First Eight Drivers Selected For East Series And Chance at $100,000

Atlanta, Ga. (February 7, 2018) – Eight of the first 10 drivers have been selected for the inaugural season of the Spec MX-5 Challenge East Series, each with an eye on the season-ending grand prize of $100,000 courtesy of Mazda Motorsports, Atlanta Speedwerks and Winding Road.

“Our goal with the Spec MX-5 Challenge was to find drivers with a variety of backgrounds, a positive approach to racing, and the potential to be competitive; we’ve done that for 2018,” Todd Lamb, Series Director, said. “The drivers that we have selected so far have a wide range of experience, and even include a successful sim racer. We are in the contract stage with the ninth driver, but we still have one spot remaining for the season.”

The first eight drivers are:

  • John Allen, Canal Winchester, Ohio – An SCCA and NASA Spec Miata rookie in 2017, who qualified for the Mazda Road to the 24 Shootout through iRacing.
  • Nick Bruni, New York, New York – A successful club racer in Spec Miata and a top-five finisher in the Global MX-5 Cup.
  • Joseph Catania, Cazenovia, New York – A top 10 point finisher in the Mazda MX-5 Cup, and a top three finisher in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup.
  • Peter Ensor, Finksburg, Maryland – The 2017 MARRS Super Touring Lite Champion, Spec Miata podium finisher, and runner-up in the NASA Mazda Teen Challenge event.
  • Jose Garcia, Decatur, Georgia – A karter and Spec Miata driver at club events in the Southeast.
  • Tyler Harrell, Hartsville, South Carolina – A strong NASA competitor in the Southeast in Spec Miata and PTE.
  • Manny Martinez, Jr., Long Island, New York – A stand-out Porsche Club of America racer in Spec Cayman, beginning his ascent up the pro racing ladder.
  • Assen Rachev, New York, New York – An amateur endurance racer, Club Racer and aspiring pro who emigrated from Bulgaria in 2001.

Drivers will be randomly assigned to one of 10 identically prepared “NC” Mazda MX-5 race cars for each event, with no driver being assigned the same car twice, ensuring no driver has a car advantage. The cars are prepped and maintained by the series’ professional crew, so drivers can focus on racing, driver development, race craft, and sponsor relations. Each car has both data acquisition and on-board video, allowing drivers to review each session in detail and compare data, providing a unique learning environment.

Drivers interested in joining the series should submit their driver application at There is one spot available in the East series, along with several in the Central series.

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