The In Wheel Time radio crew had the opportunity to broadcast live from the Pirelli World Challenge at Circuit of the Americas, and we brought a race fanatic along for the ride. Anthony Travalent races a 2009 BMW M3, and loves talking about cars and speed with race car drivers or anyone else that will listen. It was fun watching his enthusiasm throughout the weekend. Sure, I could tell you all about my behind the scenes experience, but his account is much more interesting.
Anthony spent a lot of time with Adam Poland, and his racing team throughout the weekend. While he was talking shop, I was amazed at how accessible and friendly Adam was with the fans. During our broadcast, he talked about a few issues he experienced with his car. Despite more problems with his clutch, Adam managed a second place finish at COTA.
“The Mazda Family”
By: Anthony Travalent
March 11, 2015
I have always been an avid race fan since I first saw a Grand Am race years back. I went to my first race event, the IMSA TUDOR United series at Circuit of the Americas, last year and loved every minute of it. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I even race my 2009 BMW E90 M3 occasionally, and enjoy everything about sports car racing.
I have met a lot of race teams and drivers at these events through autograph sessions, and various connections with race teams. Some are happy to talk to you about the sport, while some are very closed off. In my experience, no one is more open and happy to talk to you than the Mazda race team.
My first experience with the Mazda race team was at the Pirelli World Challenge at Circuit of the Americas. The public relations representative, Dean, took the In Wheel Time crew and me up to the paddock where the entire Mazda race team was set up.
I could immediately sense the close-knit familiar aura from all the different Mazda race teams. Dean explained to us that it is not just a race team; when you race Mazda, you are family. To them, it did not matter what sponsor you raced for or what type of car you were racing. That Mazda logo meant you were family and racing for the same team. Every driver helps each other out from parts to assistance when working on their cars, and I saw that first hand in the Mazda paddock.
Dean took us up to meet the drivers and see their racecars and, I have to admit, I never met a friendlier group of racers and crew. All the drivers I met were happy to tell me about their experiences and racecars. They were excited to share their story of how their race career began and how the sport enveloped them. Each driver had one experience in common; everyone had an instance where they had a problem, and the Mazda family took great care of them and their racecars.
I was surprised to hear that the MazdaSpeed Motorsports Development team offers unparalleled support when compared to other manufacturers’ race teams. From getting a part overnighted by the company for a race the next day, to phone support for any turn on any track by Mazda race experts, the Mazda family supports their drivers and racecars like none other. Mazda offers highly discounted parts for their drivers, amazing team support programs, and better contingency awards when compared to other manufacturers. This really amazed me to hear.
I have always wanted to get into racing as a hobby, and I always figured I would race a BMW solely based on the fact that I love their cars and have experience with my M3. However, my weekend with the Mazda family changed my outlook on what I wanted in a race team. It is not just about the car you are driving, the support of other drivers and the manufacturer is an important aspect of the sport.
I told Dean and the drivers I wanted to get into the sport as a hobby and they immediately set me up with contacts, and introduced me to people that are highly experienced in the racing realm. They all suggested a spec Miata as a starting point, and showed me where to get all the information I need to feed my racing hobby. I never thought I would be racing a Mazda, but I have an appointment next week to see a spec Miata for sale. I’m thinking it’s likely I’ll purchase one to be my weekend racer.
I greatly appreciate the In Wheel Time crew and Dean for introducing me to the whole Mazda race team. It was one of the best experiences I have had. I also appreciate all the drivers I had the opportunity to talk with and hear their stories of racing for Mazda. I look forward to joining the Mazda family.