With a young lady of driving age in The Garage, we’ve been fortunate to have been spending a lot of time with Anna He and the rest of the gang at Sweetie Girl Racing lately. The idea is that young Miss Shelby should spend as much time on as many different tracks as possible, so that she becomes absolutely the best driver possible. It helps that an advanced driving school type of event is more fun than pretty much any roller coaster.
Team SGR builds fun in to the teaching program to ensure that students of all ages and driving experience are enjoying their day while learning the finer points of advanced driving. This is not a racing school, although several instructors are fully qualified racing instructors as well, so the program is able to fulfill the needs of students as they advance. Team SGR is also not a girls only club. Their events are more about making everyone feel comfortable. There are no egos here!
Miss Shelby needed wheels for the event and the nice folks at Mazda Canada were quick to offer up a 5 speed Mazda2. Little did they know that the 2 is Shelby’s all time fave out of all of the press cars that find their way through The Garage. Even better was that this little bomber was the right colour and had the uber cool checkered flag decals on the sides.
Here are Shelby’s thoughts on the Mazda2:
“I love the new Mazda 2 it is fun to drive, it looks great and if you want, it can move pretty quick. I was lucky to get to drive at Toronto Motorsport Park with Sweetie Girl Racing’s advanced drivers training course which was presented by Sailun Tires. To start the day off we did some slaloms, brake testing and collision avoidance. It rained for the majority of the morning forcing us to take it a little slower but also tested more of our ability.
On the slaloms and avoidance exercises the Mazda 2 handled great. While testing the brakes the stopping distance was fairly short but because of the rain it was a little longer than it is when driving on the dry track. After lunch and a second lesson we were able to drive the full track with our instructor. Thankfully the sun came out and we were able to drive much faster and explore our limits a bit further. The Mazda 2 was great on the straights and was smooth on the corners. When the day was over we got our certificates and left with our new skills hopefully able to use them in everyday driving. Taking the highway home and setting the cruise was easy and relaxing after a long day of driving. Overall this car is fun to drive and Sweetie Girl runs a great day course and I would to do both again.”
As a parent who also has a racing background, I am keenly aware of how important advanced training is to my kids’ safety on the roads. Many people cop out and say that the problem is “the other idiots” on the road. The truth is that a well trained driver, who continues to hone their talents, stands a far greater chance of avoiding those other drivers in the first place. If things do go pear shaped, the driver with advanced skills will be that much more confident in their recovery.
I suppose that like Daughter, like Father, in that I have been a big fan of the Mazda2 since it came out. It looks pretty cool, has a tiny footprint and yet offers proper seating for 4 along with a decent amount of cargo area. When it is optioned out with a manual transmission, the 2 is a seriously fun little car that reminds me of my faithful Swift GT rally car from years gone by. Light weight, reasonable horsepower and spritely handling make Mazda’s smallest offspring a hoot on the way to work and even more so on the track.
Don’t get me wrong, with 100 horsepower, the Mazda2 isn’t a bahn burner by any stretch. The point is that it has a great balance of power and handling that gives the car some true Zoom-Zoom. Just like our old rally car, a heavy foot induces a bit of understeer, while a quick lift of the throttle will bring the back end around promptly. A responsive front wheel drive car can be just as much fun as any rear driver and the 2 responds to driver inputs readily.
Shelby has been through a few driving events over the past year, and has looked pretty good from behind the lens. On this occasion, I decided to ride shotgun for a few laps, just to see how she is doing. Her instructors always give her glowing reviews, but who knows if they are just padding things for the writer guy?! I was very pleasantly surprised to find that my kid is not only relatively quick but that she is incredibly smooth and accurate behind the wheel. We have a really talented driver on our hands and that is a very comforting feeling when she is out on the road by herself!
Oh yes, she’s already saving to buy a used Mazda2!
To learn more about Sweetie Girl Racing and book yourself or your kids, visit them online.