(Irvine, Calif.). When the admiration is mutual, and the partnerships are among good friends, it’s easy to make fun things happen quickly. Racing legends Peter Brock and John Morton flew their famous #46 red, white, and blue pattern on a classic Japanese roadster at Road Atlanta earlier this month. The difference is that they drove a current brand of car, the most popular roadster ever sold or raced, the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
For many years, the annual Walter Mitty Challenge has been a favorite vintage race weekend on the East Coast. Mazda teamed up to sponsor the event with Classic Motorsports/Grassroots Motorsports and HSR in 2006. To add a dash of the new and modern, Mazda brought its popular SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup series to the vintage race weekend.
Each year, a racing legend is honored at the Mitty — for 2010, that honored legend was Peter Brock of Brock Racing Enterprises, aka BRE, fame. At this point, it’s not clear if the idea came from Mazda, from Classic Motorsports, HSR, a BRE fan, or elsewhere, but someone simply said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a BRE MX-5 in the Playboy race to honor Pete?”
With Mazda, good ideas can turn into reality with a few quick phone calls. The Mazda design team sketched up a proper BRE graphics job for the MX-5. The MAZDASPEED team called John Morton to verify his interest. Since John had also scored more than a few race wins with Mazda during his career, that connection was strong, and his desire to race remains strong. Finally, Pete and Gayle Brock were shown the sketch and pitched the idea. Everyone said yes.
Peter Brock — “It’s been some 37 years since a factory supported car in BRE livery sat on a racing grid. Seeing the new MX-5 in our traditional colors almost brings tears to my eyes. It’s wonderful that Mazda, a company that really loves, understands and supports racing of all kinds, has seen fit to honor our team’s great racing history with this new spirit of competition”
John Morton — “This Walter Mitty weekend is very special for me because it is bringing together so many facets that were significant in my racing career. First is the reunion and recognition of our championship winning BRE team that Peter Brock developed in the late sixties and that led me to two SCCA National Championships and two 2.5 Trans-Am Championships in the early seventies. Second is the opportunity Mazda has given me to race in a professional race in my sixth decade of competition. Twenty-six years ago I shared the BFG-sponsored, class winning Mazda Lola at Le Mans which was the beginning of a long relationship with both companies. The Mazda Miata MX-5 I will be racing at the Mitty, the only real modern sports car in mass production, is a reincarnation of the cars that started this sport in America in the late forties.”
Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Mazda North American Operations — “Mazda is a team of enthusiasts. Long before we began working behind the scenes for Mazda, we were race fans. We love the sport and the heritage. This opportunity to pay tribute to Pete, John, and the BRE team is something we did out of respect, with knowledge that there are others like us who appreciate the blending of heritage and modern sport.”
Mazda unveiled the car at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in the Mothers Polish display within the fan expo.
- 2010 marked the 40th Anniversary of John Morton winning the SCCA C Production (CP) Championship at Road Atlanta in a BRE prepared Datsun 240Z.
- 2010 marked the 40th Anniversary of Mazda selling cars in the United States.
- To learn more about BRE and the Peter Brock story, visit www.bre2.net
- Over the course of his career, John Morton has raced for just about every OEM and race car manufacturer including BMW, Cobra, Datsun, Eagle, Ferrari, Ford, Frisbee, Jaguar, Lola, Lotus, Mazda, Nissan, Porsche, and Toyota.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you’ll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 2,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America’s racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda’s involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world’s premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.