Driver Spotlight: Tristan Nunez
Driver, No. 07 Mazda SKYACTIV-D P2 (Prototype)
How big of a transition has it been moving from a GX car in 2013 to a Prototype car in 2014?
“Besides racing the Mazda6 GX car last year in GRAND-AM, I also raced a Prototype Challenge car in the ALMS so the transition was pretty easy for me. The Mazda SKYACTIV diesel has more mechanical and aero grip and all around speed. It is a closed cockpit car, so I had to adjust to not having the visibility that I had in the PC car.”
Talk about the progress of the Mazda SKYACTIV engines and what does the future look like?
“This is a development program that is making huge leaps every race. It is so astonishing to see the improvements in reliability and speed so early in the program. I feel that our goal to be one of the top competitors in the P class will be reached much sooner than anticipated. ”
You’re the youngest driver in the Prototype class. Do the other drivers help you out? If so, who do you go to and what is the best advice you’ve been given?
“Joel Miller, my teammate, helps me out when I need it, and Sylvain Tremblay is always there for me as well. I still consult with my mentor, Derek Bell, on a regular basis. He was the one that told me early on that the most valuable thing from a driver is feedback, and to keep notes from every race and track. I am also thankful that I was able to build a solid foundation in my early development years and had great coaching during that time to prepare me for what I am racing now.”
What will some of the keys be to getting around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca?
“I had my very first race win with Skip Barber at Mazda Raceway back in 2009. This is my favorite track and I have raced here many times. I feel that this track will be great for our Mazda SKYACTIV prototypes. Our biggest strength to date is our cornering speeds, so with 12 corners and not much of a straightaway, there will be less of an advantage to the higher horsepower cars.”
Tell us about your involvement with the no texting and driving initiative. How can fans participate?
“My “Dnt txt n drV” campaign is something I am very passionate about. When I was 15 years old, my Mom was texting and driving with me and my twin brother in the car and we almost rear-ended another car. From that date forward, we decided to put a stop to it and spread the word all across the country at races about the dangers of distracted driving. When I am not racing, or in school, I go to High Schools to speak about “Dnt txt n drV” and also about Project Yellow Light that is a scholarship program funded by Mazda. Fans can participate by going to www.projectyellowlight.com or by following me on Facebook and twitter to enter into contests that I frequently sponsor.”