Following the recent unveiling of its fourth-generation MX-5 Miata (see http://articles.sae.org/13604/ and http://articles.sae.org/13504/), Mazda took the wraps off of a racecar version at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow in Las Vegas.
Based on the 2016 MX-5, the Global MX-5 Cup Car Concept shown at SEMA offers a glimpse of the car to be raced in a new Global Cup series, in North America, Europe, and Asia. Mazda is developing the racecar to be available as an affordable, turnkey, “ready-to-race” platform.
Starting in 2016, multiple Mazda Global MX-5 Cup series will take place 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, Mazda says.
The Global MX-5 Cup will culminate at the end of 2016 with a Global Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA, to crown the series champion. The winner will receive, among other prizes, a one-day test in Mazda’s Tudor United States SportsCar Championship SkyActiv prototype racecar.
“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," said John Doonan, Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American operations.
The Global MX-5 Cup racecar will be equipped with a 2.0-L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine. Mazda Motorsports plans to undertake a development period this winter to select the optimum tires, suspension, powertrain, and safety modifications. Final specs will be announced in 2015, says Mazda, when it is ready to accept orders for the 2016 series.
Technical partners for the car also will be announced at a later date. The Global MX-5 Cup racecars will be sold “ready to race” from a single supplier—a first for Mazda.
For 2015, the third-generation MX-5 will be used for its final season of professional racing in North America. (For 2016 and beyond, existing MX-5 Cup racecars will be eligible to compete in club racing only, the company notes.)
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.Continue reading »