Fans Converge on Mazda’s Holy Ground to Celebrate
Opened in May 1965, Miyoshi Proving Ground is Mazda’s primary testing facility where over the years, the company’s numerous models have been tested on its tracks. Looked up to as Mazda’s “holy ground” by its loving customers and fans, the facility is known for its rotary-shaped 4.2-kilometre high-speed test track. In 1985 a comprehensive performance test track was added to the facility to reproduce a real-life driving environment, so that each model’s vibration, noise, ride comfort and handling stability are assessed under almost real-life conditions. In fact, the new test track is made up of more than ten carefully reproduced road surfaces from around the world; cobblestone pavement was made with stones that were used in Belgium for over 2 to 3 centuries, carefully set to reproduce the real pavement in Belgium.
(Left: The cobblestone pavement in Belgium, Right: Same in Miyoshi PG)
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Miyoshi Proving Ground, a Fan Meeting was held in September 2015 with more than 3,000 enthusiastic fans gathering. On a sunny and clear day, more than 1,000 Mazdas immediately drove past the just opened gate, and the place was soon filled up with excited customers and fans. An exhibit of 77 legendary Mazda models from the past 50 years, brought by loyal Mazda fans to the event venue, shone in the sun. The “K360” tricycle truck, which is hardly seen these days, was a star of the exhibit, receiving jubilant cheers from the spectators.
(Mazda K360 tricycle truck)
The Proving Ground’s “bank”, a sloped high-speed test track, stole the show. Customers who sat in either the front or rear passenger seat driving on the bank were absolutely thrilled by the experience. “Driving a corner on the bank at 180 kilometres per hour was an unbelievable experience. I never imagined that I’d be able to see the sky from the window”, said an excited customer after a tour of the bank.
Towards the end of the event, the Mazda 787B, a winning car at Le Mans back in 1991, made an exhibition run, driven by a Japanese professional driver Yojiro Terada, a.k.a. “Mr Le Mans” due to his long-term involvement in the race. The mesmerising rotary sound coming from the Mazda 787B, masterfully and proudly driven by Mr Le Mans, cast a magical spell on spectators who relished every note.
The event closed with all the fans getting inside their Mazdas for a parade run. Nearly 1,000 Mazdas – a mix of “oldies” and latest models, driving on the test track was a sight to see. With Mazda staff waving to fans and wishing them a great ride, the fans waved back in high spirits. The fans paraded on a rotary-shaped test track, enjoying every second of it.
The fans at the event made sure that they left a trace of the celebration by signing their names on crash barriers. Nearly 1,500 fans who came to the event signed their names on crash barriers to show their appreciation for guarding test cars and drivers. Those names will stay there to oversee Mazda’s ongoing pursuit of “Celebrate Driving” for years to come.
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