Freedom Autosport will field three Mazda MX-5s in Saturday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Watkins Glen, a track where the team has been on the podium twice.
Andrew Carbonell and Randy Pobst will be looking for more of their early season success in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5. Carbonell was driving the final hour at Watkins Glen last year when rain moved in. The Freedom Autosport crew pulled him in and put rain tires on the Mazda, and Carbonell was poised for a push to the front.
A full-course caution meant that Carbonell couldn’t make his move until the final two laps, when the race finally went green again. Despite the wet conditions, Carbonell was able to charge from 13th to eighth in one lap.
This year, Carbonell is hoping that the weather – and the caution flags – will cooperate.
“The MX-5 has great potential at Watkins Glen because it’s a high-speed, flowing track. A lot of the corners require what the MX-5 offers: high speed through the corners,” says Carbonell. While the long straights are a disadvantage, he adds that “being able to carry so much speed through the corners helps us. It’s always fun to race there.”
Part of the fun of racing at Watkins Glen has been Freedom Autosport’s success there. The team was on the podium in 2008, then again in 2011, when they finished third and fourth.
That same success was part of Matt Fassnacht’s decision to join the ST team. He will be making his Freedom Autosport debut at Watkins Glen, co-driving with Tom Long in the No. 27 Mazda MX-5.
“I learned that Freedom Autosport runs a tight ship, and I think it’s a good team to be affiliated with. Tom asked if I wanted to jump in the car and I said absolutely! They make great cars and seem like a tight team,” said Fassnacht.
Fassnacht began racing three years ago, focusing on MX-5 competition. He drove in three Continental Tire races in 2013, including Watkins Glen, where he finished 16th.
“The most outstanding part of the MX-5 on that track is the bus stop. All those turns, from six to 11, are just great for a car that handles so well and can carry so much speed through the turns. I love that track,” Fassnacht said.
In addition to the No. 26 and 27 entries, Freedom Autosport’s Mark and Mat Pombo will be driving the No. 25 Mazda MX-5.
Watch the three Freedom Autosport MX-5s in action on Saturday, June 28, when the 2.5-hour race gets the green flag at 11:35am ET. Fans can watch the race live at IMSA.com or catch the broadcast on Fox Sports 1 at 10:00am on July 6.