NEWS: Sir Chris Hoy Podium in Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge
Sir Chris Hoy MBE contested the all-new ‘Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge’ at the F1 Australian Grand Prix at the 3.3-mile Albert Park track in Melbourne this weekend – as 21 evenly-matched, 137mph, 175PS (420Nm) Mazda6 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D saloons battled for honours. And the Olypmic champion and budding racer, who will be racing Radicals this year in the UK, managed an excellent second place in the final of the three-race mini-series.
"The Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge in Australia was great fun and provided the perfect showcase for Mazda’s clean diesel technology," comments Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director, Mazda UK. "The event captured the ‘defy convention’ spirit at the heart of Mazda and put a fresh spotlight on our brand in a country where Mazda is already very popular and the Mazda3 topped the new car sales chart last year."
Completely standard, the all-new Mazda6 saloon racecars were fitted with additional safety equipment to comply with FIA regulations including a full roll-cage, Sparco race seat with six-point safety harness, external battery ‘kill’ switches and race compound brake pads. The cars retained their six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle-shift selectors and ran on regular, grooved road tyres.
The only British competitor in the event, Chris Hoy qualified a promising third during Thursday’s practice session, finished fifth on Saturday (from a 20th place start) and stormed to a great second place finish in Sunday’s final.
"I am delighted with today’s performance; it was the most fun I have had in the car ever," enthused Hoy, who recently drove the Prodrive Impreza WRC that Colin McRae drove in 1998, for BBC2' Racing Legends program. "After Saturday’s charge through the field, passing 15 cars, I even had hopes of maybe winning the final, but Brad Hodge has been so consistent and he was ultimately out of reach and I had to settle for the runner-up spot."
The three-race Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge was won by former Australian test cricketer Brad Hodge who convincingly took overall honours by winning every race with celebrity chef Shane Delia and star actor Jonathan LaPaglia (Law & Order and NCIS) rounding out the podium.
Women drivers also performed well with Australian hero Olympic cyclist Anna Meares finishing fourth overall – the leading female in each race – and Holly Candy (nee Valance, formerly of Neighbours) singer of the chart-topping single Kiss Kiss, playing a starring role.
Well done Chris! Good practice for the super-fast Radicals this year... sort of!