Touring Car Adventure [ Mazdaspeed Motorsports ]

Original article content sourced from Mazdaspeed Motorsports:

What happens when you throw a Spec Miata driver into a high-powered MAZDASPEED3 in a US Touring Car Championship race?
She does pretty well, actually.

Geri Armani had the opportunity to race her first USTCC race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at the end of June – a right place/right time kind of thing, she says – and finished fourth in the TNI Racing/SanDisk MAZDASPEED3. It was a new experience for the driving coach and creative professional who specializes in photography, Web design, public relations and social media marketing for a variety of clients in the motorsports industry.

ArmaniPose“The series is kind of an unfamiliar format for me. I hadn’t done anything like Touring Car before. They have the standing start, two-session qualifying … I’m not used to having more than one opportunity to put a quick lap down,” she says.

“The race start was kind of a wild card,” she continues. “There was an incident in the first turn and it became more of an accident avoidance. Then we went full-course yellow and waiting for the restart. Slowly but surely, people started making mistakes and falling off the pace and, if you’re consistent, you can make up those spots. Before you know, I was right on the third-place guy’s tail. We had this yo-yo effect for a while. He was falling off for a bit and I was catching up. But it was tough to get around.”

Armani is currently leading the San Francisco Region SCCA points in Improved Touring A, racing a ’92 Miata prepared for Spec Miata. Going from that car to the MAZDASPEED3 with front-wheel drive and almost triple the horsepower was a bit of an adjustment.

“I don’t really change a ton from car to car. They all have their inherent characteristics. I’m familiar with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive; front-wheel drive, it was kind of manipulating some of my old habits from all-wheel drive, meaning you want to plant the gas a whole lot earlier and more aggressively than, say, a higher-powered rear-wheel drive car. But, really, turn-in points were relatively the same. You have to manage the throttle because it’s heavily boosted, and you have to manage push and not let that get the best of you coming out of the corners,” she explains.

Armani notes that she’s heard a lot of people say you’ve got to be prepared for massive misbehavior with front-wheel drive, but that’s not what she experienced. “If you understand what minimum speed is, you can carry that from platform to platform,” she says. “Overall, a car is a car. It’s got four wheels, a steering wheel, a throttle and a brake. It’s really how you use those and how you ask the car to do what you want it to do. You can’t force anything.”


Posted on 09/07

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