MazdaSports Academy debuts
Local Mazda distributor Bermaz Motor recently hosted the inaugural MazdaSports Academy, which saw 40 owners of various Mazda models (Mazda2, Mazda3 and Mazda CX-3) put through their paces in a controlled environment in Serdang.
Advanced driver training programs like this are more common amongst premium carmakers and sports car manufacturers, and Mazda’s initiative to nurture better drivers is a breath of fresh air in an industry often too absorbed in sales.
The syllabus was conducted by Bermaz’s MazdaSports division, which was formed in 2016 to focus on vehicle development, parts and accessories and experience programs among others.
So, what goes on in the day-long driver training program?
1. Back to school
A theory session with Mazda’s ‘Jinba-Ittai’ instructor, covering driving essentials such as seating position and steering technique, and why they are crucial in the event of an emergency
2. Brake like you’ve never braked before
First exercise requires participants to floor the brakes upon building up speed, triggering the ABS to stop in the shortest distance possible. Doesn’t sound exciting but exposes many drivers who are afraid of applying maximum braking pressure when needed.
3. Moose test
The classic lane-change exercise requiring drivers to change directions on the move, avoiding an obstacle without using the brakes. A useful skill to have even though most modern cars equipped with ABS can to steer and brake simultaneously without locking up.
Driving through a set of cones may sound easy enough, but this simple exercise challenges your ability to steer and modulate the throttle efficiently and in the smoothest way possible.
5. Getting wet and wild
Our tropical weather is one of the biggest causes of accidents in Malaysia. This is an experience rather than an exercise, with gallons of water unloaded onto the tarmac to let drivers feel the detrimental effects of aquaplaning and understeering in the wet.
6. Moment of truth
After all is said and done, participants are put through an autocross exercise. The course is designed to incorporate elements from the previous drills. Drivers are timed and observed for improvement in their driving techniques. Obviously, the fastest drivers get a trophy.
At only RM80 per entry (for this round at least), the MazdaSport Academy is a great opportunity to sharpen your driving skills which, in turn, equips you with the know-how to deal with emergencies on the road in the future.
Plans for a similar programs tailored to customers of the Mazda's SUV range as well as the MX-5 roadster are supposedly underway. To keep tabs on them, get in touch with your trusted Mazda dealership and watch out for announcements on official owners' clubs of your respective model.
Trust us, you'll want to be part of the next one.