Race within the TCA race at Lime Rock Park will earn one motorsports country club bragging rights for a year
With 150 Global MX-5 Cup cars sold, there are a lot of cars out there that aren’t being raced in the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich. Some are being raced in SCCA Club Racing and NASA, some are raced in Pirelli World Challenge TCA, and others are simply being enjoyed by their owners at their local motorsports country club (and some are owned by those clubs themselves). In an effort to get some of those cars into competition and give the owners and clubs some bragging rights, Pirelli World Challenge will host the inaugural Pirelli North East Club Championship at Lime Rock Park on May 27 as part of the TCA class races when the series visits the Connecticut venue.
“We’re constantly working with all our partners, and we looked at the number of Global MX-5 Cup cars that are not racing in the MX-5 Cup, but instead are being used by members of these driving clubs,” says Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Manager Jim Jordan. “Whether it’s Monticello, Lime Rock or New Jersey Motorsports Park, there are clubs out there whose members have these cars, and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if we got some people out and running on one of our weekends?’ Lime Rock, in particular, because it’s in the Northeast where so many of these clubs are based, looked like an opportunity to throw a party and see if anyone comes.”
Open to any member of one of the North East “Country Club”-style driving clubs, the Pirelli North East Club Championship will recognize the driver who finishes highest in the final TCA race of the weekend competing in a 2016 TCA Mazda MX 5 Cup car. That driver will earn possession of the Pirelli North East Club Championship Trophy for his club for one year, a personal trophy for his trophy case, and the exclusive Pirelli Club Champion Jacket by Robert Talbot.
“Pirelli is hugely on board for this club championship, and we want to make it to where these clubs have bragging rights as to who has the best drivers. We’re going to invest money in a big trophy that we see being rotated to whichever club wins the championship, so it’s kind of like the Americas Cup or the Stanley Cup,” says Jordan.
The Pirelli North East Club Championship will be a race within a race, and the drivers will be eligible for any normal points and prize money being awarded by the series. The intent is to reward driver club members who race for the passion of racing, so any driver with any FIA ranking (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) is not eligible for competition in the Pirelli North East Club Championship.
Drivers will need to meet all series licensing requirements. Cars need to be Mazda MX-5 Cup cars as produced by Long Road Racing. Pirelli North East Club Championship cars will race without hard tops, which are optional for MX-5 Cup cars competing in the Pirelli World Challenge TCA class. At Lime Rock, TCA/TCB will have its own race, separate from the Touring Car class, due to the track length and the number of cars. The Club Championship will take place in the second race of the weekend, but competitors may enter both races in TCA.
“We’ve gotten interest at this point; we’re waiting to see what clubs enter. And if only one guy from one club enters, he wins,” says Jordan. “At this point, it’s a new program and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. But we’re committed long term because we think this program will be successful long term.”