IRVINE, Calif. (September 1, 2016) – The heart and soul of Mazda Motorsports is in grassroots club racing and September kicks off the prime season for competition. While most drivers race for the simple enjoyment of competition and a possible trophy, some have their eyes set on a professional career, including the coveted $100,000 Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) Scholarship.
Each fall, racers with both the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sports Association (NASA) gather up for their signature events, with Mazda typically topping the entry lists.
John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations, said, “Mazda understands that professional racing would not exist without a healthy club racing scene as the base. Our mission within Mazda Motorsports is to support the thousands of Mazda racers who have chosen our cars to race. They are the greatest ambassadors we could ever want as they understand better than anyone that driving matters.
MAZDA MOTORSPORTS CLUB RACING FACTS:
- Mazda Motorsports has more grassroots road racers than any other car company. Per the most recent SCCA records, 55 percent of SCCA club competitors race a Mazda.
- The single biggest class of racing is Spec Miata with over 3,000 cars having been built.
- Mazda continues to pay out more contingency prize money to SCCA and NASA racers than any other car company. Details on the program can be found at MazdaMotorsports.com
- Mazda is showcasing a few club racers in a video titled “The Driver In All Of Us” being shown in cinemas nationwide.
- The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Cup car was designed to be a multi-purpose race car. In addition to the professional Battery Tender MX-5 Cup, the cars are being raced with both the SCCA and NASA in local club races from coast-to-coast.
KEY CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS:
What: Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals Presented by Garmin VIRB
When: September 4-9
Where: Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Nebraska
Who: Over 1,000 competitors typically compete.
How/Why: Solo competition has been the gateway to road racing for scores of Mazda racers. This will be the first year the latest generation Mazda MX-5 will be eligible to compete.
What: SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Garmin VIRB
When: September 19-25
Where: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Mansfield, Ohio
Who: More than 600 entries in 27 different classes
How/Why: For over 50 years, the biggest gathering in club racing is the SCCA Runoffs. For the past few years, the biggest race has been Spec Miata. Spec Miata set the all-time Runoff record with 67 starters in 2013, breaking the previous record, also set by Spec Miata. Expect to see multiple Mazda-powered champions earning a right to compete in the 2016 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.
What: NASA Eastern States Championship
When: September 23-25
Where: Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York
Who: Top NASA racers from the Eastern U.S.
How/Why: This will be the first visit to the Watkins Glen track for the NASA Championships. The largest class is expected to be Spec Miata with over 60 entries.
What: SCCA RallyCross National Championship
When: September 29 – October 2
Where: National Balloon Classic in Indianola, Indiana
Who: Racers who feel no need for pavement to enjoy their sport.
How/Why: This is an off-road version of the SCCA Solo Nationals. Mazda racers will be competing in a variety of classes.
What: Grassroots Motorsports $2016 Challenge Driven by General Tire and sponsored by CRC Industries and Miller Electric
When: September 29 – October 1
Where: Auto Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Florida
Who: A wide variety of racers who enjoy the technical challenges of racing.
How/Why: A true DIY “Run-What-Ya-Brung” event with a $2,016 cost cap. This is as much an engineering challenge as it is a race. Each year, many of the top teams choose Mazda cars as the basis for their creations.
What: NASA Western States Championship
When: October 13-16
Where: Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow, California
Who: Top NASA racers from the Eastern U.S.
How/Why: The West Coast NASA racers will be gathering at Buttonwillow Raceway in the Hi-Desert of Southern California.
What: Mazda Road to 24 Shootout
When: October 28-29
Where: Michelin Laurens Proving Grounds in Greenville, South Carolina
Who: A very short list of the most promising drivers looking to move up to a professional sports car racing career.
How/Why: The biggest prize in all of club racing for road racers is a full season in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires. This is a $100,000, winner-take-all, Scholarship. The 2015 winner was Glenn McGee.
About MX-5 Cup
The MX-5 Cup race cars start as complete MX-5 road cars from the Mazda Hiroshima, Japan factory before being transported to engineering development partner Long Road Racing in Statesville, North Carolina where they are produced into a race car. The process includes disassembly of the production car, welding and paint of a full roll cage and interior, and assembly of the race car, adding more than 250 motorsports-specific parts. Other components of the car, including the Mazda SKYACTIV 2.0 liter engine are sealed to ensure even competition and a cost-effective platform.
The Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires is the signature spec series for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24), the sports car counterpart to the Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI). On both paths, Mazda-powered champions earn a Mazda scholarship to advance their career. The MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship.
Information on the car is online at www.mazdamotorsports.com.
About Mazda Motorsports
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the Global MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.
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