It was a pretty good weekend. The big thing was Zoom-Zoom Live, the Mazda dog-and-pony show that succeeds Rev It Up as the "drive our cars as fast as you can" promotional event. Daniel and I had gone to Rev It Up a couple of years ago and had a pretty good time so we headed down to the Weymouth Naval Air Station for the latest installment.
Things were set up a little differently this time. To begin with, there was preferred parking for Mazda owners, which was kind of a nice touch. (Yes, I'm a sucker.) So I was able to park close to the entrance and within sight of a couple of the courses. More significantly, the event was free (though at $40, the old Rev It Up events were a bargain); and even more importantly than that, you could do as many laps as your patience for standing in line would allow. But hour-long waits (for the good stuff) meant we didn't do as many runs as they'd have let us. The other big thing was that you were allowed to take passengers, so Dan and had shotgun for each other's runs.
So what about the runs, you ask?
Well, the good ones involved driving as fast as you could. First, we each did a fun (meaning untimed) run in the sublime RX-8. The gearbox! The sound! The 9000 RPM redline! It all makes up for the the torqueless difficulty of driving around town. Not an easy car to launch from a stoplight, but once it's going, you can just let it rev, and fling it into turns. Later, we also did runs in one of the new Miatas, which, I think, we both found pretty impressive. Of all the cars I drove, I liked how it felt the best--not surprising since it's the most similar to my car--but still, I was surprised at how quick it felt compared to mine
[AVI | You Tube] and Dan seemed impressed at how it handled. (High praise from someone who flogs a 350Z, and has had some actual training in the art of high-performance driving.)
There was also the Mazdaspeed Challenge, involving the Mazdaspeed6 and a clock. The time to beat was 42. 5 seconds. Dan went first, and reeled off a 44-something (complaining at one point about how he wasn't doing well). The hour-long wait in line (when I studied the ttrack diagram) and the preview of the course during Dan's lap should have helped me when I took over.
Instead, I was a little surprised by the hairpin in the middle of the course, thinking there was one more set of esses I could dance through. I came in way too hot, the front end washed out (stupid understeer), and I slid to the outside, slaughtering a handful of helpless, yet obviously foolhardy orange cones. So I futzed around looking for reverse (up and left on the MS6 and MS3, instead of down and right), then decided just to pull forward and finish the run, cleanly if not all-out.
Fifty-five seconds and change. Nasty. AND I had the corner of my badge clipped as a warning; if they have to clip it a 2nd time, you're done driving. Ah well.
We also did the questionably-intriguing "matched time gymkhana," which is like the other courses, except you tried to come as close as you could to a specific time. Which meant not driving as fast as you could, but rather taking a wild guess about how fast you should be going; trying to drive fast seemd to get you across the line a good 10 seconds early. Being geeks, we used a stopwatch. I came in 2 seconds over, Dan 2 under.
We also did some hot laps in the slot cars, which was probably the first time I'd done that since I was 13 or 14. And after all that, I had Dan drive Veloce back, which he did with typical aplomb, at a very high rate of speed.
Again with that training thing. Next year, no shit....I'm doin' it.
PS: Relatedly, Tim has posted his sparkling pix of Miata Day at the MoT a couple of weeks ago.