This weekend, (Sunday 27 June 2004), saw the second race meeting of the UK’s first all-woman race series the Privilege Insurance Formula Woman Championship. The 16 female contestants battled for a podium position at Knockhill race circuit in Scotland driving in identical race-prepared Mazda RX-8 sports coupés, showing off their increasing driving ability and confidence coupled with the car’s sporty handling and performance in front of the TV cameras.
TV coverage of Formula Woman starts on 11 July on ITV1’s Speed Sunday motorsport programme alongside the British Grand Prix.
Scotland’s Margo Gardner from Stirling showed her increased proficiency behind the wheel of the Mazda RX-8 with two sensational drives to claim back-to-back wins on home turf.
The exciting close-fought race action demonstrated the Mazda RX8’s attributes at their best, with the unique rotary engine providing plenty of power and torque from the low speeds round tricky corners through to the top speeds required on the longer straights of the 1.3-mile track. The newly developed chassis system, double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, give the Mazda RX-8 excellent handling characteristics ensuring the female drivers can have every confidence in their vehicle and concentrate on race-craft and winning.
Each Mazda RX-8 Formula Woman racecar is identical in performance to the road-going version producing 231ps at 8,200 rpm and achieves maximum torque of 211Nm at 5,500 rpm. It sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 6.4 seconds, racing on to a top speed of 146 mph.
Mazda RX-8 has been designed and constructed to provide the best in driving safety and this applies on the track too. The Mazda RX-8 is extremely well balanced and delivers class-leading handling, precise steering and excellent driving behaviour under all driving and racing conditions.
Each Mazda RX-8 is a standard road-going model that has been prepared with the necessary safety modifications, (including roll cage, fire extinguishers and race seats), to comply with MSA (Motor Sport Association) safety regulations. In addition, Mazda RX-8 offers the latest in active safety technology. Anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and the all-important dynamic stability control (DSC) with a traction control system (TCS) as well as a limited slip differential (LSD) all contribute to a safe driving experience for the most enthusiastic Formula Woman driver.
Mazda has worked closely with Formula Woman to appoint a team of experienced motorsport technicians to look after the 16 racecars alongside Mazda Motors UK technical department to oversee the preparation of the cars. Before and after each round the Mazda RX-8s undergo a rigorous inspection as well as the safety checks required for scrutineering.
"The Mazda technical team works efficiently with our technicians to ensure any replacement parts are fitted after each qualifying session or round. It’s usually just bumpers or headlights, which often get knocked in this type of circuit racing. Any damaged parts are changed in time for the next round which keeps our drivers happy and ready to race again," explained Graeme Glew Formula Woman creator.
Jeremy Thomson marketing director for Mazda UK added: "The Mazda RX-8 really is a new departure for sports coupés in the same way that Formula Woman is an innovation in motorsport - the first all-woman race series for the UK.
"The Mazda RX-8 is a car that is both functional and exciting to drive and stunning to look at and will continue to change the way people think about sports cars especially as the ITV1 coverage kicks off. The series continues with round 5 on 4 July at Cadwell Park, a technical and difficult circuit that is sure to bring exciting viewing for spectators and TV viewers."
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