Logan Clampitt won the Mazda/iRacing Hot Lap Challenge, so Mazda put him behind the wheel of an MX-5 Cup car
Logan Clampitt has won races, but until recently, he’s never been in a race car.
Those races he’s won, including the finale of the Mazda Hot Lap Challenge, have all been virtual. But as a result of winning the Hot Lap Challenge race, he recently had his first laps in a Global MX-5 Cup car at The Thermal Club, a private country club racetrack near Palm Springs, Calif., with Mazda factory racer and racing coach Joel Miller guiding him.
“The test was obviously a dream come true,” says Clampitt, a Southern California resident and student. “Racing has been my dream since I was 7- or 8-years old, and I would do it again if I had the choice. Everyone was super nice and the Thermal Club was a really nice place to go.”
Making the transition from virtual racing to real laps wasn’t too difficult for Clampitt, he says, but there were two things he had to deal with. The first was learning to drive a manual transmission and work on heel-and-toe downshifting; Mazda loaned him a street Miata for that purpose. The second was dealing with g-forces, something not experienced in virtual racing.
“The first laps I was fishtailing quite a bit,” he explains. “Once I got into the second session, I started to get a little better, started to get more consistent and I started to learn more. In the first session, it was definitely a struggle with the g-forces, since I wasn’t expecting it that much. But I overcame it during the next two sessions.”