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-   -   I drove a Formula Mazda car! (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/international-automotive-scene/202502-i-drove-formula-mazda-car.html)

soulreaper_20 6th October 2018 14:56

14 Attachment(s)
Hello all!

Earlier this year, I was in Texas for about a month and I took the time out to meet some interesting people and their cars. This is when I found out about a place called Motorsport ranch outside of Dallas, which coincidentally happened to be he headquarters of Formula Mazda.

The Formula Mazda is a series that opens as a precursor to the road to Indycar. The car are open wheel, Formula racers powered by the Mazda RX7 rotary engine. The engine puts out about 300hp which is sufficient to shift the 800kg car rather swiftly.

Here's a video of my experience. Hope you guys like it.

https://youtu.be/zcX7CNgr3s4

Formula Mazda have their own hangar inside Motorsport Ranch which is located about 50 miles on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas.
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These are the very same cars that are used in their racing series
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The car that I drove
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What aero does to tyres
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Cockpit of the Formula Mazda Car
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This was also my first ever experience of a Wankel rotary engine.
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Preparing my car for the track
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The entire body is made of carbon fibre which helps in keeping the weight low.
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While the engines are Japanese, all the Chassis come from Italy
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Discarded car parts are the best interior design items
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Goodyear has a tie-up with Formula Mazda to make tyres specific to their requirements
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At this location, you will find more than 30 cars, off which many can be booked for driving sessions, or even a complete season if you have the moolah.
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Carbon fibre everywhere!
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This is their latest machine that sports better suspension tech, a newer engine (240hp) and more...
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ChiragM 8th October 2018 11:33

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
Wow. This must be an amazing experience. Good choice of vehicle for your first track experience in a car.

How different is driving this car when you compare it to a road-legal car? Keeping in mind the grip available and the time required to heat the tires, brakes. How long did it take for you to get used to the car and push it to understand its limits?

Also, could you please share the cost for this experience and the number of laps you got to drive?

soulreaper_20 8th October 2018 13:15

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiragM (Post 4474409)
Wow. This must be an amazing experience. Good choice of vehicle for your first track experience in a car.

How different is driving this car when you compare it to a road-legal car? Keeping in mind the grip available and the time required to heat the tires, brakes. How long did it take for you to get used to the car and push it to understand its limits?

Also, could you please share the cost for this experience and the number of laps you got to drive?

Hey ChiragM,

Thank you for your reply and I am glad that you like my experience.

Driving a Formula car is a completely different experience as compared to a road-legal car. Since the machine does not have to comply with the rules and regulations of the roads, it can be setup strictly for performance.

As you mentioned, it takes about 2 laps (depending on the track length) to get the required heat in the tyres and the brakes. But even after that has been achieved, it is really hard to get your head around the dynamics of a Formula car. Even at this level, it is a case of the faster you go the more grip you get...

For the first few laps I was so slow, braked way early and turned in way to quickly as i was getting myself accustomed to the car. You think that you are at the limit of its handling, but you are barely scratching on 20-30% of the available performance.

I did about 10 laps of the short circuit. For us Indians, it is specially a daunting task to get our heads around machines that work at such speeds. If you could get at least half a day with this car, then you would imagine getting better times and using more and more of what the car has to offer.

It is safe to say that I never reached the limits. But if someone wants to experience this, Formula Mazda based on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas is actually not very expensive and you really get quite a lot for your money. I didn't pay anything as I was creating content in collaboration with the team, but as far as I can remember, Formula Mazda charges you about $300-400 per session which would include training, warm up and about 30 mins of track time with their Formula Mazda cars.

bblost 9th October 2018 15:02

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
Wow.

Thanks a lot for such an awesome thread.
Lovely pictures.

Looks like you had a really memorable time.

Mazda makes beautiful cars.

soulreaper_20 10th October 2018 13:54

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bblost (Post 4475341)
Wow.

Thanks a lot for such an awesome thread.
Lovely pictures.

Looks like you had a really memorable time.

Mazda makes beautiful cars.

I am glad that you like it! Yes, I had an amazing time. Actually I was in the US for about a month and drove some really nice cars... I can keep sharing more from my US and Europe trips if you guys enjoy this stuff.

Romins 12th October 2018 15:15

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
That was awesome! You really had some fun. I wish I get a chance to drive those fast machines in my lifetime.

Did you have any after-effects? The g-force you experienced must have caused some pain on the neck.

soulreaper_20 12th October 2018 19:30

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Romins (Post 4477327)
That was awesome! You really had some fun. I wish I get a chance to drive those fast machines in my lifetime.

Did you have any after-effects? The g-force you experienced must have caused some pain on the neck.

Oh yea! I was actually so dazed in excitement that I totally forgot to do the outro of my experience :Frustrati and only realised it next day morning when I was doing an Instagram post!

The biggest learning for me from this experience was actually the break the mental barrier of speed vs grip. It's impossible to comprehend the amount of speed one can carry through corners in a Formula car... I was struggling to even break the threshold of 40% of what the car is truly capable of.

I distinctly remember going pedal-to-the-metal on one of the straights, approaching a right hander. About to lift, thinking that this is the minimum braking distance I need for entry, that is when another Formula Mazda car flew past me as if I was on standstill! For me, I simply couldn't comprehend braking in that late into the corner or entering in at those speeds!

But I guess given about 3-4 hours with the car at such a track, I could have gotten a bit more accustomed to the surface and also the car and I would have been able to get faster. That's how it goes with these things usually anyway.

Horizon85 17th October 2018 13:41

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
This is simply brilliant. You have just done what I have been dreaming of for a long time. Can we start a thread of places which offer Formula racing car driving experiences?

I feel that, circuits like Madras and Coimbatore host a lot of races, but the ones like Buddh can make some money by offering such experiences.

soulreaper_20 11th February 2019 15:31

Re: I drove a Formula Mazda car!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Horizon85 (Post 4479958)
This is simply brilliant. You have just done what I have been dreaming of for a long time. Can we start a thread of places which offer Formula racing car driving experiences?

I feel that, circuits like Madras and Coimbatore host a lot of races, but the ones like Buddh can make some money by offering such experiences.

I think that the main problem in India is the lack of infrastructure and the lack of public knowledge. What I mean is that if something like this is started in India, it would have to be priced in such a way that when people damage the cars (or just simple wear and tear) is accounted for in the rental costs. But then the prices will become unaffordable to many. Conversely, if the prices are lower, then the rental cars won't be able to pay for themselves and end up like how mostly every go karting scenario end up in, where in a few years the karts are in a sympathetic state. On top of that, the investment needed to run something like this would be quite expensive and there will be no immediate returns as the number of individuals we have in our country to support such an endeavour is far less as compared to the western countries.

Also, if I am not wrong, they had a arrive and drive for Polo race cars at the BIC, don't know what happened to it though.


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