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Mazda Announces MRT24 Shootout Finalists

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#41
Ron Alan

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Based on Recent history, being over 25 going into the Shootout, you are already at a disadvantage. That said, based on what I know about the shootout data, and the level of commitment that Mark put in to get where he is, was just a really sad decision.
Don't get me wrong, not taking anything away from the winner and what he did at the shootout, but that Mazda feels sim racing is equivalent to the grassroots method.

That said, I will concede someone way smarter and younger than me has convinced Mazda that the exposure in the on-line community of this decision will lead to more sales$$$$.

And to those who say maybe the decision was based on need(or should be)...I really hope not. The prize really is not adequate enough to properly fund a competitive season. The winner has to come with more...and be prepared to spend it. If not...there is a good chance said driver may not seem to be on there game. Those not in the know will find it easy to 2nd guess why and maybe even call them the 2nd best. Just the way it goes...

Best of luck to Glenn...he will be among stiff competition for sure!!

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#42
Caveman-kwebb99

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It seems aparent to me that Iracing is kicking into this thing with support or money etc. Their racers have Iracing suits provided by Iracing from the looks of it, the MIC that everyone talks into has their LOGO etc etc etc.

 

Not suprised in the slightest that the iracing guy won this, andf no disrespect for his tallent.  To me the iracing guys should have thier own shoot out and the guys racing for real spending the kind of money we are should have ours!  

 

While I beleive iracing is way more then a computer game, it is not the same as having the skin in the game that we all do... and the comitment to buy and maintain a real race car from MAZDA, is being discounted here IMO.

 

and Yes Djohny its their game and their rules and they can do with it what they want, but i do believe it hurts their end game withg those of us who choose to race their product on an actual racetrack!  


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#43
Chad Martin

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Their $,
Their rules,
Their games,
Their decision.

Get the idea ?
J~

 

Yep, pretty sure i covered that idea extensively.   Certainly their decision as to if they care about the opinion of those that spend thousands in parts with them.



#44
Steve Scheifler

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Topgear touched on this but to add emphasis, if you had two drivers who were very comparable in testing and you wanted to award the prize to the one with the best long-term potential, would it be the highly experienced driver who may be near his personal best, or the near beginner still early on the learning curve?

Not to suggest that this is comparable to F1, but for an extreme example of the same logic take a look at Max Verstappen's racing resume compared to others who were considered for that seat.

And of course, it makes a great story for lots of free press.
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#45
Johnny D

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How about Mark already received 1 or $200K from winning East and West so share the wealth?

 

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#46
Caveman-kwebb99

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Mark spent more to win those weekends then he got in contingency that's for damn sure...

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#47
Johnny D

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What does how much he spent has to do with it?  Should he get a lawyer for damages ?

 

Time will tell.

 

Congrats to Glenn.

J~


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#48
Caveman-kwebb99

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Glen should be the one to share with Mark ;)

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#49
Chad Martin

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It's definitely indicative of the pervasive "buy-low, sell high" mentality in racing these days.  Everyone wants to find and be the one to bring the next phenom into the lime-light.  Young racers are cheap and hungry.  And if one happens to pick the right kid, you have a gold mine on your hands.  I'd argue this is still a very low probability equation.  This has perpetuated the thought that if one has not made it by 25 they have little value (or they would have already made it), and can't compete.  While it may be true that occasionally a magic combination of natural talent and youthful naivety makes for a ridiculously fast and competitive driver, I think it's equally as likely that guys with natural talent and experience could achieve the same level and longevity of success.   Or maybe a guy just didn't start until later, but could potentially have the same perchance for talent and some life perspectives that make him more valuable.   I guess for now the cool thing is to go after the kids and try to find that golden boy.   Today, age is your worst enemy if you have not already made it in racing.

 

Of course being independently wealthy solves the problem entirely. 



#50
LarryKing

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In the not too distance future all motorsports will be driverless drones piloted by 14 year olds using a monitor and joystick.

 

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#51
Jamz14

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I read with interest peoples comments about an IRacer winning the shootout. Before I continue, there is no doubt that Mark is a champion and deserves to win. With nothing else considered, he would be who I would want to see win this thing.

 

That said, I find it ironic; people complain that it takes money to win and the system unfairly advantages those with money. Then when an I racer wins, the same people say the I racer doesn't deserve it because he has no skin in the game. So which is it? Regardless of the answer to that question though, people are forgetting that getting into the shootout is not the goal. Winning the shootout is not the goal. Winning the MX 5 cup the first season after you earn the scholarship is the goal. Being able to sustain your driving progression after the scholarship season is the goal. To do that you need to drive in real life. That takes money. Any I Racer winner of this thing will have plenty of "skin in the game" if they wish to continue their career, if they wish to win the cup the first year. The winner of this thing will still need to produce anywhere from 50-100K in additional funds to cover the season. How much is enough before you feel they have enough skin invested?

 

In addition, if I were advising a young driver I would tell them that if you really want to increase your chances of getting into the shootout, and then winning it, don't limit yourself just to the I Racing track into the shootout. There are at least 4 viable option into the shootout for any one particular driver. There is no reason why you can't do I racing, NASA champs, and SCCA runoffs for not only SM but other classes as well. Pick at least two. I racing and a real world track. That way you increase your odds, and are prepared to win which is the real goal.

 

And lastly, regardless of everything above, Glenn obviously can drive and earned his victory and that in no way takes away that Mark did too. Could you have asked for trickier conditions than what they encountered? And Glenn still drove fantastic. So whether you like it or not, I think that the GT academy and I racing programs are proving that racing simulations are valid training tools. If your issue is with sim drivers being fast without having to drive as much as you, get on a sim. If your real desire is the actual thrill of driving in reality, then who cares that someone else was able to get fast without spending as much money as you. The experience of reality is worth it. I'd rather be at the track with a fully loaded up car in a fast sweeper than sitting on the couch listening to the wheels slide on my speakers. I bet the I racers would too. But not everyone, especially young people on their own, have the funds of old wealthy guys :).


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#52
RazerX

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Purely from a marketing perspective, I think Mazda is making mistake here.  I did a lot of marketing in my career.

 

Mazda loves to say; "More Mazda's are raced on any given weekend than any other make.",  That has been generating a 'halo' effect of perceived performance and avid racers with a factory backed discounted parts and contingency.  They 'buy' some loyalty and in marketing speak, we(racers) are the 'mavens' and recommend Mazda's to non racers as good performing cars.   However rewarding Mazda money without driving a Mazda is a mistake IMHO for Mazda.  i do love that Mazda runs a ladder program, and awarding the best driver is the most unselfish support of Motorsports, but honestly that never gets the press, and doesn't make Mazda maximum revenue for dollar invested.  

 

Mazda is not agent for the drivers so who cares if the shootout winner is the next Max V, Alonso, or Jeff G.  Mazda pays the same money each year, regardless of who or how talented any one driver is.  They will pay for each person who makes it up the ladder, into another Mazda dedicated series, only at the Indy 500 may it matter.  But if you think about it, you have potential young racers watching the Indy 500, and winning drivers started in a Miata.  "Dad we need to get a race Miata", is way different to Mazda sales than "Dad, we need iRacing", Gran Turismo or any other video game on a high end computer.   Remember GT academy works for a financial model for Sony because they sell more video games(they are the publisher) and consoles which is what they make. 

 

I am not debating the merits of computer simulators, or who is the best driver.  I am simply pointing out Mazda benefits more from people racing Miatas and Mazdas than a sim.  I am sure when the program was sold to the Mazda BOD, as I have sold marketing programs, it is about future sales, revenue and brand equity.  If the board were to read many of the points in this thread, about less brand loyality to Mazda at grassroots of racing, i think they would be asking some tough questions.

 

Also as a Marketing story, I think Mark is more interesting and a reverse trend, than a young kid playing video games and get a real racing scholarship, been done at least 10 times before, yawn.  I could do a hellavue a story about the talented guy who 20 years ago didn't get the break he needed but is still as talented and fast as anyone else.  Let's give this guy a shot.  Again financially it doesn't matter to Mazda if Mark makes it one more or 10 more years, they pay out the same money.   I could totally swing this "Old Guy Wins Mazda's Coveted Shootout Sponsorship (sorry Mark we are the same age) into their Ad campaign about the inner child and inner racer for the new Miata.  Oh, BTW, who buys new Mazdas?  Kids or Adults? 

 

Before you guys get me wrong, I am an old gamer, i worked in the game industry and for the company who produced 'Grand Prix Legends', and still play games.  But as I started this thread, from a marketing and $$$ perspective this was a mistake.

 

 

- D


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#53
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Razer X,

You present a good argument and its one I want to support as an active RL racer. Let me present a counter marketing argument.

I would guess there are less than 2,000 active RL Mazda amateur racers world wide at the moment with an average age of 45. I would be surprised if this "market" grows more than 10% in the next decade. If that. Further more, other than supporting Mazda by buying heavily discounted parts for thier race cars, I suspect that active racers don't support Mazda by buying daily drivers in statistically significant numbers. This group represents the "already reached" for Mazda and they support us well.

On the other hand IRacing (alone) claims 60,000 racers and I think it's reasonable to assume that thier average age is at least a decade younger than RL racers. Whats the "market" growth potential for IRacing over the next decade? I have no idea, but 100% seems highly conservative to me. Mazda does not currently have access to all these enthusiasts.

If I was sitting on the Mazda USA BOD and a marketing budget proposal (including admin) of over $200,000 was put on the table and I was asked to select a market to support - there is no question which direction I would vote.

CNJ
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#54
Jim Drago

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My previous comment had nothing do to with the winner I don't know him.

But my comment stands. In my opinion this scholarship should be(always was) meant for racers racing mazdas. Doesn't seem right that you can sit at home playing a "video game" and win it.

The winner may very well be the best driver, marketer, speaker, etc at the competition. But he wasn't out there weekend after weekend representing mazdas by racing them.

I agree with this 100%, winning a Mazda racing scholarship without ever racing a Mazda against others that have raced Mazdas for years does not seem like a good decision IMO either.

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#55
Steve Scheifler

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Are they competing in the virtual MX5 on iRacing?
Continuing to play devil's advocate, as CNJ is saying are you all factoring in at all the marketing value, for Mazda and club racing in general, of the countless sim drivers seeing that their experience is transferable to the real world? Aren't we allways looking for ways to get more people out there, and to move from solo and DE into club level competition? Not suggesting that should be a major factor in favor of someone in the final choice, but it does have "marketing" value. Regardless, I too was pulling for Mark but I would like to think that in the end they voted for the person they thought would do the best job overall representing Mazda. And they have ALWAYS been very clear that quickest laps was not the only criteria.
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#56
Jamz14

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With the logic you guys are using, so much for mazda supporting Karter coming into sports cars. Mazda doesn't make karts so they can't support a Karter becoming a new Mazda driver and new mazda customer.

What you guys are forgetting is that they care about NEW customers. You market to new revenue streams, not existing as much. Heal the sick not the healthy, preach to the lost not the saved, etc.
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#57
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I must have missed it I didn't think there were any karters in the shootout. My bad.
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#58
Ron Alan

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ouch...


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#59
Mark

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If new, read young, customers are what Mazda is seeking then the current Miata TV ads are in direct conflict with this goal and quite opposite of what the shootout winner represents I guess. Those old guy ads make me NOT want to buy a Miata. I am NOT that guy. Yet. 

 

Mark

 

 


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#60
Jamz14

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Glenn has some karting background. But you miss the point.
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