Like so many retired Canadians, Judy Laviolette and Michel Gosselin spent last winter in Florida. In January, the two Québécois hopped into the Mazda CX-5 they bought last year and covered 3,000 kilometres in three days to reach Hallandale Beach. “The car is so spacious and you can take everything with you, even golf clubs and supplies for four months,” says Judy. The CX-5 is the couple’s 15th Mazda—their first was a red 323 station wagon, bought in 1988. “It was so practical with three children,” explains Judy. Michel is a keen fisherman and the family regularly went on vacation to a cottage located in the Laurentians.
Among the Mazdas they’ve owned are two B200s, three MPVs, two Protegés, one Mazda5 and one Tribute. The reason for this loyalty? “Mazda’s famed reliability”—their worst mechanical problem was a defective fuse—and the outstanding service of Mazda Chatel, whose staff is “like a family to us. We were even able to try an MX-5 for free for a day.” Of all their Mazdas, a flamboyant green Mazda2 was Judy’s favourite. “When I retired a few years ago [after 37 years at Le Journal de Québec newspaper], we traded it in for a spell in the Florida sun.”
And their most memorable expedition? Judy recalls: “In 2014, we bought our first CX-5 in January and left: 65 days, 15,000 kilometres. From Quebec City to Vancouver and back, via Atlanta (to see my brother), Las Vegas (where we played golf) and San Francisco, before meeting our son in western Canada. It was wonderful.” During the long drives on the highways, Judy played the ukulele and the couple sang Beatles songs. This summer, Judy and Michel headed for the Laurentians after they loaded the new electric motor of their canoe in the CX-5. As for next winter, their place in Florida is already booked.
Mazda Team Joest: Hattrick heroes
Mazda Team Joest has enjoyed a series of triumphs in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with both cars topping the podium in a string of impressive victories.
The first came on June 30 at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen (at Watkins Glen), where the Mazda cars finished in first and second place, recording the manufacturer's first-ever win in the series. Just one week later and the team was at it again, this time at the Sportscar Grand Prix Presented by Acura at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 7 (pictured above). A race littered with incident and yellow flags eventually saw the two Mazdas come out on top, again finishing first and second.
But perhaps the most exciting victory came on August 4 at Road America, where the 2.40 hour sprint race climaxed in frantic style on the final lap. Mazda driver Harry Tincknell (in the number 55 car) went head to head with Dane Cameron in his Acura Team Penske car for the victory and, despite nearly conceding first place as he went wide in turn five, Tincknell managed to take the chequered flag by a margin of only 0.227 seconds. The sister car, piloted by Oliver Jarvis, came home in an impressive third to compete a hugely successful few months for the team.
You can watch the last few dramatic laps of the Road America race above, and discover more about Mazda’s incredible motorsport history here.
top red dot award for mazda3
The all-new Mazda3 has claimed the prestigious Red Dot: Best of the Best prize at the 2019 product design awards. Red Dot’s highest accolade is given to products whose designs are considered visionary and groundbreaking. The new Mazda3 was acclaimed for its less-is-more approach to design. Yasutake Tsuchida, chief designer of the car, explained: “Beauty through subtraction is the key principle behind the Mazda3’s design. But it’s more than just minimalism. Coming up with such a pure design requires much effort and refinement through trial and error.”
Red Dot’s international jury selected fewer than 100 products—from more than 5,500 entries from 55 countries—for the Best of the Best prize. Previous Red Dot prizes for Mazda’s Kodo—Soul of Motion models were awarded to the MX-5 RF (2017), MX-5 soft-top, CX-3 and Mazda2 (all 2015), the previous-generation Mazda3 (2014) and Mazda6 (2013).
“I purchased my MX-5 in April 2018 and over the last year I have been modifying it. We regularly attend car shows all across the U.K. and hope to expand to Europe next year.”
“I live an active lifestyle between surfing, snowboarding and mountain biking, so it was amazing to find a family-friendly car that would allow me to do the things I love, while at the same time be a responsible dad.”
“I fell in love with the CX-3 at a glance and knew that it was the car for me. It’s a thrill to drive while also having excellent safety performance.”
“After setting my eyes on the RF I knew I had to have one. Since I got one, it has endured endless hours of driving across the U.K. and a world record attempt, and created priceless memories.”
“A fun and reliable sports car that doesn’t break the bank, the MX-5 certainly lives up to its hype! Driving it brings a sense of occasion to every journey, whether it’s family or car parts in the passenger seat.”
Canadian Great Drives
In celebration of the MX-5’s 30th anniversary, Mazda Stories travelled the length and breadth of the United Kingdom to drive each generation of car on the roads that helped inspire its design. You can read that story here. But you don’t need to travel to the U.K. for a great time in your MX-5—here are some of this country’s unparalleled drives to inspire your next road trip.
1. Cape Breton (above), the craggy Nova Scotian island off Canada’s east coast, is a paradise of dramatic roads, rich history and premium eateries.
2. The Osoyoos Desert in British Columbia is Canada’s only semi-arid area and boasts a wealth of wildlife, good driving roads and fantastic wineries.
3. Icefields Parkway, less glamorously known as the Alberta Highway 93, is one of Canada’s legendary roads. It features some of the most epic scenery on the continent.
4. The Chemin du Roy is an historic route (the road was finished in 1737) that runs from Repentigny to Quebec and is an ideal trip for exploring the rich heritage of New France.
Dealer’s HelPing Hand For Animal Shelter
Atlantic Mazda, a dealership in New Brunswick, has been sponsoring animals at the Greater Moncton SPCA. The shelter, which takes in more than 3,000 animals each year, uses the funds to contribute towards the cost of some of their residents’ care during their stay. The dealership’s internet manager Alex Thebeau said: “Our sponsorship helps assist them in finding their forever home.” “The shelter will be featured at our 4th Annual Miata Mixer event, in the hope that attendees will meet the animals and fall in love, or even spread the word to friends and family who are searching for a companion.”
A spokesperson for the Greater Moncton SPCA said: “There are many ways to give back to the animals in need, and Atlantic Mazda gives every month to sponsor an animal in their name.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for our donations as every little bit helps when working at a not for profit organization.”
To find out more about how to help an animal at the Greater Moncton SPCA, visit www.monctonspca.ca/support-us/donations
Photo: Tracy Munson.
THE OKANAGAN VALLEY MIATA CLUB
Situated in the heart of the Okanagan, in British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley Miata Club (OVMC) has a membership that stretches from Osoyoos to Kamloops. Between March and October, monthly meetings are held in various locations up and down the Okanagan Valley, taking in various driving routes and activities. OVMC members enjoy taking their MX-5s on drives throughout the valley.
Every two years, during the third week of May, the OVMC hosts a two-day event called the Topless Sun Run, held in a variety of places around the Okanagan. Attendees come from all over Canada and the U.S. to enjoy the twisty roads and great views. The money raised is donated to charity. Over the last six years the OVMC has donated over $10,000 to various charities around the Okanagan.
MAZDA SUMMER TOUR
Drivers in ten cities across Canada got the opportunity to try the Mazda3, MX-5 and CX-5 Turbo on the Mazda Drive Experience over the summer. Fans and owners were able to savour the performance, precision and human-centric design of all three models on the closed course test drive event. Starting in Vancouver, the Mazda Drive Experience visited Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, Quebec City, London and Montreal before wrapping up in Ottawa.
INTERVIEW: Mazda Technician Nicolas Martin
This issue we visit Mazda de Laval in Quebec to chat with Master Technician and father of two Nicolas Martin.
How long have you worked with Mazda?
It’ll be 15 years in November since I got the call from Mazda to join their team. I’ve been a Master Technician since April 2014.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
To constantly be in some kind of research mode. Every car is a challenge, and I like diagnosing the problem and then finding the solution to repair it. When I go looking for trouble, the day goes more quickly because I’m always doing something different.
Has technology changed the way that you work with cars?
We send each car that comes to the garage through a scanner that reads the codes listed inside parts of the vehicle. Before that we would follow charts to search for the right voltage and wires. But we still use our old-school techniques. When there’s a problem that’s being solved by a human being, it’s intuition and your own abilities that solves it.
What’s your favourite car that you’ve worked on?
Last year at the Montreal Auto Show I worked on a yellow 1993 RX-7—there aren’t many of those around now. It wasn’t starting, so I was called to the venue to investigate. When I fixed the car and drove it into the van, it was a very special moment for me.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I’d like to continue working for Mazda Canada, eventually transitioning to a dealership. As time passes it becomes more difficult to work as a mechanic, because the noises and chemical products take their toll on your body.
Which Mazda model would you recommend to friends and family?
A CX-9—it’s an affordable luxury car that’s also fuel efficient. There’s so much conversation about the environment now, so it’s a great option, especially if you have a family like me.