Podium spot for the Mazda MX-5, despite torrential rain!
On the weekend of the 16th June, the Mazda MX-5 visited Oulton Park in Cheshire for the first time. This was the fourth weekend in the eight weekend schedule for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. It was the first weekend racing with the Mazda MX-5 in its Car Magic and Non Fault Car Accident Repair livery. Here’s Matt looking readier than he’s even been 👇
Unfortunately Matt learnt a valuable lesson about confidence in the first test day. He says himself that he will probably take the first test lap a little easier from now on. The Mazda MX-5 hit the tyre wall on a corner after a spin on the grass during testing. It couldn’t be recovered or slowed before impact so all he could do is brace.
Hazards of racing in a Mazda MX-5
The hazards of racing in a Mazda MX-5 include not only damage to yourself, but damage to the car too. Matt was dreading the sight of his team’s faces when he returned to the paddock. Part of the nearside door was caved in, as were the front and rear nearside wings.
However, after a visit to the medical centre Matt returned to his AB Motorsport paddock. He was relieved to see that the car looked almost as though it hadn’t had happened – phew! The race team had removed the rubber marks from the tyre wall. They had banged out the panels and all that was left were some scuffs to paintwork and decals and a couple of dents. So it was on with the rest of the test day for Matt. With lap times coming down from 2:09s to the low 2:07s, he was confident he would be in the Mazda Mx-5 A race for qualifying.
Mazda MX-5 in the rain!
In the second race, the rain arrived. You can see Matt’s expert driving in ‘torrential monsoon-like’ conditions in this video on YouTube and you can see our Mazda MX-5 in the middle of this wet track at Oulton Park.
Here’s a screenshot from the in-car camera. This shows just how bad the visibility was for Matt and the other Mazda MX-5 drivers as they made their way around the circuit. It was after six laps of this rain that the red flag appeared. Racing came to a premature end.
From 7th to a podium finish for the Mazda MX-5
In the last race of the weekend the Mazda MX-5 was lined up in 7th position on the grid. Matt made a good start and held position rounding the first corner. This was only for the red flag to be waved before completing even a full lap. The race restart was due to a bump involving Matt’s team mate Will. Will wasn’t at fault but involved in a scrap that left a few cars all over the place. Soon, the grid was ready again but the race was now only going to be 12 minutes long. There was work to be done and quickly.
Following an even better start, Matt gained a few positions on the grid. He kept pushing to close the gap between his Mazda MX-5 #55 and those in front. Making a move around Lodge Corner Matt focused on the two drivers in front, who were battling for first place. He caught up to them but Marcus Bailey appeared behind. With Matt being caught behind Nick Le Doyen, Marcus was able to gain on him. Matt lost position to Marcus entering the Shell Oils section of the track after trying to get past Nick. Still looking for a gap and following close behind Matt was able to gain two positions when Nick spun in front of Marcus!
The lead Mazda MX-5 driven by Oliver Robinson had quite a substantial gap ahead of Matt. The three cars were five seconds apart but now nearing the end of the race. In second position and trying to hold off Marcus there were some issues with under steer due to the tyres. This led to a third place position but the second podium finish this year!
To read more about Matt and his journey as a professional racing driver visit our Motorsport page. We’ve been documenting his progress since we became his sponsor for the 2018 season. For more information about what we do at Car Magic see our Reviews page. Also, take a look at our Non Fault Car Accident Repair services whilst you’re there.