TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Freedom Autosport is returning to the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series, fielding three Mazda MX-5s in the ST class.
Brothers Mat and Mark Pombo will co-drive the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. Both brothers have been racing the series full time since 2011.
Mark Pombo is the first veteran to drive for Freedom Autosport, a team which honors the men and women of the U.S. military and raises money for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Pombo was in the Army Reserve in 2003 when he was deployed to Iraq. He started with a maintenance battalion and later worked with the 82nd Airborne. Mark was part of the first wave of troops deployed in the Iraq war, and was there for a total of 13 months.
For Mark Pombo, driving with Freedom Autosport is the perfect fit.
“It’s awesome that they’re trying to give back and show their appreciation,” he said. “And now veterans who come as our guests have someone they can relate to. There’s an unspoken bond between men and women who have been overseas.”
“It’s a blast to drive and can take everything you throw at it,” Mat said of the Mazda MX-5. “It’s always been a driver’s car. The MX-5 is a platform we’re familiar with, and we’ve been with Mazda for most of our racing career. To continue to race with them and keep that Mazda tradition going is something that we value.”
Randy Pobst is joining Freedom Autosport for the entire season, co-driving the No. 26 Mazda MX-5 with returning driver Andrew Carbonell. Pobst was the first person to win an SCCA National Championship in an MX-5, and he has also driven a Mazda6 in World Challenge, finishing second in the championship from 2005-2007. In 2010, Pobst made two appearances with the Freedom Autosport team.
“I have watched Andrew grow up in racing, and I’m very pleased to be with such a strong co-driver,” said Pobst, adding that he raced against Carbonell’s father Alfredo in the 1980s. “In endurance racing you need a one-two punch, and I really believe that Andrew is going to be able to improve our chances for wins and a championship. He’s level headed, wise beyond his years and he’s fast.”
Since his series debut with Freedom Autosport, Carbonell has earned three wins and eight podium finishes.
“It’s so great to be back with Freedom Autosport and to have the opportunity to race with Randy,” said Carbonell. “I’m looking forward to driving with one of the most well-respected and liked sports car drivers out there. I think we can accomplish a lot for Mazda this season.”
Freedom Autosport will also be entering the No. 27 Mazda MX-5 at select rounds, with U.S. Marine veteran Liam Dwyer teaming with Tom Long.