Yamaha Motor Company, LTD is the world’s largest piano maker and in 1955, then Yamaha CEO Genichi Kawakami, took Yamaha into the field of motorized vehicles.
The company’s intensive research into metal alloys for use in acoustic pianos had given Yamaha wide knowledge of the making of lightweight, yet sturdy and reliable metal constructions. This knowledge was easily applied to the making of metal frames and motor parts for motorcycles. The Yamaha corporate logo is composed of three tuning forks placed on top of each other in a triangular pattern.
Conceived by entrepreneur Don Panoz and based on the format and rules of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series has become the world’s premier sports car series in just 12 years.
What Makes it Unique?
The American Le Mans Series, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has multiple classes of cars racing on the track at the same time, making for exciting passing and confrontations throughout the race.
Each car has two drivers (three for the longer endurance races) who can switch during the course of the race.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you’ll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the soul of a Sports Car.
In fact, the largest road-racing class in the U.S. is the SCCA’s Spec Miata class, with more than 2,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America’s race tracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world.
The Rolex Sports Car Series is one of the most competitive professional road racing championship in North America. The series’ Daytona Prototype class has attracted the attention of superstar drivers and universally recognized teams, in the process revolutionizing sports car racing with close-fought battles at the front of the field and close finishes.
An automobile museum that bursts to life is one way to describe the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. It is an international gathering of rarely seen race cars that span decades of racing history by returning them to the race track to compete as they once did.
One stop that’s on each competitors “must drive” schedule in the American Le Mans Series is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. For six demanding hours, drivers and crews will be put to the test on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn course that thrills drivers, but also demands their respect.
The race begins in bright sunshine, but darkens each passing hour to end in darkness. An explosion of fireworks greets the winning driver as the checkered flag waives them across the finish line.