Jonathan Bomarito's Mazda Motorsports SCCA Runoffs coaching observations
At the 2018 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, Mazda Motorsports once again brought some of its pro drivers to review video and data with club racers to help them improve their racing or setup. This year at Sonoma Raceway, it was Jonathan Bomarito, driver of the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P prototype in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and Tom Long, who has raced everything from Spec Miata to the RT24-P. And during his coaching sessions, Bomarito noticed a few things many drivers could benefit from.
“Sonoma Raceway is a hard track,” he says. “With all of the elevation change and blind corners, this track takes a pretty high commitment level. Probably the biggest thing I’m seeing is down through the Esses. [Many drivers are] a little too abrupt and give too much of a lift. You should be trying to do everything you can to be very smooth with your inputs. Sometimes it’s better to do a long, smooth less-of-a-lift than a short, abrupt lift – this way you’re not upsetting the balance of the car in the Esses.”
Sonoma’s Turns 7a through Turn 9 are notorious for requiring precise car placement to get the most speed through that section and down to Turn 10. A small error early in the complex can be a big error by the time a driver is out of 8a. It’s not dissimilar to fast, winding sections at other tracks.