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Preview: New Low-Cost Pro Racing Series


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#1
Johnny D

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Winding Road Racing and Atlanta Speedwerks are partnering to create a new 2018 race series built around a new class called Spec MX-5. The objective is to build a race series that has some of the attractive elements of pro racing, like prize money and top drivers and high-quality tracks. At the same time, WRR and Speedwerks want to keep costs down so that more drivers can compete and more drivers can treat a Spec MX-5 season as a step on a racing career.

 

The Program

 

There are still a few details to be worked out, but basically Spec MX-5 will operate like this:

 

    Spec MX-5 will run two regional series during 2018, one in the southeastern part of the US, the other in the south central section.
    Drivers will pay a fee for the season of slightly above $40,000
    Season fees cover car rental, prep, entry, mechanics, tools, tires, fuel, and consumables
    Drivers will compete for points and some prize money during the regular season
    Each region will award a group of its top drivers with a full scholarship to the Spec MX-5 Championship at the end of 2018
    Drivers in the Championship event will compete for a significant monetary prize that should enable them to take the next step on the pro ladder (i.e. Global MX-5 Cup)

 

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The Philosophy

 

To keep competition as balanced and driver-focused as possible, all drivers will run in identically prepared cars owned and operated by Winding Road Racing and Atlanta Speedwerks. The cars are based on the NC (3rd) generation Mazda MX-5, with full cages, fire systems, harnesses and other safety equipment required of any road racing car. The specs for the car limit the number of adjustments to less than a handful, and the WRR/Speedwerks mechanics are being trained on how to prep the cars identically. Drivers will be assigned to a different car each weekend. The series does want drivers to get some experience with providing feedback to the team, so tire pressures will be adjusted for each car/driver pairing.

 

The Pro Racing Cost Issue

 

As we discovered in a recent Winding Road reader survey, about 50% of drivers assume that a pro racing season starts in the $40k - $60k range. As of 2017, the reality is that the lowest cost pro road racing series, the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup series presented by BF Goodrich, costs about $100k or probably a little bit more for the season. Pro series rise in cost from there, so that a Pirelli World Challenge TC season costs about $150k, an IMSA GT3 Cup or Trans Am season gets close to $300k and PWC or IMSA series running SRO GT3 cars are well north of $500k.

 

Obviously, these numbers keep a lot of good, often young, drivers from ever attempting the "pro" game. Mazda in particular has worked hard to create a ladder system that helps these drivers get in the game, but the reality is that, for example, there is only one winner of the Mazda Road To 24 shootout. That lucky driver gets $100k to use toward a follow on season (in Global MX-5 Cup). From there, you have to keep winning to move up. Or get a big sponsorship deal. Very difficult.

 

Spec MX-5 moves the cost of a pro season down into the anticipated range that many drivers imagine when they think about pro racing. Spec MX-5 is designed to couple that more accessible entry point with enough prize money that some drivers will be able to move on to the next step on the ladder.

 

The Driver Development Issue

 

The other issue with even entry level pro racing is that it is expensive enough that some drivers can't afford to do it year after year so that they build their skill in the long run. Quite a few drivers can scrape together the funds to do one season (which sometimes ends midway because of optimistic cost estimates). But many of those drivers can't run MX-5 Cup or PWC year after year. If you don't peak right away, you may be done.

 

Spec MX-5 is designed to be inexpensive enough that many more drivers can run Spec MX-5 year after year. With the goal of attracting top drivers, Spec MX-5 should serve as an excellent driver development platform. Drivers get to compete against a tough field and measure themselves. Drivers get the trackside support needed to free them to work on data and video analysis and receive coaching if desired.

 

Available Seats

 

Winding Road Racing and Atlanta Speedwerks have the cars needed to accept 10 drivers for the south central series and 10 drivers for the south eastern series. The teams will bring spare parts and spare cars in an effort to maximize track time.

If you would like to stay in the  jsextloop for additional details about Spec MX-5 and/or you think you'd like to apply for one of the open Spec MX-5 seats, please contact Jeff Sexton:on@windingroad.com


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2011 NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship E3 Champ
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#2
dstevens

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Interesting.  Were these the Skippy cars?



#3
Jim Drago

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Interesting.  Were these the Skippy cars?

yes, some are for sure. they may be building more


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Hoosier Super Tour points Champion - Hoosier Super Tour points Champion ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata BFG Supertour Winner - Majors Winner - Circuit of the Americas Winner - We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America

#4
Todd Lamb

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We are in the process of a complete mechanical overhaul on the Skippy cars to make them like new again. We are also installing all new Sabelt safety equipment (top of the line seats/belts/wheels), SPA fire systems, paint, and custom wraps for each car. They are coming along nicely and we will have a handful at the first racing school with Level Up (still $300 off a school until tomorrow!) at AMP.
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Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
Atlanta Speedwerks
www.atlspeedwerks.com
SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

Spec Miata / Spec Boxster / Spec Cayman specialist

Global MX-5 Cup team

 

2017 - Advanced group. I drive flat out, why are there Miatas passing me?

2016 - Moved up to intermediate run group and got race slicks

2015 - First place in novice DE group

2014 - Born

MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner

#5
OrangeCrush86

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I really like the idea and it's something I might be able to realistically afford in the near feature. As the article mentions, one issue with being a one man show (plus the great help from my wife) is that it's not possible to focus solely on driving when you are a mechanic, engineer, transport, etc. at the same time.

 

However I see that the drivers will rotate to different cars. Does this mean there is no way to bring your own sponsors to this series? If you pay 40k for a season and have the option of bringing your own sponsor to further help with the costs it might be nice.



#6
Todd Lamb

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You can bring your own sponsor - you'll have the same car for the entire weekend, but each weekend you'll be in a different car to keep everyone on a level playing field. So you'll just need to bring new sponsor decals each weekend (the wraps have plenty of blank space for logos).


  • Jim Drago likes this

Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
Atlanta Speedwerks
www.atlspeedwerks.com
SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

Spec Miata / Spec Boxster / Spec Cayman specialist

Global MX-5 Cup team

 

2017 - Advanced group. I drive flat out, why are there Miatas passing me?

2016 - Moved up to intermediate run group and got race slicks

2015 - First place in novice DE group

2014 - Born

MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner

#7
Pat Mcg

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will this series piggyback on the existing events for the MX-5 cup or are these going to be stand alone events?



#8
Todd Lamb

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The Southeast series (Atlanta Speedwerks) will piggyback off SCCA, while the South Central series (Winding Road) will piggyback off NASA.

First SE race will likely be VIR March 9-11.

Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
Atlanta Speedwerks
www.atlspeedwerks.com
SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

Spec Miata / Spec Boxster / Spec Cayman specialist

Global MX-5 Cup team

 

2017 - Advanced group. I drive flat out, why are there Miatas passing me?

2016 - Moved up to intermediate run group and got race slicks

2015 - First place in novice DE group

2014 - Born

MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner

#9
Danica Davison

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The Southeast series (Atlanta Speedwerks) will piggyback off SCCA, while the South Central series (Winding Road) will piggyback off NASA.

First SE race will likely be VIR March 9-11.

 

Interested on how it will piggy back off of the SCCA/NASA.  Are you saying they will be in their own run group? (Obviously the fastest run group of course)


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Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Chatterbox - Blah blah blah... Blah blah blah Instigator - Made a topic or post that inspired other We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver




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