I arrived to what turned out to be a wet Infineon Raceway, leaving me with less time on track than we were hoping for, seeing that we agreed for me to only drive on a slick-tire-appropriate track. The rain was on and off, putting me in the spectator seat for a couple sessions, but I had a blast with the time that I had on track. Those of you who know formula cars or do a share of club racing may know that the Formula Mazda class that I normally drive in is a little bit dated compared to today's cars. It is still, in my opinion, the greatest bang for your buck that any driver could ask for, but it was refreshing and exciting to get behind the wheel of a car that felt modern. Yes, it was a very low miles car seeing that this is a very new chassis on the market, but it had a lot more to it than just that new car smell.
If you haven't done your research on these cars already, I suggest you head to World Speed's website, or better yet their shop at Infineon, and check it out. The car was designed to give the driver a modern race car experience, at the cost and maintenance of more club racer types. Lots of elements of the car, such as small odds and ends parts down to the round tube frame, simply make sense. Being strapped in the seat with 195 horsepower under your right foot should do more than enough to satisfy the thrills you seek, especially since the whole car weighs under 1,100 pounds.
I opened it up as much as I felt comfortable with when I took the car to the track (World Speed is letting me drive THEIR car, I didn't have much desire to stuff it into a wall). As unsurprising as it may sound, the car really drove like a race car. The grip front to back was balanced, the steering was responsive, the brakes felt like hitting a wall, and jumping onto the throttle was a magnificent feeling. The car is equipped with MazdaSpeed MZR 2.0 liter motor, with variable valve timing. This, I especially loved. The power was always there when you needed it, almost no matter what RPM. Any mistakes coming off corners were quickly covered up by the motor, allowing you to take off and roll through the 6 speed sequential gearbox like nothing was wrong.
My runs for the day were, unfortunately, cut off short. The rain started coming down on the track once again, making it more and more difficult to stick to any dry line, if one still existed. We decided that I was done once I spun a nice 360 on the always terrifying turn 10. Luckily, I didn't even dip a wheel off the track, and no damage was done. All in all, great day, great drive, and great car. And once again, I'd like to thank World Speed Motorsports for trusting me behind the wheel of one of their vehicles!