Speed News February 2016

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

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Page 23 of 97

J eremy Barnes, 48, is Mazda North American Operations' director of public relations and brand experience. Married with no children, Barnes owns a 1960 Healey Bugeye Sprite, a 1967 Jaguar E-type coupe and a Spec Miata he races with NASA SoCal. He has raced a Honda CRX, Volkswagen Sirocco, a Chevrolet Camaro, Mazda RX-7s, a Mazda6, a Mazda RX-8, Spec Miatas, a Mazda2 and Mazda's RX-7 IMSA GTO in historic racing. Q What racecars have you owned? A The first racecar I owned was a 1984 Mazda RX- 7, running in Spec7. I couldn't afford a trailer or tow vehicle at the time, so I had to drive it from Los Angeles, where I lived for work, down to San Diego and out to El Centro to race it. I parked it in a beach parking lot one day, and it was towed because I didn't have the money to renew the registration … yeah, those were the good and the bad days! My next racecar was another RX-7 I fitted a street-ported 13B in, and ran it in SCCA Radial Sedan, a bit of a catchall class like a NASA PT class. I had a blast with it, and won a bunch of races, set a bunch of lap records and won a regional championship. I sold the car, plus spares and a trailer, to a friend — and yes, he's still a friend! — for $5,000. He sold the car and trailer two years later for … yup, $5,000. Ah, the value of a used racecar. I rented and begged and borrowed cars for a while, and now I am the proud parent of a 1990 Spec Miata. Best racecar ever — fun, fast, competitive, cheap and … did I mention, fun? Q How many racecars have you had to write off after a crash? A I've written two racecars off, one Spec7, in about 1992 or so, and one RX-7 that ran in RS. I broke an axle and piled into a tire wall at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. Q What's the key to coming back, mentally, after you total a racecar? A I suppose it depends who you are, and what caused the crash. In my case, I'm a pretty positive and upbeat person, and I have a really strong sense of confidence in myself. With the Spec7 I wrote off, I simply ran out of talent. I was able to face that situation though, understand what I did wrong, and was able to put it behind me and move on. With the RS car, that was easier, because I managed to determine that a broken axle shaft inside the axle housing caused the car to snap sideways and slam into a tire wall. Once I got it home and figured out that it was a mechanical, rather than operator, failure, it was easy to move on from there. Q You drove the Mazda GTO RX-7 at the Goodwood Festival last year VIDEO Tell us what that was like. A Let's just say I'm a very lucky boy. Goodwood is a total bucket-list thing, and whether you get to drive it or just go to watch, you have to go! Imagine the entire Monterey experience in a space the size of Mazda Raceway – auctions, races, new cars, old cars, bikes, planes, auctions and everything else car-wise, and you have Goodwood. Trust me, just go. What's the car like to drive? This is a long story, but you did ask. First off, it's hot. And heavy. And loud. And all in a very, very good way. To start the car when it's cold is a bit of a production. The ECU is a bit primitive, so you Timeout With: Jeremy Barnes T I M E O U T W I T H . . . 24

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