Formula Mazda

Formula Mazda

Formula Mazda is a class of relatively affordable formula racing.

Formula Mazda has its own class in SCCA club racing, and there is a professional series (officially the "Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear") in North America that often runs as a support race for the American Le Mans Series. The cars are very popular; seeing a field of 40 or more cars at a race is quite common. Many drivers aspiring to the top classes of racing use the pro series to hone and demonstrate their talent. In 2006, the 2004 Formula Mazda champion, Michael McDowell, drove in the American Champ Car series, while Scott Speed, who won in Formula Mazda in 2002, became the first American F1 driver in a decade. In terms of both cost and performance, Formula Mazda lies between Formula Ford and Formula Atlantic. A full season in the Pro series cost around $200,000 - $300,000 in 2005. All of the races in the 2008 season are broadcast on Speed.

Original car

The series originally grew out of a group of chassis built by Hayashi in Japan for the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School in California, USA. These cars were completed by Russell mechanics in the paddock of the 1984 Long Beach Grand Prix, where the cars made their US debut. The cars have a basic welded steel tube frame chassis, with in-board front shocks operated by upper rocker arms. A 180hp carbureted Mazda rotary engine drives through a 5 speed H-pattern (H-gate) Hewland Mk 9 transaxle. Rear suspension is by two trailing links, an upper link and a lower a-arm. In the interest of creating close racing and limiting cost, the rules state that no modification is allowed until the rules expressly permit it -- at one time even replacing the mirrors on the car was prohibited. The engines cannot be modified, and they are sealed to make it easy to detect cheating. The cars all use the same tires, springs, dampers, and adjustable anti-roll bars.

New car

In 2004, a completely new car was introduced for the Pro series. It features a carbon fiber chassis, 6 speed sequential gearbox, and a sealed 250hp fuel-injected Renesis engine very similar to the one in the Mazda RX-8. The MoTeC ECU uses input from the gearshift to enable upshifting while the driver holds the throttle wide open. The ECU also provides traction control which the driver can turn off from inside the car. The rules allow a choice among five different spring rates at each corner, and the new Öhlins dampers offer separate bump and rebound adjustments. The driver can adjust the front anti-roll bar from the cockpit.

The new car is substantially faster than the older car, usually lapping about 3 seconds faster per mile of track, but the original car remains legal for SCCA club racing.

External links

* [ World Speed Motorsports Championship Winning Star Mazda Team]
* [ Star Mazda West Coast Series]
* [ Official Star Mazda Series site]
* [ Team Tomlin]
* [ Red Beard Racing Team Site]
* [ John Walko Racing Team Site]

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