The Mazda Fan Festa in Okayama welcomed its fourth year this 2015. About 4,850 fans gathered in Okayama International Circuit, which exceeded last year’s 4,030 attendees.
There were various activities and programs in this event. A demo run, endurance race, and parade run for active racing cars like the Demio in the Super Taikyu Series, and the Roadster, in addition to the legendary cars like the 787B Le Mans machine, where they could look back on Mazda’s motorsports activities and the Family Rotary Coupe, were conducted at the circuit course.
Then the LM55 Vision Gran Turismo at the paddock was unveiled in Japan for the first time and it attracted the attention of many attendees. Talk shows and live performances were conducted on-stage, and then the Roadster NR-A and the Demio 15MB race cars were also exhibited at the booth beside the stage.
Among the activities, they also had a corner for discussion about production, which is a normal thing they do in Mazda. The engineers themselves explained about the concept and technologies in manufacturing cars, and they also explained about the things they need to look forward to with the fascinating points about their vehicles. They also talked about Mazda’s history up to now. Many parents and children enjoyed the experience in assembling dummy rotary engines, and the paper crafting corner for the Roadster.
Aside from the engineers, the executives and information employees also attended the event and participated in the endurance race (Mazda Fan Endurance). Managing Executive Officers Kiyoshi Fujiwara and Masahiro Moro and Chief Designer Ikuo Maeda joined the race as Jinba Ittai Executive Roadster Team.
Maeda expressed his fascination towards the precious moment of joining the race with Mazda fans. “This team also participated in the 4-hour endurance race against the Media Roadster team, and the atmosphere was different once again. It was even easier to start, because anyone can participate. Many of the attendees joined the race for the first time, and some of them came to Okayama for the first time. It’s great to do such thing.”
Many Mazda employees wanted to join the race, so the battle was tough. “Group 1 can join the 4-hours race, while Group 2 can only participate in regional races. If Group 2 provides good results, they can move up to Group 1, but once they level up, they should never fall back down,” said Maeda. “When we drove side by side, it seemed that we had authority towards each other,” Fujiwara jokingly said.
“You couldn’t almost see any occupants in the audience seats for this event. All of them joined the race and parade run, and they were also enjoying the booth. I think that only happens in Mazda.” As Moro said that, there really were only a few occupants in the audience seats. There were also other motorsport and automakers events in other places at that moment, but this event had a different atmosphere. The fans and employees enjoyed the cars together. That spirit was embodied on that day.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)