The STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions #77 Formula Mazda Team had an eventful weekend at the SVRA Road Atlanta Grand Prix. We ran with Group 2 & 9 – a fine collection F2’s, Formula Atlantics, Indy Lights, F3000’s and Formula Fords. The weather was perfect for three of four days, with a mix of both sunny & cloudy/slightly rainy days, ranging from the 14's to the mid-20’s Celsius. Over the course of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were on track a total of 7 times; 3 on track practices during the Thursday test day, followed by one practice, two qualifying sessions and Race 1. We did not start Race 2 – more on that issue later. It has been a very long time since we were at Road Atlanta last and we had never been there with the #77 Formula Mazda – over the course of the track day and the practice sessions, we improved our lap times substantially to a respectable 1:32.000
Road Atlanta Track Map
We definitely had our work cut out for us, as most everyone in our race group had much more horsepower than we did. In the first qualifying session, we qualified 6th of 19 race cars, 1st in our 9F2 class. In the second qualification session, we qualified 7th of 19 race cars, 2nd in our class. In Race 1, our race group included some high powered open wheel race cars, including 6 Swifts, 3 Brabham’s, 2 Crossle’s, 2 March’s, 2 Dallara’s and more – the competition was stiff for our diminutive Formula Mazda. We started in 7th position and and began to make up position quickly, by lap 10 we were in 5th place lapping at 1:30.000. Then disaster struck. At the apex of corner 10 B, our small but mighty 13B rotary engine seized. This caused the transaxle to lock up and spin the car. Luckily, we were in a low speed part of the track and not on the race line. The marshals showed a local waving yellow and the race continued for two more laps. Sadly, we could not get the engine re-fired and had to be towed into the paddock. We were scored in 17th place. Once back in our paddock spot, Bill Vallis and I spent 60 minutes problem solving the engine seizure, but to no avail, the engine would not turn over…… we were done for the weekend!! At that point, we decided to load the trailer to prepare for the 15 hour trip back to Canada, the next day - the 30th of March.
Overall, we are declaring the weekend a success – the track as fantastic, the #77 Formula Mazda was a dream to pilot, the event was packed with competitors and the entire weekend was very well run. Despite our engine challenges, our race car performed flawlessly. Of course, we need to give a big shout out to our sponsors; STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions. A very special thank you to Bill and Shirley Vallis of Vallis Motor Sport for their excellent track side support, and their commitment to the long drive to Road Atlanta.
Click here for more photos from this race weekend.
A very big thank you to the SVRA for hosting such a great event!! And last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our long suffering and tormented family which follows us from race track to race track allows us to continue to do the racing thing……….