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For Immediate Release: June 4, 2012


LEXINGTON, Ohio — Bob Thornton might be the new guy at Freedom Autosport, but he has something in common with his teammates: a successful history in Spec Miata racing. Thornton is now turning his sights to winning in the ST class of GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

Thornton joined Freedom Autosport at New Jersey, and he is co-driving the No. 27 Mazda MX-5 with Tyler Cooke. Like Thornton, Cooke transitioned from Spec Miata to professional racing through Freedom Autosport’s MX-5 program. He earned 10 wins and 21 top-fives in Spec Miata before advancing to Freedom Autosport’s ranks.

The 17-year old Cooke has raced a number of times at Mid-Ohio. “I like Mid-Ohio a lot,” he says. “It’s a competitive track for the MX-5. I like the roller coaster section; it’s all blind turns so it’s always interesting.”

On the flip side, Thornton will be making his first visit to the 2.258-mile track. Thornton is prepared after learning both a new car and a new track during his Freedom Autosport debut at New Jersey Motorsports Park last month.

“It’s going to be tough, but I feel good about what I’ve learned about the car, though it is a steep learning curve,” Thornton says. “I’m extremely excited about Tyler’s abilities to get the job done. He’s incredibly composed and mature for a 17-year old. I’m really excited about what the future holds for him.”

Thornton has learned how to spot talent during his years as both a racer and engine builder. Thornton owns Race Engineering and has been building Spec Miata motors since 2003. In the decade since, Thornton has built 3,000 motors en route to helping drivers win countless championships.

Cooke also has a lot of positive things to say about his new teammate, noting, “We’re getting on really well. He has great feedback after each session, and we’ve been able to hang out outside the track, too. I think we’ll have a bright future together. I think we can get a top five at Mid-Ohio, at least a top 10. We’ve had the car for it at every track, but something has always hindered us.”

The Freedom Autosport lineup also includes Derek Whitis and Tom Long in the No. 25 Mazda MX-5. The car is currently fourth in ST team points. Rhett O’Doski and Andrew Carbonell will co-drive the No. 26 Mazda MX-5.
The EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio starts at11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 9.



The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fundis a nonprofit organization that provides immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Urgently needed resources are distributed to post 9-11 Marines and Sailors, as well as members of the Army, Air Force or Coast Guard who serve in support of Marine forces. Freedom Autosport is a longtime supporter of the Semper Fi Fund. For more information please visit:


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 SportsCar. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 2,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America’s racetracks,making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda’s involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world’s premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing. For more information visit:

-Bob Thornton

(Previous Owner), Race Engineering

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