Today was an important day, as the first opportunity we’ve had to look at the car and meet the team responsible for prepping our Mazda MX-5 Cup Car before two practice sessions and qualifying tomorrow.
Meathead Racing out of Maryland in the United States are running the two MX-5 Cup cars we are racing (Numbers 75 and 76) at this weekend’s first ever Mazda MX-5 Cup Global Invitational at Laguna Seca. We're here to help represent Australia, on invitation from the local arm of Mazda.
Although the baseline set-up is pretty much done, both cars required the usual driver’s seat fitting and adjustment, so we've set about getting everything in order this morning.
In my case, with the number 75 car, the process proved more difficult than usual, due to the fact the previous driver (Meathead owner and driver Mike Collins) uses a custom seat bracket to accommodate his longer 190cm frame.
It’s a tedious process that requires the replacement of the racing seat and bracket with a standard version, before moving the seat itself into the optimum position for me, in this case.
The team mechanic also ran a communications check (drivers communicate with the race team via radio, which is connected to my race helmet. To speak, you simply need to press the red button next to the shifter).
Problem was, they could hear me, but I couldn’t hear them through my ear plugs. I’m hoping a communications guy will be able to sort it out tomorrow before racing proper on Saturday.
And while the seat position felt right, I also asked to have the specially made ‘Max Papis Innovations’ race steering wheel moved a tad further forward – but there’s no reach or tilt adjustment, so we may need to remove the spacer prior to the first or second practice session.
The only issue remaining is to sort out whether we use a hydration system for the 45min races – particularly if tomorrow’s track temperature is expected to be higher than the 25-degree forecast.
It’s an early start tomorrow, too, with a driver’s briefing at 8:00 and the first practice session to run from 9:30am to 10:00am.
Wish me luck – it’s a daunting circuit and not for the faint hearted. Nervous, yep, you bet, but that said, this is a bucket list opportunity if there ever was one.
DRIVEN: Mazda MX-5 Cup car