HOME WHAT’S NEW Team MSCC Mazda Miata Claims Dramatic Class Win at 2024 Kalayaan Cup

Team MSCC Mazda Miata Claims Dramatic Class Win at 2024 Kalayaan Cup

Jun 26, 2024
Team MSCC Mazda Miata Claims Dramatic Class Win at 2024 Kalayaan Cup

June 26, 2024, Manila Philippines -- The #55 Team MSCC Mazda Miata MX-5 race car crossed the checkered flag, clinching first place in the Open A category at the 2024 Kalayaan Cup. The MX-5 completed 250 laps of the 4.189-kilometer Clark International Speedway circuit, also securing the Fastest Lap with a time of 2:10.687. The MX-5’s impressive result, however, tells only part of the story as the team had to overcome challenging race conditions, including a dramatic last-lap overtake to secure its class victory.

Packing a stock powertrain—the 184 PS, 205 Nm 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine and 6-speed Skyactiv-Drive manual transmission—Team MSCC Mazda Miata focused on lightening the car for the 12-hour race. Team Manager Edgen crafted a race strategy that maximized the abilities of their five experienced drivers: Angie King, Tyson Sy, Juha Turalba, Windy Imperial, and Mazda Motorsports’ Takahiro Kobayakawa.

The MX-5, still sporting the eye-catching “Imagine” livery, qualified in P2. However, with the Clark International Speedway’s long start-finish straight favoring faster race cars, Team MSCC Mazda Miata lost two places by the time the first corner came around. By Lap 3, the rear-wheel sportscar managed to bring its tires to optimal operating temperature. With Tyson Sy behind the wheel, he managed to take the lead of the pack.

“The performance of the MX-5 this year exceeded our expectations,” said Angie King. “We think we have already reached the optimal efficiency of what this car offers as a racing platform.”

At the 4.5-hour mark, Team MSCC Mazda Miata experienced a rare gearbox fault while it was three laps ahead of everyone else. As a result, the MX-5 lost a couple of gears, dramatically reducing its race pace. Thanks to the skill of Juha Turalba, the car managed to limp back to the pits. As mechanics assessed the condition of the race car, the team had to decide: pull out and retire, or continue. True to Mazda’s Never Stop Challenging Spirit, it was unanimously decided to soldier on.

“Mechanical issues happen in racing,” remarked Tyson Sy. “The team decided that for as long as we have the parts, we’ll continue. At this point, our mindset was simply never to give up.”

The mechanics, supervised by Dy-liacco, worked to replace the entire gearbox—a feat they completed in less than two hours. By the time the MX-5 was ready to hit the racetrack once more, the Kalayaan Cup had already reached the halfway point and Team MSCC Mazda Miata was nearly 40 laps down to the race leaders, placing last.

The drivers put their heads down and got to work. Each one leaned on the MX-5’s nimble handling and perfectly balanced chassis to claw their way back from last place. By the 10-hour mark, Team MSCC Mazda Miata managed to cut the lap difference to just 25 laps. Around the same time, race leaders also started experiencing mechanical and reliability issues of their own. By the 11.5-hour mark, Team MSCC Mazda Miata found itself in 7th place overall, just 21 laps down to the leaders and two laps down from its main rival in the Open A Class.

As the race reached the 12-hour mark, the MX-5 cut the deficit from its class rival by four seconds. With just one more lap to go, despite all the odds, Team MSCC Mazda Miata sensed that a class win was within reach. Sy used all his skill and pushed the MX-5. In the most dramatic fashion, he managed to overtake his class rival at the Acacia Corner—Clark International Speedway’s tricky no-lift last corner—to take the Open A Championship.

“Every race, we treat winning as the ultimate reward and thanks to everyone’s efforts—the drivers, the mechanics, everyone—our class victory at the 2024 Kalayaan Cup 12-hour Endurance Race is much sweeter,” said Steven Tan. “We faced hardships in achieving our result this year, but it’s all part of Mazda’s ‘Never Stop Challenging Spirit.’ I’m so proud of what Team MSCC Mazda Miata has achieved.”

Team MSCC Mazda Miata’s 12-hour Open A Class Victory builds on this year’s 2- and 4-hour overall win at the Kagitingan Cup. In 2023, the same car won the 4-hour Kagitingan Cup. In 2022, it took the overall victory at the 8-hour Makabayan Endurance Race Challenge. It won the 8-Oras ng Pilipinas and 12-Hour Kalayaan Cup in 2019, and the 12-Hour Kalayaan Cup in 2021.