Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mazda Philippines Enters Philippine GT Championship with Mazda2 Skyactiv Race Car

Photos by Ulysses Ang and Mazda Press
“Race on Sunday, sell on Monday”—that’s the line used by car manufacturers when asked why they delve into motorsports. The technology developed on the track (not to mention, the resulting marketing and publicity it generates) is beneficial in making their road cars better. That’s exactly what Mazda Philippines is hoping for as they officially enter the 2015 Philippine GT and Philippine Touring Car Championship (PTCC) by providing factory support to division titlist Edwin Rodriguez for the season.

Mr. Rodriguez is no stranger to the Mazda2. He’s raced the previous-generation model and has won the Division 3 (100-horsepower class) category despite being some 15-20 horsepower down on the competition. However, his determination has caught the attention of Berjaya Auto Philippines (BAP), the exclusive distributor of Mazda vehicles in the country, and the result is what you see here. For 2015, Rodriguez is racing once more in the Division 3 class of the Philippine GT and PTCC series, but will swap his old Mazda2 for the all-new Mazda2 Skyactiv.


Mazda Philippines is race-preparing one Mazda2 Skyactiv hatchback variant with a manual transmission for Rodriguez. Out of the box, he says it’s more powerful and more agile than before. Plus, it’s lighter. Rodriguez has also made his own modifications to comply with division rules including a race-tuned suspension and the necessary safety equipment. However, the engine and drivetrain (including the gearbox) is left stock.

“Mazda has always been about the thrill of driving and our support of Philippine motorsports allows us to communicate our passion more effectively,” says Steven Tan, President and CEO of BAP and Mazda Philippines. He adds, “We found in Edwin that pure desire to compete even when the odds are stacked against him as we saw last year when he drove the outgoing Mazda2 to the championship. This year, timed with the release of the all-new Skyactiv Mazda2, we believe Edwin can challenge with more confidence and consistency for the overall touring car championship title.”

As a company, Mazda is no stranger to racing. It’s still the only Japanese brand to have won the 24-Hours of Le Mans with the 787B rotary-engine prototype. Lately, it’s been racing vehicles equipped with Skyactiv technology. It has raced the Mazda6 Skyactiv in the Grand-Am Rolex Series GX class where it netted nine wins and the manufacturer’s title. They also raced in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship competing in the LMP2 prototype class. Closer to home, Berjaya Auto Philippines has been instrumental in the stratospheric rise of Indy Car hopeful Michele Bumgarner, who’s currently in the Mazda Road to Indy program.


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