Interest in the Spec MX-5 Challenge Invitational Events has been growing steadily since this single-event, two-race option to qualify for the Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship was announced in October.
39 Applications To Date
The Series now has 39 applications for the 25 Invitational seats open during the regular season. All competition licensed drivers are encouraged to apply, especially those with an interesting story about their current or planned racing career and how it might be helped by Spec MX-5 Challenge.
No Car Necessary
“We are gratified by the strong positive reception that the 2020 Spec MX-5 race car and the Spec MX-5 Challenge presented by Toyo Tires has received,” said Tom Martin, Managing Director of Spec MX-5 Challenge, LLC. In particular, he noted, “The Invitationals are proving popular because they allow drivers to run just one Spec MX-5 Challenge weekend with full arrive- and-drive services, including the new Spec MX-5 race car, and the opportunity to earn contingency prizes. Successful drivers in Invitationals may then run for the $100,000 Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship.”
A Little Room Left for Acceptances
Invitational applications are coming in at a rate of 3-5 per week according to Series officials. From the 39 applications so far, 26 acceptance letters have been sent out in January, with more expected as applications rise and discussions with drivers proceed. Once a driver has been accepted, Mazda Motorsports will review his or her application and begin awarding the ten $1000 scholarships that it announced in November. “With 26 acceptance letters already issued, now is a good time for drivers considering the Invitationals to apply,” said Martin. “Not all accepted drivers will be able to compete given the need for some talent to raise sponsorship funds, so there is still some room for applicants” he elaborated.
Last Chance for Scholarships
“As far as sponsorship goes, drivers are encouraged to raise money from friends and family as well as interested businesses. In addition, Mazda will consider applications that are made up to January 27, 2020, but they are awarding scholarships on a first-come, first-served basis,” Martin added.
Getting To The Championship
Invitationals will be held at 5 Spec MX-5 Challenge regular season venues: Willow Springs International Raceway, Summit Point Raceway, Thunderhill Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sebring International. Drivers will compete with one another in groups of 5 per event, using Series-prepared cars. Invitational drivers will be on track with East or West Regional Series drivers and other Spec MX-5 drivers at each event, but will earn points in competition solely with other Invitational drivers. Invitational drivers will also earn points for teamwork, social media and clean driving. For those Invitational drivers who make it to the Championship, competition will then be against drivers from all Spec MX-5 Challenge Series.
“Spec MX-5 Challenge is a driver development series, and the Invitationals are particularly geared to search for talented drivers and help them advance,” noted Martin. He continued “Often, the cost of doing a complete season is daunting for new drivers, so we have created a way to lower the entry cost while raising the level of competition so that drivers can show their talents fully while being observed by Series and sponsor officials.”