Allwood gave praise to Mazda's latest MX-5 Cup Car - Photo: Mazda

It was crunch time for Oliver Allwood as he made his way to the United States to join his fellow European and international racers at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as they prepared to take on America's chosen 10 drivers to contest the Global MX-5 Cup Invitational.

Having made it through the selection process back in July, Oliver was excited to head out there and once in attendance was able to settle into the Mk4 Global MX-5 Cup Car provided for him well. Here is how the weekend went down and the challenges of the Laguna Seca circuit in Oliver's own words:

"California was amazing! the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a proper old school track and requires a lot of commitment and respect. The corkscrew is fun but not the most challenging corner on the track. Turns 3, 6 and 9 is where the time comes from and requires a lot of accuracy. The cars are great to drive but very different from a Mk1 MX-5. You need to be aggressive with the brake but super smooth with the throttle. All the non-US drivers struggled to get to grips with the car and track, unfortunately we only had a two 30 minute practice sessions before qualifying and both were cut short due to weather and red flags. 

For Race 1 I qualified 14th and made an OK start before getting fired off on Turn 11 of Lap 1. After dropping to 19th I got back to 14th, but having lost the tow it was difficult to get on the pace.

In the second race I started 14th and got to 5th on Lap 2, however unfortunately while I had single lap pace my consistency let me down so I ended up dropping to 9th. I'm pleased to have only been half a second off the pace at the end of the weekend and had a great time.

Mazda looked after us really well, as did the SCCA which are the equivalent of the SCCA and BRSCC combined. My car was run by McCunbee McAleer Racing who run a very professional outfit and were brilliant in working with the set up and going through the data to get the best out of me. 

Having been treated like a pro for a week it's back to Rockingham this week. Luckliy Ali has been working hard on the car so I'm expecting to run well!"

Indeed, Oliver is back to it this weekend at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby as he bids to reclaim the 2nd place in points he lost to rival Simon Baldwin, whilst trying to figure out how to stop points leader Tom Roche's domination! Still, it will be interesting to see how much of the coaching he received last weekend will be put to good use when he returns to the #63 AB Motorsport Mk1 MX-5 for Rounds 14, 15 & 16 of the 2016 season.

Scott Woodwiss

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