First year as a Mazda MX-5 racing driver
A month into the new year, Matthew Pollard is in a reflective mood. His journey as a Mazda MX-5 racing driver started before the 2018 BRSCC season. However, it was when he set eyes on his car 👇 that the dream became a reality. We didn’t get our hands on the car until after his Mazda MX-5 racing debut at Brands Hatch, but when we got the Mazda MX-5 into the workshop Stuart couldn’t resist a photo opportunity. See the before and after shots on our Spot the Difference blog from April 2018.
Mazda MX-5 racing – in style!
This is the car you’ll recognise if you’ve been following Matt’s progress through the Mazda MX-5 racing championship. The livery was designed by designer Katy Etherington and brought to life by Amber Signs and Print of Berkhamsted. The MX-5 features the red and black of the Car Magic and Non Fault Car Accident Repair branding. The geometric style brings a modern look to the design on the white background of the Mazda MX-5. The wing mirror caps are painted in red and the wheels in black for that extra touch of class.
So what did Matt learn last year?
Matt has five main learnings from his first year as a Mazda MX-5 racing driver. They are:
- Social life
It was easy for any negatives that happened whilst racing to affect Matt’s mood, his attitude and overall performance. It was a piece of advice from Jack Sycamore of AB Motorsport that helped changed Matt’s mindset after a particularly annoying spin at Anglesey. Jack’s advice was to remember that nothing can be done about a spin or incident until the race is finished. There is no need to let it take hold of your mood whilst still in the race. Taking that on board for the rest of the season really focused Matt and improved his driving no end.
With this being Matt’s first year as a competitive racer he was going to be on a learning journey. This continued throughout the 2018 season. In fact, he knows he probably won’t stop learning, as new challenges present themselves. As he became more experienced, Matt realised that watching the driver in front very closely was beneficial. Studying the way another driver was driving ahead of him would help him to learn about that specific driver, as well as the track and ideal racing lines. Focusing on this also meant he could be in a position to make a move if the leading driver did make a mistake.
Having a team of people like AB Motorsport behind him was essential to Matt’s progress. Once the races were over it was invaluable to be able to sit down with Ali, Jack, Brad or Chris to discuss setup and know that he didn’t need to be concerned with the car, no matter what state it was in. He could spend time reviewing the on-board footage of his racing and use the support network of the other drivers in the team to learn and adapt his technique for the next session.
Matt wasn’t expecting to gain a whole new circle of friends or be out in the evenings with the other drivers on a race weekend, but through the highs and lows it’s been special to be part of a team. The camaraderie between all those involved has really made for some memorable moments throughout his first competitive racing year.
Last but not least is the budget. Matt and his Dad (Race Director/Finance Manager!) had drafted a budget for the 2018 season based on what they knew about the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship, but there were a few things that they missed. In total they expected it to be about £15,000 to run the car for the entire season with the professional support of AB Motorsport. The things that they didn’t foresee from a costing point of view, were the cost of test days, additional track days needed to feel confident in the car and on a new circuit, an engine rebuild, a new gearbox and body work repairs.
Car Magic – a Mazda MX-5 racing sponsor
Thankfully having secured an “excellent bodywork sponsor” in Car Magic and Non Fault Car Accident Repair, Matt was able to make vital savings for some of the necessary body work. Our relationship with Matt came into its own when there were bumps and scrapes to resolve and turnaround before the next racing session. Matt knew that his Mazda MX-5 was in good hands and that’s why he’s chosen us again as his sponsor for the 2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 racing season.