With the 2018 Spec MX-5 Challenge championship awarding $100,000 in scholarship fund this weekend (November 1-4) at Road Atlanta, the Spec MX-5 Challenge team is already hard at work on the 2019 season. The 2019 season will see several enhancements including greater geographical coverage and more extensive prize money. Details:
Why was the Spec MX-5 Challenge created?
The Spec MX-5 Challenge was created to be a new developmental rung on the pro road racing ladder that bridges between successful club classes like Spec Miata on one hand and established pro series like Global MX-5 Cup and Pirelli World Challenge on the other.
What does the season cost?
The cost is $48,000 for either the eastern or western arrive-and-drive pro series season (6 weekends/12 races) including rental and mechanical maintenance of one of the series-owned cars. If you purchase one of the race cars in the Spec MX-5 Challenge pool, your costs for the season are $36,600.
When you say the Spec MX-5 Challenge is an arrive & drive pro series, what do you mean?
As a full arrive & drive series, the series provides your race car prep, tech, transport, test days, entry fees, setup, mechanical work/crew, repair of breakdowns, tools, fuel, fluids, brake pads, tires and access to a backup car. This full-service approach makes it easier to ensure that cars are identical. It also allows the driver to focus completely on driving — learning new tracks and improving driving skills. Finally, because all predictable costs are included or specified, budgeting is more accurate for series drivers.
What prize money is offered?
The current plan is that the 2019 championship winner will receive a $90,000 scholarship to run the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich in 2020. This scholarship should cover most of the costs of a Global MX-5 Cup season.
The series will also offer $40,000 in scholarship money for a second place in the 2019 championship and $20,000 for third place. These numbers may change slightly if additional sponsors get involved.
Spec MX-5 Challenge will also offer other contingency prize money for individual races.
In addition, one other driver (besides the champion) may be selected by Mazda to compete in the Mazda Road To 24 Shootout. The winner of the shootout also receives a scholarship to Global MX-5 Cup.
Can I run a partial season or individual races?
The series is focused on drivers who wish to compete for the full season and aim to win the championship or other prizes. Drivers are welcome to compete in single events (two races) if seats are available, however, single-event drivers will not be able to compete for the championship.
How does the series ensure fair competition?
The series is building the NC generation Mazda MX-5 race cars to an identical specification. The series mechanics are trained to prep and set up the cars identically. In addition, we put drivers in different cars for each event weekend so that any small car-car differences are balanced over the course of the season. Tire pressures will be adjusted to suit each driver’s feedback. In addition, a single set of tires will be used for qualifying and both races, so the way each driver manages tire wear and abuse may be a factor. The cars are outfitted with data and video systems for use by both the series and the drivers.
What is the racing schedule for each series?
Plans are evolving as partner series finalize their plans. The season runs roughly from March – November.
Currently west series is planning:
Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca
Circuit of The Americas
Utah Motorsports Campus
Road Atlanta (combined championship)
The eastern series plans:
Virginia International Raceway
Barber Motorsports Park
Road Atlanta (combined championship)
What will the weekend schedule be like?
The series will generally consist of 3-day events, with the first day being a track test day (usually 3-4 sessions on track), and the next two days following the standard NASA/SCCA regional weekend format of qualifying on the first day and a race each day. The cars will be assigned an appropriate run group by the sanctioning body and will have a split start from other classes. Whenever possible, and for the championship, Spec MX-5 Challenge will have its own run group.
For more information, visit www.SpecMX-5.com