SALINAS, Calif.—Freedom Autosport has a history with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that includes three double podiums and two wins. When GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge visits the iconic track this weekend, Freedom Autosport hopes to make it three wins in a row.
Freedom’s Mazda MX-5s have always been competitive at the 2.238-mile track. In 2009, Derek Whitis and Tom Long finished second in the No. 25 Mazda MX-5, followed by Andrew Carbonell and Rhett O’Doski in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5.
The series did not return to Mazda Raceway until 2011, when the team got another double podium in the ST class. It was much sweeter that time, with O’Doski and Carbonell taking the win, followed by their teammates in second.
Freedom Autosport repeated the one-two finish in 2012, with Whitis and Long leading the way.
Now, heading into round ten, the team has every reason to hope for their third victory. “Going to Mazda Raceway is such a great feeling for us because of our history with that track,” says Carbonell. “It’s exciting for us to go there each year, and the track is so perfect for the Mazda MX-5. Everything about Mazda Raceway is great: the layout, the elevation changes, the weather, and of course Monterey.”
“Mazda Raceway is a really important race for us,” says Whitis. “Not only do we want to perform well as a team, but it’s important to help put Mazda back into the manufacturer championship lead.”
“Considering our results there in the past, we’re very optimistic about this race,” says O’Doski. “Race strategy has been a vital part of our season, and it will be no different at Mazda Raceway. We need to run a clean, smart race.”
Freedom Autosport will also have a third entry this weekend. Freedom Autosport alumni and San Jose, California, resident Brad Rampelberg is teaming up with Mazda open-wheel and Rolex Series driver Joel Miller to pilot the No. 27 Mazda MX-5.
Following the race, the Freedom Autosport drivers and cars will head to Irvine, California, to participate in a Mazda Employee Day. Mazda employees will have a chance to learn more about Mazda’s motorsports program while getting an up-close look at the racecars and chatting with the drivers.
“Racing at Mazda Raceway is special for us both because of our past wins here and because of our relationship with Mazda,” says Long. “This is such a great opportunity for us to share our racing program with fans and Mazda employees alike.”
Freedom Autosport will have their sights set on their third consecutive win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when the 2.5-hour race gets underway at 10:00 a.m. PT on Sunday, September 8.