Mazda 3 at AMP – Track Night

Took my commuter car to Atlanta Motorsports park for Track Night

Track Night in America is a program by SCCA that allows you to take street cars on the race track for fun. They have some quirky rules like no lap timing and passing only by point by and only in certain sections of the track but it is a cheap fun way to go fast safely in a street car.

I have taken several different cars to AMP: My Talon, our RX7 track car, our Porsche 944 race car and this time my commuter car, a Mazda 3. EAch car has taught me some different things about how to drive the track.

While the little Mazda is pretty quick on the street, it showed it is no sports car once I got it on the track. I had swapped on some of our used Hankook race tires so I had good rubber under me. But, the little 2.0 motor running through an automatic was really lacking in power.

Also the brakes were not really up to the task. I had to make sure I used them in short bursts at the edge of bringing in the ABS to keep them from overheating.

The shocks and springs are also way too soft for my liking. While they made curb hopping and gator running a non event, they really let the car wobble around on corner entry. The quick switch backs of corners 2, 3 &4 were kinda unsettling. Also, the downhill turn into the long sweeper on the back of the course was pretty unnerving as well.

Overall it was huge fun to go fast int he little car. I kept up with my run group and I did not feel like I was holding anyone up. But I was several second slower than a typical lap in the 944.

Some in car video is posted on Youtube.

Here are some photos from Fast Lane Photography: