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Old 12-14-2006
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Thumbs up Skip Barber - Mazda Linkage is Official!

What a pleasant surprise!

Here's the link!
Official Skip Barber - Mazda Announcement!

Here's the text:

Mazda and Skip Barber Racing School Announce
Long Term Partnership


World’s Largest Sports Car Company Teams with Largest Racing and Driving School

ORLANDO, Fla. - Mazda North American Operations and Skip Barber Racing School LLC announced today a new, long-term partnership agreement that promises to reshape the world of competitive motorsports. The agreement will deliver a broad range of programs designed to further define and strengthen the U.S. motorsports ‘‘ladder’’ through which drivers learn and gain experience on their way to the top ranks of amateur and professional racing.

Mazda will supply vehicles to Skip Barber for exclusive use in the ‘‘Skip Barber Driving School Powered by Mazda.’’ The school annually graduates more than 7,000 students and will feature the MAZDA3, MX-5 and RX-8 cars in a variety of purpose-built exercises at Skip Barber’s premier base locations, including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California, Sebring International Raceway and Daytona International Speedway in Florida, Road America in Wisconsin, and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

In addition, Mazda engines will soon provide power to the 120 racecars used in the ‘‘Skip Barber Racing School Powered by Mazda” and the ‘‘Skip Barber Race Series Powered by Mazda.’’ Skip Barber’s Racing School annually graduates more than 5,000 students and is offered at more than 20 prominent racetracks across the nation. Graduates include drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Michael and Marco Andretti, Juan Pablo Montoya and many other marquee names in professional racing.

Many Racing School graduates go on to race in the Skip Barber Race Series, long considered one of the key rungs on the motorsports development ladder. More than 1,000 competitors participate each year in one or more of its four regional championships, a masters national championship, and/or the prestigious entry level semi-pro series, the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by RACER.

‘‘We are committed to developing the next generation of racers with a ladder system that provides drivers with Mazda and Mazda-powered open and closed-wheel cars throughout their careers,’’ said Robert Davis, senior vice president, product development and quality, and the man responsible for Mazda’s North American Motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner. ‘‘Skip Barber is the perfect partner to help us realize this vision.’’

‘‘The motorsports development path to achievement is about to get a lot clearer,’’ said George Ayres, president and COO of Skip Barber Racing School, LLC. ‘‘Skip Barber trains many of the world’s top drivers and our leadership in this area will help strengthen Mazda’s motorsports program. Mazda vehicles and engines will in turn help solidify our position as the leader in instructional and racing excellence for drivers who want to succeed.’’

Davis and Ayres each noted a series of connections and like-minded purposes that helped lead to the formation of the partnership. ‘‘On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle,’’ said Davis. ‘‘We want the best-trained drivers in these cars and that is what Skip Barber is all about.’’

‘‘More than 50 Skip Barber-trained drivers are currently racing Mazda or Mazda-powered cars in professional series races right now,’’ said Ayres. ‘‘Dozens more are participating in amateur class events such as Spec Miata. From Champ Car Atlantic powered by Mazda to ALMS and the Grand-Am Cup Series, the connections between our drivers and Mazda are strong and will grow stronger as a result of this partnership.’’


Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. More information on the company is available at www.MazdaUSA.com, or on MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development at www.MazdaspeedMotorsports.com.

Headquartered in Lakeville, Conn., and operating out of five base locations (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California; Lime Rock Park in Connecticut; Road America in Wisconsin; and Sebring International Raceway and Daytona International Speedway, both in Florida), Skip Barber is the world’s largest racing and driving school, available at more than 20 race tracks across the U.S. and Canada. In addition to the Skip Barber Racing School, the company also runs the Skip Barber Driving School and the new High Performance Driving School. The company also operates six separate open-wheel racing championships, including the prestigious entry level pro series, the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by RACER. More information is available by calling 860.435.1300, and at www.skipbarber.com
Skip Barber Staff

And here's the picture...

The name and brand badge look like they've always been there...
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Last edited by dalyduo; 12-14-2006 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 12-14-2006
Willy P Willy P is offline
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Re: MAZDA Announcement is Official!

Seems like I will be driving a Formula Mazda instead of the Formula Dodge R/T 2000. Dodge was a great contributor to the Skip Barber Family with the school and series. I am very exited to see what Mazda will have in store for Skip Barber.
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Old 12-14-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

More than 1,000 competitors participate each year in one or more of its four regional championships, a masters national championship, and/or the prestigious entry level semi-pro series, the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by RACER.

I'm having trouble with the maths. Checking SBR website I found:

Eastern 119
Midwest 83
Southern 53
Western 56
National 36
Masters National 31

Which totals 378, so to get to "more than 1,000," 622 are going to create the largest weekends ever in SBR history as the Western and Southern Series continue.

Hyperbole or truth-in-advertising?
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Old 12-14-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

I think that number must be 'total seats sold'. They must have forgotten that quite a few their customers sign up for more than one weekend a year, and sometimes even double or triple a weekend. Not surprising, considering how much they value their customers.

And hey, what's the big deal? I'm sure Mazda doesn't mind paying for 1,000+ 'competitors' and only getting 378. It's not like their shareholders will care..
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Old 12-14-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

It's kind of like the cost of parts when you look down at your crash damage report...
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Old 12-14-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Well John, you were worried about the apparent indifference that the senior skippy guys seemed to have with all the maintainence problems at Road Atlanta. Now I think we know why. They were not interested in anything related to Dodge engines anymore. Zoom Zoom. Anybody know when we get the new engines or anything about those new engines?
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Old 12-15-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

The reference to supplying racecar power "soon" is relative.

They are now calling the R/T's "The Skip Barber Formula 2000". No mention of new Mazda sponsorship and no statement of a pending engine swap... The statement in the press release leaves lots of room for interpretation.

Perhaps the new car decision will be "soon" enough to mean the R/T's will be retired with their hard working Dodge motors in place while being ultimately swapped with entirely brand new Mazda powered racecars next year.

What isn't being said may be speaking louder than what is...

On the other hand there may be pallets of Mazda motors arriving in Lakeville, Sebring and other locations for quick installation as we write...

Anyone seen any Zoom Zoom motor crates stacked up anywhere?

Inquiring minds want to know...

(PS. I've used a modified version of this post on the car naming thread as well)
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Old 12-15-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Engines do not swap out and in that easily. It will probably be more of a nightmare.

OLDMAN
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Old 12-15-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDMAN
Engines do not swap out and in that easily. It will probably be more of a nightmare.

OLDMAN
LOL, Oldman, you are such a PESSIMIST! Which branch of engineering are you in?


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Old 12-15-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Chemical! I also also have an MS in Computer Science.

I'm actually a realist! By the way, we won't be going to Mars in your lifetime.

OLDMAN
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Old 12-15-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDMAN
Chemical! I also also have an MS in Computer Science.

I'm actually a realist! By the way, we won't be going to Mars in your lifetime.

OLDMAN
Oh Geez, the WORST kind, the only "exact" branch of engineering! You (or I) can always tell the most experienced engineering consultant, he's the one who estimates the project will cost the most and take the longest to complete!

Management does NOT appreciate realism!

I was not holding my breath for the Mars trip.

Mechanical P.E. here.
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Old 12-15-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDMAN
Engines do not swap out and in that easily. It will probably be more of a nightmare.

OLDMAN
OLDMAN is right. I was around in 1995 (or was it 1996) when Skip Barber changed out the original formula ford engines for the neon motors. It took them about 6 months to get it right. The neon motors weighed more than the fords, and were initially too powerful, with the result that brakes were fading out 1/2 way through races. They eventually put restrictor plates on to solve that problem (and may have altered the braking system as well). I also recall tales of overheating, and handling problems caused by the increased engine weight. Of course, SBRS did eventually sort the problems, and the neon engine served well for many years.

One would hope that some of the older hands at the school remember these teething problems, and are planning to switch the engine and chassis at the same time, rather than going through the pain of mating the Mazda engine to the car formerly known as the R/T 2000, only to roll out the new chassis a year later. Of course, the real issue is whether SBRS has enough neon engines in hand (or can continue getting them from Dodge at a reasonable cost) until the new chassis is ready. It sounds like a tough transition. Went through a similar "conversion" at work a few years back when a key electronic component on one of our products got discontinued, and we had to hustle to put a new design into production before our supply of old chips ran out. It was a harrowing process . . . . .
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Old 12-15-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

I remember the Ford to Dodge transition and agree with Oldman and Peter that it was a trying time. An oil cooler, restrictor plate, larger brakes, shocks and probably other changes later, we had the Formula Dodge. More changes produced the RT-2000.

If Mazda engines are to be substituted for Dodges in the RTs and Formula cars - rather than appearing only when the new car arrives - both conversions should undergo the kind of shake down and development undertaken with the new chassis as part of converting the present fleets.
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Old 12-18-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

does anybody know when they are going to come out with the new car
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Old 12-18-2006
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Unhappy Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

There may be a few in the know but so far no one has spilled the beans in our direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minibooth
does anybody know when they are going to come out with the new car
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Old 12-19-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by minibooth
does anybody know when they are going to come out with the new car
from a reliable source at Sebring who shall remain nameless the goal is end of 2007, but they haven't yet made a final decision on chassis. They will have to integrate it for a time with the current car until they have enough numbers to replace the entire fleet, but have not yet decided exactly how (fodder for a new thread?).

So don't throw away those track notes, looks like we'll be driving RTs (pardon me, Formula 2000s) for a while longer.
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Old 12-19-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by minibooth
does anybody know when they are going to come out with the new car
Given the expected challenges of blending a Mazda engine with the existing chassis, suspension, tires, etc., you might conjecture that each race weekend will have a "new car" for everyone to learn as adjustments are made during the periods between weekends.
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Old 12-19-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Will engines change in the current Skip Barber Formula car?

When will the new race car arrive?

Stay tuned to your local Skip Barber official press release for the answer!!
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Old 12-20-2006
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Talking Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo
Will engines change in the current Skip Barber Formula car?

When will the new race car arrive?

Stay tuned to your local Skip Barber official press release for the answer!!
Mikey's prediction:

1) Project Engineer's pessimism applies: It's a HUGE task to CONVERT 120 cars from one manufacturer's motor to another. Just too many things to mount, adapt, convert, relocate, plumb and wire. Then, make it work. Then, make it work well. Then, make it fit to race. It would be far easier to buy new cars set up for Mazda power from the get-go. I predict we won't ever drive the current chassis with Mazda power.

2) The Wunderkind Nationals get new chassis & Mazda motors first. Probably sometime this calendar year (2007). This will free up R/T chassis (er, MadzaSpeed Formula 2000) and Dodge motors to provide short term cannibalized spares for the regional series. Elder Nats get the second batch. Everybody else gets into the act sometime in '08. School cars soldier on as-is to the end of '08.

3) The six R/T's that survive the year of racing and cannibalization are sold to Wip Wawber Wacing in Bejing, China, along with the old pro series cars, where they are renamed the Formula Beloved Chairman Mao and Proletariat Formula Beloved Chairman Mao.
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Last edited by Rosso; 12-20-2006 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 12-20-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosso
Mikey's prediction:

1) Project Engineer's pessimism applies: It's a HUGE task to CONVERT 120 cars from one manufacturer's motor to another. Just too many things to mount, adapt, convert, relocate, plumb and wire. Then, make it work. Then, make it work well. Then, make it fit to race. It would be far easier to buy new cars set up for Mazda power from the get-go. I predict we won't ever drive the current chassis with Mazda power.

2) The Wunderkind Nationals get new chassis & Mazda motors first. Probably sometime this calendar year. This will free up R/T chassis (er, MadzaSpeed Formula 2000) and Dodge motors to provide short term cannibalized spares for the regional series. Elder Nats get the second batch. Everybody else gets into the act sometime in '08. School cars soldier on as-is to the end of '08.

3) The six R/T's that survive the year of racing and cannibalization are sold to Wip Wawber Wacing in Bejing, China, along with the old pro series cars, where they are renamed the Formula Beloved Chairman Mao and Proletariat Formula Beloved Chairman Mao.
Spot on.

You sound like Skip Barber himself: open, clear, sensible, practical.

One variation on your theme: I want to buy the last 3 school cars to run at Road America with friends.
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Old 12-20-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

One variation on your theme: I want to buy the last 3 school cars to run at Road America with friends.

John,
It's called a Crossle 35... what the FD used to be.
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Old 12-20-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Greist
One variation on your theme: I want to buy the last 3 school cars to run at Road America with friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rslonaker
John,
It's called a Crossle 35... what the FD used to be.
The R/T's are for his "friends". Greist is bringing the Kuzma/Offy.
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Old 12-20-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

If a group of Skippy drivers bought school cars or Crossle 35's and showed up to run 'em together it would be interesting to see if a perceptible difference in aggressiveness occurred knowing each had to wrench, trailer and repair 'em themselves or pay someone else handsomely to do so. :-) (No big team of mechanics, spare cars or limited crash damage)
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Old 12-20-2006
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Re: Skip Barber Mazda Linkage is Official!

Yup. If I could find the Kuzma-Offy it would be tempting, solid front axle and all. Same for the Kuzma dirt car.

I think we could keep a couple school cars running well for quite a while with a few spare parts. Greg Borland wrenched Crossle 35s as a Skippy mechanic before he raced them regionally and still tests the RTs at Road America. His shop now runs Formula Fords and Atlantics, but I hope I can persuade him to indulge my passion for a couple of these grand old cars if they become available.
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