Club Focus: The Miataphiles
The Miataphiles group started in 2001 when a young, new Miata owner posted on a Yahoo Group inquiring of other young Miata owners in the Toronto area. A few people came out for an evening meeting, and agreed that they’d converge again the following week on the same night. This simple premise became the foundation that has kept the Miataphiles going for almost 20 years. We are a diverse bunch of enthusiasts, brought together by the love of this fantastic roadster.
Our members own models spanning all four generations and many have owned multiple Miatas. Each year our club hosts many events, including a Spring Kick Off meet, tech days, driving tours and a year-end dinner. Many members also compete in autocrosses and track days, and we’ve also had Miatas enrolled in race series as well.
While winter storage is prevalent among our members, that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to meet in person throughout the off-season in our OTMs (Other Than Miatas). When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we could no longer gather, we quickly transitioned our weekly meets to the virtual realm.
There were some interesting advantages to these Zoom sessions as we got to see spouses and pets who don’t usually come out, and there was no getting stuck in rush-hour traffic. Topics of conversation are always surprisingly diverse, but will consistently involve the status of members’ various car-related projects, and fantasy car shopping online.
As the weeks rolled on, it became obvious that we wouldn’t be able to have our usual Spring Kick Off meet, so we did that on Zoom too. Some members joined in from their garage or driveway, while others opted for a picture of their Miata as a virtual background instead.
As the restrictions on group gatherings are now starting to lift, we have dipped a toe in the water and had one in-person meeting. For the past several years we have had a tradition of going to a particular BBQ restaurant on the first Wednesday of every month. Since we missed our scheduled April, May and June dates, we were eager to return. Late in June, with perfect weather, ten of us got orders to go, sat in folding chairs in a nearby field (suitably distanced apart), and dreamed of better times ahead for our driving season.
WATCH: 100 YEARS OF MAZDA
This year is, of course, a very special one for Mazda as it marks 100 years since its foundation in 1920. The company originally started out as a cork manufacturer, but moved into vehicle production within a decade. To celebrate the centenary, a special video has been produced that records some of the landmark moments in the firm’s history and pays tribute to some of its most significant cars.
Turbo Boost to 2021 Mazda3
Mazda has added a turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5 T engine to the 2021 Mazda3 offering, bringing an extra level of excitement to an already refined driving experience.
With an impressive 250hp and 320 lb-ft of torque (premium fuel) or a solid 227hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (regular fuel), the GT Turbo model is paired with the i-Activ all-wheel drive (AWD) system to deliver greater responsiveness and enhance driver confidence.
The fourth-generation Mazda3 has been hailed for its bold yet sophisticated styling. The GT Turbo model boasts exclusive features such as larger tailpipes, 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels, gloss-black heated door mirrors, and a “TURBO” badge on the trunk and engine cover. The Mazda3 GT Turbo sedan also features a gloss-black front grille and sleek lower front bumper decoration.
The Mazda3 GT Turbo comes with i-Activsense safety technologies such as Mazda Radar Cruise Control with stop and go function, Smart Brake Support, Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning System with Lane-Keep Assist, Driver Attention Alert, Adaptive Front-lighting System and High Beam Control.
The Skyactiv-G 2.5 T engine is available on the Mazda3 GT and Mazda3 Sport GT and comes standard with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, Bose® 12-speaker premium audio, 8.8-inch large centre display with Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio, two front USB inputs and Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry.
Safety Award for First-Ever CX-30
The Mazda CX-30 has received a 2020 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The new small SUV earned good ratings in all six crash tests, when equipped with the standard headlights. To find out how Mazda achieves such outstanding safety scores worldwide, click here.
“Even after retiring from use as a rental car my little Mazda2 has many miles of zipping around left to deliver. It is reliable, easy to repair and fun to drive.”
“I love my Capella because of its stunning bodywork. The beautiful design (with round side mirrors and shiny metallic colour) turns heads wherever I drive. It’s one of a kind in Finland.”
“The main reason I love my Mazda is because of how it drives. Every corner feels amazing, the ride is smooth and it’s quick to respond. That’s why I chose Mazda over anyone else.”
"In 1995 a neighbour happened to have parked their brand new, sparkling RX-7 in their driveway... I knew at that very moment I was destined to someday own and modify one.”
“When I finished university, my dad bought me this 323. Even though it is quite old, it has more life than many new cars. It is a Japanese car that steals attention despite its years.”
WATCH: MAZDA MOTORSPORTS MOMENTS
Whet your appetite for the return of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship by watching Mazda Motorsports Moments on YouTube. Produced during lockdown, the seven episodes of the video series features driver interviews and behind-the-scenes insight reflecting on the 2019 breakthrough season, when Mazda recorded a hat-trick of memorable victories. Search for Mazda Motorsports Moments or click on the link below.
Mazda 100th anniversary editions
To celebrate Mazda’s centenary, a limited number of the 100th Anniversary Edition models will be released in Canada. The editions are the Mazda3, Mazda3 Sport, CX-5, CX-9, MX-5 Soft Top and MX-5 RF.
The special editions pay tribute to the company’s first passenger vehicle, the R360, by way of a two-tone colour scheme, which was a feature of high model grades of the R360. Inside the vehicles, red features prominently, appearing on the seats, carpets and mats, while a special 100th Anniversary logo is used on the headrests and keyfob.
The unique heritage-inspired look of Snowflake White Pearl exterior and Garnet Red interior features on the Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition.
Imsa CONFIRMS RETURN TO ACTION
IMSA has confirmed plans for its race series to return to action following the enforced absence caused by the coronavirus. A revised calendar for 2020 has been published, with the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship having resumed on July 4 at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
However, to ensure social distancing regulations are adhered to, no fans will be in attendance. The series will then visit Sebring International Raceway in Florida on July 17, before further stops at Virginia, Laguna Seca, Wisconsin, Ohio, Watkins Glen, Atlanta and Lime Rock Park. The season is scheduled to conclude with the 12 Hours of Sebring in November.
“IMSA is grateful to all of our promoter partners for collaborating with us to develop a revised schedule of outstanding events,” said IMSA President John Doonan.
“Our priority since March has been to get back to racing as safely and as quickly as possible, and this revised schedule is evidence of that. We appreciate the patience, cooperation and input of our IMSA stakeholders, and we all are very much looking forward to going racing again.”
Mazda made an excellent start to the season with Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla claiming second place in the Daytona 24 Hours in January in the RT24-P prototype.
YOUR CHANCE TO SEE INSIDE CLASSIC MAZDAS
Would you like to be behind the wheel of some of the most iconic Mazdas ever made? Well, now you can, thanks to a new series of 360-degree interior videos produced by Mazda UK to mark the company’s centenary. Models featured include the Cosmo Sport, RX-3, RX-7, RX-8 and MX-5. Check them out via the link below.
GAME ON WITH MAZDA RX-VISION
One of Mazda’s most exciting concept cars—the RX-Vision—is now available to drive. Sadly, it’s only in the virtual world, but the vehicle, developed exclusively for Gran Turismo Sport on PlayStation®4, still conveys the joy of driving that Mazda engineers into its real-world cars.
The RX-Vision GT3 has received a few enhancements over the original concept car, adopting a more aggressive appearance; there’s an increase in both the front and rear track width and the width of the fenders. But the most exciting news for Mazda fans is the introduction of the next-generation rotary engine. To meet the required engine output for its class, the RX-Vision GT3 mounts a four-rotor Skyactiv-R engine in the lightweight chassis.
Players over the age of 18 who use a Mazda are automatically eligible to participate in the FIA-certified Gran Turismo Championship. This competition pits players from around the world against one another during the 2020 season, with winners progressing to regional finals and a world final. For more about the GT Championship, click the link below.
Get to Know: Mazda Master Technician Tom McKenzie
We visit Harris Mazda in Nanaimo, British Columbia, to chat with 34-year-old Master Technician Tom McKenzie
How long have you worked for Harris Mazda?
It will be a decade this year. I came in as a licensed tech and within four years I began training to become a Master Technician. I joined the company at a great time: there were a lot of new models coming out as well as new technology, so I gained a lot of knowledge fairly quickly.
Have you always been a fan of Mazda?
I’ve always admired the design of Mazda vehicles. From a mechanical point of view, they’re beautifully built, but aren’t over-engineered to the point where they’re difficult to work with. I’ve also learned a lot about rotary engines and now I’m the go-to guy on the shop floor when it comes to working with them!
Do you own any Mazdas?
I have a CX-9, which comes in very handy when I’m taking my two sons, Landon and Chase, to their hockey games. It has a pretty large trunk, which is essential for fitting in all of their hockey gear as we navigate beginners’ tournaments and little entries. But I’m also a huge fan of the CX-5.
What inspired you to work in the industry?
It’s a family affair. My grandfather owned a small, independent service station on Gabriola Island and also had a shop. I worked there from the age of 12 and even gained my Red Seal by apprenticing under a licensed mechanic at the shop. Now my eldest son wants to follow in my footsteps and work as a mechanic for Harris Mazda.
What’s a typical working day like for you?
It’s chaos, truthfully! I show up first thing in the morning, get everything unlocked and by then usually have a line of customers to serve. Between helping the apprentices and checking the equipment I’m pretty much moving all day. Every day has its own little challenges but I love keeping busy. I’ve still got a lot of life left in me to be wrenching in the shop.
What advice would you give anyone aspiring to be a Master Technician?
Stick with it and do the best that you can. It’s a rewarding feeling being on top and having people rely on you. It’s one of those things that’s something to strive for and an accomplishment to be proud of.