Mazda captures why we love racing in one video (VIDEO)

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Words often fail to describe the essence and pure love of racing, even though I try on a daily basis to capture that feeling. I wouldn’t be doing what I am now if it wasn’t for that feeling.

This video from Mazda sums it up rather well though.

In a new video called “The Driver In All Of Us,” a number of Mazda drivers – primarily in sports car racing – describe how racing stirs their soul.

Even though it’s produced by Mazda, it doesn’t feel as though it sets out to be just a brand video for Mazda. It just works in terms of how driving has enriched each of the lives of those who are featured within it.

Two particular heartwarming stories I’ll point out here. One is Kenton Koch, who I rate as one of the true top young talents in the country.

Koch, who when he isn’t driving doubles as one of North America’s tallest drivers and a student at Cal St. Fullerton, has risen through the Mazda MX-5 Cup ranks and IMSA Prototype Lites, where he won championships in both.

But a year ago, his mom, Karen, was undergoing a heart transplant. A year later, Kenton came back to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the Prototype Challenge class in his debut – taking the checkered flag in the JDC/Miller Motorsports Oreca FLM09 he shared with Stephen Simpson, Misha Goikhberg and Chris Miller – and his mom was there on site to witness it.

The second is Liam Dwyer, the U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. turned driver who’s won races and contended for championships in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST class driving a Mazda MX-5 for Freedom Autosport.

Dwyer may only have one leg because he lost his left leg in Afghanistan. But he uses his right one to wheel his No. 26 car all season to the best of his abilities with co-driver Andrew Carbonell.

Not only is Dwyer a badass behind the wheel, but he’s also got an incredible sense of humor. His Twitter profile pic is of him poking fun at himself as a block character, saying “this joke was his idea” about taking off his left leg as the block character.

In three minutes, we see here why we love racing. And in the same breath, we see how much Mazda’s a part of that love.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.