Mazda Prototype in the Rain at Belle Isle
The TUDOR United Sportscar Racing season is well under way and is almost to the halfway point. Coming into this weekend’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic race at Detroit’s Belle Isle, the #90 VisitFlorida.com, #5 Action Express Racing and #10 Wayne Taylor Racing cars led the points standing for the top Prototype class.
For the #70 and #07 Mazada Motorsports Prototypes it has been a season of hard work to keep within reach of the top teams. Coming into this week’s race the #70 was in 7th place and the #07 car was in 8th. Needless to say there is plenty of room for improvement as we near the final half of the season. Fortunately for Mazda some signs of this improvement may have happened over the weekend.
To find out what happened in the race and how the Mazda teams did click past the jump (or scroll down if you came directly to the full article). Please note that this does have some spoiler information.
The event featured some interesting weather with off and on rain as well as downpours. This made parts of the track very slick as the race continued.
Unfortunately, these wet conditions helped lead to a four car crash in the final lap that injured a safety worker. The incident all started when the #58 Porsche crashed into the tires at turn 1. Safety workers may have come into the track too soon just as the #007 Aston Martin crashed in the same corner hitting the safety car.
Below is a replay of the accident.
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Via Twitter the official IMSA account. gave the below update about the injured safety worker.
IMSA has been informed that the safety worker at a Detroit area hospital who was injured during Saturday’s race is in stable condition. The safety worker has a number of broken ribs, collapsed lung and a non-operative injury to his spleen and kidney.
In another incident the second place car spun out near the end of the race which helped give the victory to drivers Dane Cameron and Eric Curran. This gave the Whelen’s/Team Fox Corvette its first win of the season.
The top finishing Mazda was in 8th place, but there was a lot of improvement. For the first time this season the car was on the lead-lap when it finished the 100 minute race. In the competition they managed to pass all of the GT cars as well as all but one of the lower Prototype Challenge class racers.
Joel Miller, Driver, #07 Mazda Prototype:
“The weather conditions in the last 40 minutes of the race were up and down. It would be raining in a couple of corners and dry in the others. The track didn’t get slick straight away, it gradually got there and then it rained buckets. I was dancing in there for rain. You couldn’t see my feet in the car, but I was doing the rain dance because the Mazda was awesome through traffic, and our pace in the rain brings us closer to the leaders. We passed all of the GT cars and were working our way through the PCs [Prototype Challenge category]. To be able to finish on the lead lap and fighting for position in the final lap was fantastic for the team. It was great stuff and I enjoyed it. We got through the day, and now it’s onto the Six Hours of Watkins Glen.”
Tom Long, Driver, #07 Mazda Prototype
About the rough track conditions (Miller had said “they aren’t bumps, they’re jumps!”): “We had a great run in the Castrol SKYACTIV Diesel Mazda today. Because of the rough track, we had to really compromise the setup of the car – such as raising the ride height – so it wasn’t ideal. But, we had the right approach to get a decent balance and then worked with the traction control settings to get good grip out of the corners.”
The next race is the Six Hours of Watkins Glenn on June 28th.