5 November 2014
Since unveiling the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 the most pressing question is “Where will it race?” Mazda gave the first part of that answer at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow in Las Vegas today.
The company announced that the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 will be raced in a new Global Cup series, in North America, Europe and Asia.
Starting in 2016, there will be multiple Mazda Global MX-5 Cup series around the world, all using identically prepared cars. Full details of the Global MX-5 Cup, including which countries will be involved and when the races will take place, will be announced as they are confirmed.
Andrew Clearwater, Managing Director of Mazda New Zealand says the announcement is fantastic and a perfect fit for the Mazda MX-5 - the best-selling two-seater sports car in the world, and the most road-raced car globally.
The Global MX-5 Cup will culminate at the end of 2016 with a Global Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, to crown the series champion. Among other prizes, the series champion will receive a one-day test in Mazda’s top-level TUDOR United States SportsCar Championship SKYACTIV prototype racecar.
“Since the first Mazda MX-5 took the green flag back in 1990, the car has been the ideal platform for both veterans and rookies alike,” noted John Doonan, Director of motorsports for Mazda North American operations. “Because the MX-5 is inherently such a good car to drive, it is an ideal platform to learn basic and advanced race-craft, and this has made the professional MX-5 Cup series very successful to date.”
“We’re excited to take the elements of success of the existing Mazda MX-5 Cup series, and introduce them to a new global audience,” added Masahiro Moro, Managing Executive Officer in charge of Global Sales, Marketing and Customer Service for Mazda Motor Corporation.
“It has long been our goal to see Mazda fans around the world competing in identical MX-5s, and the launch of the 2016 MX-5 is the perfect time to make this goal a reality.”
While Mazda did not release final specifications, equipment or technical partners for the car, it was confirmed that the Global MX-5 Cup racecar will be equipped with a 2.0 liter SKYACTIV-G four cylinder engine. Beginning this winter, Mazda Motorsports will undertake a development period to select the optimum tires, suspension and powertrain and safety modifications. The final specifications will be announced in 2015 when Mazda is ready to accept orders for the 2016 series.
In a first for Mazda, the Global MX-5 Cup racecars will be sold “ready to race” from a single supplier.
For 2015, the third generation MX-5 will be utilized for its final season of professional racing in North America. The 2015 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires will kick off at Sebring in March, and conclude at the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta in October. For 2016 and beyond, the existing third-generation MX-5 Cup racecars will be eligible to compete in club racing only.
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED
Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. Via the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, and the Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.
Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.