Freedom Autosport is returning to the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series for the 2014 season, and the team will be fielding three Mazda MX-5s in the ST class.
Brothers Mat and Mark Pombo will co-drive the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. Both brothers have been racing the series full-time since 2011, and both of them honed their skills racing Spec Miatas.
Mark Pombo is the first veteran to drive for Freedom Autosport, a team which honors the men and women of the U.S. military and raises money for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Mark was in the Army Reserve in 2003 when he was deployed to Iraq. He started with a maintenance battalion and later worked with the 82nd Airborne. Mark was part of the first wave of troops deployed in the Iraq war, and he was there for a total of 13 months.
For Mark, driving with Freedom Autosport is the perfect fit. “It’s awesome that they’re trying to give back and show their appreciation,” he says. “And now veterans who come as our guests have someone they can relate to. There’s an unspoken bond between men and women who have been overseas.”
“It’s a blast to drive and can take everything you throw at it,” Mat says of the Mazda MX-5. “It’s always been a driver’s car. The MX-5 is a platform we’re familiar with, and we’ve been with Mazda for most of our racing career. To continue to race with them and keep that tradition going is something that we value.”
Randy Pobst is joining Freedom Autosport for the entire season, co-driving the No. 26 Mazda MX-5 with returning driver Andrew Carbonell. Pobst was the first person to win an SCCA National Championship in an MX-5, and he has driven a Mazda6 in World Challenge, taking the second spot in the championship from 2005-2007. In 2010, Pobst made two appearances with Freedom Autosport.
“I have watched Andrew grow up in racing, and I’m very pleased to be with such a strong co-driver,” says Pobst, adding that he raced against Carbonell’s father Alfredo in the 1980s. “In endurance racing you need a one-two punch, and I really believe that Andrew is going to be able to improve our chances for wins and a championship. He’s level headed, wise beyond his years and he’s fast.”
Since his series debut with Freedom Autosport, Carbonell has earned three wins and eight podium finishes. “It’s so great to be back with Freedom Autosport and to have the opportunity to race with Randy,” says Carbonell. “I’m looking forward to driving with one of the most well-respected and liked sports car drivers out there. I think we can accomplish a lot for Mazda this season.”
Freedom Autosport will also be entering the No. 27 Mazda MX-5 at select rounds, with U.S. Marine veteran Liam Dwyer teaming up with Tom Long. Details about their racing plans will be announced soon.
Freedom Autosport will begin the season on Friday, January 24, during the 2.5-hour opener at Daytona International Speedway. The race starts at 1:45 p.m., and it will be broadcast on Fox Sports at 6:00 that evening.