The Spec MX-5 Challenge central series completed its regular season alongside the NASA National Championships held at Circuit of The Americas, September 12-16. COTA is, of course, the purpose-built venue for Formula 1 in the United States, and is used for MotoGP, Pirelli World Challenge, the SVRA National Championships, World RallyCross and, starting in 2019, IndyCar.
This was the second time Spec MX-5 Challenge visited COTA this year. Spec MX-5 drivers again found that the track complexity and width made for some interesting battles, with plenty of passing. COTA also allows drivers who are consistently quick to break away from the pack, so it is a favorite of just about everyone.
With hurricanes and tropical storms affecting much of the U.S. weather system, drivers were shown mixed conditions for practice. As things turned out, qualifying was dry, as were both of the series’ weekend races. Harry Voigt leveraged extra practice time and laid down the fastest lap in qualifying to take pole.
On Saturday for race 1, Voigt led into COTA’s famous turn 1, but that didn’t last long. Tom Martin and Noah Grey slipped by and began a duel that lasted the entire race. The cars of Grey and Martin were rarely separated by more than a car length, and COTA’s long front and back straights set up multiple passes. Not content with that, the pair also made or attempted passes in T2, the esses, T13, T15, T18 and T20. On the final lap, Martin was leading and Grey’s attempted pass in turn 15 came up short. Voigt had stayed right behind these two, and when Martin and Grey went wide in T15, Voigt slipped past Grey to take over second. The final podium was Martin, Voigt and Grey.
Sunday’s 45 minute feature race looked set to take on a similar character. Grey passed Matt Million and Martin in the first few corners to take over P2 behind Voigt. But then Martin made a rare mistake. He got a great run on Grey out of T9, but tried an ill-advised outside pass in the high speed T10. Martin and Grey came together and Grey spun. This let Million past into second and split the field up. Grey got past Martin who then tried for the remainder of the race to help Grey to close the gap to Million, but they were too far back. Meanwhile, Voigt ran a steady pace and passed slower cars cleanly, preventing Million from closing much on him. At the finish, the order was Voigt, Million, Grey.
Next stop for the drivers is Road Atlanta, which will host the Spec MX-5 Challenge national championship races in early November. Based on what we saw with the combined east and central series fields in July, the championship should have plenty of action, especially with $100,000 on the line.
2019 Season Information
We have received many enquiries about the 2019 season. We are accepting applications while we put the finishing touches on our plans. To help prospective drivers learn more about the 2019 series and possibly submit a preliminary application, the series provides the following materials:
Spec MX-5 Videos:
Visit the Spec MX-5 YouTube Channel for more videos.
Spec MX-5 Challenge Driver Application.
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Interested in participating in the Spec MX-5 Challenge, but have questions? Contact us.