InTech Max the Tach IV Finalist: Mirabella Alfaro

Mirabella Alfaro races Spec Miata.

 

Mirabella Alfaro
Mirabella Alfaro races Spec Miata.

The InTech Max the Tach IV contest is a tremendous opportunity for an amateur racer, and after several rounds of video submissions and voting, three diverse finalists have been chosen among hundreds of hopeful racers who were asked to explain exactly how a race trailer would help them advance their racing career and in turn, how they would be able to represent inTech at various events. Voting is now open to determine the ultimate winner,  who will receive a 24-foot trailer from inTech, while the runners-up receive various prizes from the additional sponsors such as Optima, Summit, QA1, Forgeline Wheels, Champion Oil, Adams Polishes, Scosche and the USMA. The results will be announced at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis on December 13 at 2 p.m. in the inTech booth.

RacingJunk has co-sponsored the contest this year, and as part of that, wants to introduce readers to the three finalists in their own words. First up is racer Mirabella Alfaro who competes primarily in Spec Miata Road Course Racing.

Alfaro is an enthusiastic road racer and who is pursuing a double masters in Biotechnology and Geosciences while also competing in a full course of Spec Miata.

RacingJunk: How did you get involved in auto racing?

Alfaro: When I was 14 years old my parents bought me a 125cc Yamaha dirt bike for my birthday. It was at that moment I knew I wanted get involved in racing, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to do so. Fast-forward 5 years, I stumbled upon a local autocross event at Texas Motor Speedway. This was my opportunity to get into motorsport. I entered my daily driver on run flat tires and screeched my way through the entire course with a huge smile on my face! I bought a 2004 Mini Cooper JCW that I autocrossed for 2 years until I made my way to the track doing open track days. I loved the track so much I started competing in Time Trial events with the Texas Region SCCA. Wanting more horsepower, I sold the Mini Cooper and bought a 135i BMW that I turned into my dedicated track car to compete in Time Trials. That year I competed in my first full year of Time Trials and took home 1st place in the 2017 Prepared Class Texas Region Time Trial Championship. About a year ago I decided to “retire” the 135, obtain my competition license, and fully commit myself to racing wheel to wheel in the Spec Miata class.

RacingJunk: Why Miata/Spec Miata?

Alfaro: Because Miata Is Always The Answer! Haha, just kidding! Right now I am focusing on gaining the wheel to wheel experience and obtaining sponsorship to be able to race professionally. When I made the decision to race wheel to wheel I chose Spec Miata because the class was very competitive, affordable, and had more exposure as opposed to some of the other classes. Plus, Spec Miata has some of the best racing I’ve seen in club racing. When I first heard about the class and watched some of the racing videos I thought, “these guys are insane!” I, too, wanted to get in on the action!

RacingJunk: As a grad student, how do you find time to race and study (do labs, research, write, etc).

Alfaro: It can certainly get challenging at times juggling graduate school and racing but my passion for both racing and science fuels my determination to keep pushing through. I made the crazy decision to get two master degrees in both Biotechnology and Geosciences while competing in my first year of Spec Miata. Thankfully, most of my professors are willing to work with me and make accommodations based on my racing schedule. But it’s not uncommon for me to be studying on the road, in hotels, or come back from a full weekend of racing to stay up until 4 a.m working on my studies. I just have to keep telling myself all the hard work will pay off someday!

RacingJunk: This season saw you first in time trials. What are your goals for next season?

Alfaro: This year was my first year racing wheel to wheel in Spec Miata. This season I also co-droved our CSP Miata with my dad in the Texas Region Time Trials where I currently hold 1st for the class in the season championship. For the 2020 season I want to put all my focus on wheel to wheel racing to get my first Spec Miata win. This past season I raced in the Southwest Division of SCCA at several tracks across Texas and Oklahoma and even did one race outside our region at Pueblo Motorsports Park in Colorado where I placed 2nd. Next year I plan on racing a full season with the SCCA Majors in the Southwest Division, and venturing outside my region and competing on more of a national level at some of the more iconic “pro” tracks that will be apart of the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour. I also plan on working towards making my first appearance at the SCCA Runoffs at the end of the year that is scheduled to happen at Road America in Wisconsin. We definitely have our work laid out for us for the 2020 season, but I know with our hard work and perseverance we will make it happen.

Winning the 24’ enclosed racing trailer that inTech has built would give us a solid foundation for working towards my goals for 2020. We currently haul my Spec Miata on a 16’ flatbed trailer. There is no space to carry tires or tools so that means we’re usually crammed with luggage in the cab of the truck! Also, if you’ve ever owned a racecar you know that they have no windows! There have been many of times we have to plug the air ducts with tennis balls and tape trash bags to the windows the keep rain out while traveling on the road. For next season, we have several out state races on the schedule. Travel accommodations make up a big portion of costs associated with racing. The enclosed trailer inTech has built would be much more convenient than any of the hotels we’ve had to book and would cut out boarding costs that can be put towards the car.
We are looking forward to the 2020 season and expect great things this upcoming year! I would be proud to represent inTech Trailers, Racing Junk, and affiliated co-sponsors of the Max the Tach Sponsorship Program this upcoming season as I race nationally with SCCA in my Spec Miata to gain the exposure and experience to race professionally in the upcoming years.

RacingJunk: What have you learned this past year of racing (about the vehicle, race technique, qualifying, etc) and how can you use that knowledge going forward?

Alfaro: Competing in my first year of Spec Miata I have learned a lot about wheel to wheel racing in regards racecraft, prep, and what it takes to be competitive. This past year I had to learn how to transition from Time Trials, where it’s a race against the clock, to Spec Racing, where its a battle of position and everyone is evenly matched. I’ve learned that wheel to wheel racing is an art form, in a field where everyone is racing the same car with the same modifications racecraft is what makes the difference between the drivers. This past year I’ve a lot about passing, defending, bump drafting, and overall race strategy.
Racing in such a competitive class has also strengthened me as an individual. In order to be successful in wheel to wheel racing you have to be able to stand your ground, commit, and give your all 100% of the time. I have grown a lot as a person in one year, and what I’ve gained by experience in racing I’ve been able to apply to my academic and professional life.
Going forward we will start the 2020 season with the experience we gained this past year of racing in the Spec Miata class. Applying what we learned and building upon it, we look forward to what next year will have to offer.

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To see video of the finalists and vote for your favorite, go the the Max the Tach IV website.

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