationship with Mazda started in 2006, and continues to be the path chosen by many champions in the early stages of their careers.”

Spencer Pigot, Champion – 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires:  “It would not be an exaggeration to say that I would not be where I am today without Mazda and the Mazda Road to Indy. They have been a huge part of my career since I began car racing. I’m thrilled to be the first driver to ever earn three Mazda scholarships, the first one being in 2009 when I was still in karting, to making the move up to the Skip Barber National Championship.  The cost to rise through the racing ranks is so expensive, that it is only with support like the Mazda Road to Indy that many drivers can succeed.  I can’t wait to start the season in 2015.”

About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED

Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing.  Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals.  Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built.  Via the Mazda Road to Indy and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.

Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991).  Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.

Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO).  MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com.  Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsports), Twitter (@mazdaracing), Instagram (MazdaMotorsport) and www.mazdamotorsports.com

# # #

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gaming Hype: Mazda Teams Up With Forza Horizon 2 and Xbox To Launch 2016 MX-5

Posted on 12.04.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Mazda MX-5 and Xbox Contest

Looking forward to getting your hands on the new MX-5? Me too.  I got up close to it at the LA Auto Show but the majority of the country hasn’t had a chance to get up close and personal with the new roadster yet.  However! They can now do that virtually on Xbox One and Xbox 360.  Today Mazda announced that they are teaming up with Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games, and Xbox to promote their new roadster.

Things will kick off with a branded interactive hub that will show up on Xbox consoles in which users can virtually take a closer look at the 2016 MX-5.  From there players can enter a livery design contest via Forza Horizon 2.  Using the game’s editor players can create their own design on an older MX-5 (the ’94 model to be exact) and then submit it for the contest.  Two finalists will be chosen and sent to the South By Southwest festival next march in a “design faceoff”, the winner of which will get nearly $4k worth of prizes, including an Xbox One console, a 55 inch curved tv, audio system, and the MadCatz steering wheel for Xbox One.  The winning design will also be made available to everyone to download for free.  Also, keep in mind that this contest is open to both Xbox One and Xbox 360 users.  Scroll down for the press release which includes all the steps to entering the contest in addition to the official rules.  Good luck!

Press Release:

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — For the second consecutive year, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is teaming up with Xbox, this time to promote the launch of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 and give Forza Horizon 2 players the chance to enter the Mazda MX-5 Livery Design Contest. An interactive experience with the 2016 Mazda MX-5 and information on the design contest will be available through the Mazda branded hub on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

The Mazda MX-5 Livery Design Contest, which is now live through January 4, 2015, will give Forza Horizon 2 players the opportunity to design the livery for the 1994 Mazda MX-5 currently available in-game. Two finalists will be awarded a trip in March to South by Southwest 2015 for the final design showdown. The winner will walk away with a new 55-inch curved TV, audio music system, Xbox One Kinect console and one MadCatz Racing Wheel estimated at $3,499.95. Additionally, the winning design will be made available in Forza Horizon 2 for all Xbox One and Xbox 360 users as a free gift.

“In addition to shining the spotlight on the 2016 Mazda MX-5 through the partnership, we also wanted to give Forza fans a way to engage and pick up some cool prizes and see their work featured in the game,” said Russell Wager, vice president of marketing, MNAO. “Fans of the Mazda MX-5 are some of the most passionate enthusiasts out there and we look forward to seeing the creativity that comes from this contest.”

To enter the Mazda MX-5 Miata Livery Design Contest users must:

  • Sign into the Xbox Live service via an Xbox 360 or Xbox One console
  • Enter Forza Horizon 2, select the available 1994 Mazda MX-5 car and follow the instructions within the game to design a livery using the tools available within the game
  • Once finished, participants will be required to save their design with the name “MX5contest” and upload it to the Forza Horizon 2 storefront during the contest period
  • Entries will be accepted now through January 4, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST

A semi-finalist judging panel, consisting of representatives from Microsoft, Mazda and Turn 10 Studios will determine up to five potential semi-finalists. All submissions will be evaluated on a 100-point scale; with an emphasis on originality (33 points max), aesthetic design (33 points max) and technical proficiency (34 points max). The semi-finalists will be posted on the Mazda hub on Xbox Live from 12:01 a.m. EST on January 26, 2015 through 11:59 p.m. EST on February 12, 2015 for the online public voting phase of the contest. The two semi-finalists with the most votes will be flown to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas where a winner will be determined by three special judges; Derek Jenkins, Mazda’s director of design, Major Nelson from Xbox Live and Forest Byrd with TC9700Gaming.

The official rules can be found on the Mazda hub on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A second contest with Microsoft will be announced at South by Southwest 2015.

This is the second time Mazda has teamed up with Microsoft. In 2013, Mazda made history by being the first automotive manufacturer to globally reveal a vehicle, the 2014 Mazda3, in conjunction with a live concert through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.  For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.

Tags: · , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hype News: Mazda Debuts Re-Designed 2016 MX-5 Roadster….And Duran Duran Was There! (Gallery)

Posted on 09.03.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

2016MazdaMX-5Roadster_small

Just moments ago at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the proverbial sheet was pulled off the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Roadster.  Actually, it suddenly accelerated out of the darkness towards a group of people but it stopped just in time!  As you can see from the title picture, the new MX-5 has been completely re-designed and it looks…  Well, I’m not sure how it looks but I know I like it!  Sure, its not perfect (the headlights are a bit…yeah..) but I love the dimensions, the curves, the hip line, it all looks much better than previous iterations.  And let me be the first to say that FINALLY THE MX-5 ISN’T “CUTE” ANYMORE!  Thank the car gods!

We still do not have any hard performance numbers on the new MX-5 yet, but we do know that thanks to its new chassis its 200lbs lighter than the outgoing MX-5.  I am holding out hope that Mazda will bring the 2016 MX-5 to the LA Auto Show later this year and with it, much more info!

For now check out the gallery of official pictures below as well as the press release.

2016MazdaMX-5_1 2016MazdaMX-5_2 2016MazdaMX-5_3 2016MazdaMX-5_4 2016MazdaMX-5_5

2016MazdaMX-5_6

Press Release:

Mazda Motor Corporation today celebrated the unveiling of the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 (known as Roadster in Japan) together with fans at events held simultaneously in Japan, USA and Spain. The all-new MX-5, which adopts both SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and Mazda’s KODO—Soul of Motion design language, will be rolled out to global markets starting in 2015.

The MX-5 is an iconic model representing Mazda’s vehicle-engineering philosophy—the pursuit of driving pleasure. “Innovate in order to preserve” was the motto for the fourth generation, as the development team searched for innovations that go beyond simple evolution. Environmental and safety demands are much more stringent than they were when the first generation MX-5 was introduced 25 years ago, but the fourth generation stays true to the model’s original aim of offering the pure driving fun that only a lightweight sports car can. It achieves this through the adoption of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and refinement of its appeal to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars.

The design of the all-new MX-5 reveals another layer to Mazda’s KODO design language. The exquisite proportions make the driver and passenger stand out, and both the interior and exterior evoke the exhilaration of open-top driving. It is the most compact of any generation MX-5 so far and is more than 100 kilograms lighter than the model it replaces, promising a dramatic leap in Jinba-ittai driving fun.

As of July 2014, total production volume of the Mazda MX-5 exceeded 940,000 units and it continues to hold the Guinness World Record for the best-selling two-seater sports car. This highly-celebrated model has received over 200 awards from around the globe including Japan Car of the Year 2005-2006.

Moving forward, Mazda will continue to develop products which offer all customers driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance.

Tags: · , , , , , , , , ,