Freedom Autosport Offers Driver Training to Marines LEJEUNE, N.C.--Freedom Autosport uses horsepower to show their support of men and women in the U.S. military both on and off the racetrack. On Saturday, Freedom Autosport staged a half-day ...
Freedom Autosport Offers Driver Training to Marines
LEJEUNE, N.C.--Freedom Autosport uses horsepower to show their support of men and women in the U.S. military both on and off the racetrack. On Saturday, Freedom Autosport staged a half-day driving program for Marines at Camp Lejeune as part of the HMH-464 Marine Squadron's annual family day.
Marines put their skills and their cars to the test, performing slalom, threshold braking and lane change exercises. The HMH-464 Squadron is comprised of CH-53 helicopter pilots and crew, but performance driving was a new kind of ground school for them.
"It really was an enjoyable experience to be able to give these Marines a chance to challenge their own four-wheel vehicle skills since they've been used to the challenges of flying their CH-53 helicopters overseas," says Freedom Autosport team manager Tom Long, who led the program.
Later that day, during a cookout for the Marines and their families, Freedom Autosport had their Mazda MX-5s, MAZDASPEED3s and team transporter on display. Plenty of kids were treated to a seat behind the wheel of the racecars.
Freedom Autosport participated in the event last year, but this year was the first time that a half-day driving program has been offered. For Lieutenant Colonel Tim Anderson, who coordinated the event, the program fills an important role in safety.
"Marines survive combat and come back thinking they're bulletproof," notes Lt. Col. Anderson. "You put them in a car and they think they're indestructible, and this program taught them how much they don't know. We lose about a battalion's worth of guys in off-duty incidents, and a lot of those are accidents on the road."
Freedom Autosport and Long Road Racing--which prepares the Freedom Mazdas--both received plaques in honor of their support and efforts. "Some people just say they support the troops, and some make a real commitment to it. Freedom Autosport says they support the military, and they mean it," says Lt. Col. Anderson.
Freedom Autosport team owner Derek Whitis is quick to praise the Marines of the HMH-464 Squadron. "It's really an honor to spend time with the men and women who protect our freedom every single day," says Whitis. "It's amazing to watch them drive through orange cones on a runway, knowing that shortly they'll be driving through the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan."
As always, Freedom Autosport will be supporting the troops when they race at Trois-Rivieres in two weeks for the next round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series.
-source: freedom autosport