Saturday, Chris and I went to the Mazda Zoom Zoom Live! Event in the suburbs of Chicago. What is a Zoom Zoom Live! Event? Mazda provides cars (MAZDA3, MAZDA5, MAZDA6, MX-5 Miata, RX-8) from the current model year for event participants to Test Drive.
The test drives are unique in that they are full challenge courses. The MX-5 Miata was featured in two courses the Jinba Ittai challenge and the Performance challenge. Jinba Ittai translates to "Rider and Horse as One", this course was a slow-speed precision driving test. A mechanism is attached to the hood of the vehicle consisting of a deep bowl and a shallow bowl with three golf balls in the shallow bowl. The goal being to complete the course as quickly as possible while avoiding the penalty incurred by losing the golf balls out of the shallow bowl.
The performance challenge, as you might guess, is an all out autocross course designed to put the Miata through it's paces. The target time was 37.5. Chris turned the faster time between the two of us at 38.3 but hit a cone nearly equaling my time of 39.425. The rematch although an option never happened because of the one hour wait. We got to meet Stu Hayner (pictured here in glasses) although I had know idea who he was Chris recognized him from the SpeedWorld challenge series as well as many other series.
The gymkhana challenge is a skills test, race the course and match the target time exactly. This event also offered the largest variet of cars in the MAZDA3, MAZDA5, and MAZDA6. Using Chris' stopwatch we got close and each earned 25 prize points by getting within a half second of the target 26 seconds. It was a fun challenge but, the one and a half hour plus wait was ridiculous.
Our first event and the final I'll describe was the School of Zoom. This event wasn't timed nor were points awarded simply take a 2006 RX-8 and enjoy it on a large autocross course after listening to a 5 minute lecture about proper braking, accelerating, and apexing. It was over in a flash but, it was fun.
At the end of the day we left with some Mazda propaganda and some give-aways (Hat, pen, t-shirts etc). And the price tag on this day of driving sports cars? Nada. That's one way to make fans.