Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Mazda MX-5. To celebrate Mazda organised a 4hr endurance race in Italy – consisting of teams from throughout the world, one of which included our own Matt Prior.

Mazda must have been happy with the result, because it’s repeating the event this year – with the small difference that the race is taking place on a frozen lake in Sweden and I’m one of the competitors.

The excuse this time? MX-5 total production has now exceeded 900,000. Apparently a Guinness World Record for a roadster.

The race is today, and currently we’ve qualified fourth, and beyond the amusement of racing a rear-wheel-drive car on ice, fitted with skinny spiked tyres, is that one of my team mates is Maeda-san, Mazda’s chief designer.

Apart from being a complete petrol-head, he’s also responsible for a new design direction at Mazda. The second example of which is going to be at Geneva – a concept mid-size SUV, but it's a close-to-production CX-5.

So far I’ve discovered he’s a fan of small cars – he’d like Mazda to produce a car below the 2, and is considering whether the next-generation MX-5 should be nearer in size to the original.