2021 Spec MX-5 Challenge Regulations

Spec MX-5 Challenge Sporting Regulations  

2021.1.3 EDITION © 

8/31/2021

THIS BOOK IS AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF SPEC MX-5 CHALLENGE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  

Spec MX-5 Challenge, LLC 

2500 McHale Court Suite 100A 

Austin, TX 78758  http://www.specmx-5.com 

512-994-0656 

Spec MX-5 Challenge 

Sporting Regulations for the Spec MX-5 Challenge are a combination of the rules set forth by Spec MX-5 Challenge and the hosting sanctioning body for each Event Weekend (NASA CCR, SCCA GCR, IndyCar, etc.). The rules below are specific Spec MX-5 Challenge rules. If a rule doesn’t appear below, refer to the hosting sanctioning body’s rule book for clarification. If there is a conflict between Spec MX-5 Challenge rules and sanctioning body rules, the Spec MX-5 Challenge specific rules will be the default for the purposes of awarding points. 

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY 

Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort via digital applications or on the Internet, including any social network, blog, podcast, journal or diary, personal web site, web bulletin board or a chat room, whether or not associated or affiliated with Spec MX-5 Challenge, as well as any other form of electronic communication. The most common forms of social media are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube, but include many others. Even though these forums may seem informal, as a Competitor or Official of Spec MX-5 Challenge you are still expected to act professionally always. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what is posted online. Always be fair and courteous to others. Nevertheless, if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparage others or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment based on race, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law, rule or policy. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including suspension. Make sure you are always honest and accurate when posting information or news, and if you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Remember that the Internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Posts are “on the record” and available to the media, public, sponsors, and other business partners and subject to discovery in litigation matters. Express only your personal opinions. Never represent yourself as a spokesperson for Spec MX5 Challenge. 

Spec MX-5 Challenge Executive Committee 

The Spec MX-5 Challenge Executive Committee has total executive authority over all Spec MX- 5 regions, officials, and all matters of any nature pertaining to Spec MX-5 Challenge issues, except as otherwise stated in this subsection. The Executive Committee will make judgments, definitions, determinations, clarifications, and settle all presented appeals. The decisions of the Executive Committee are the final rulings and cannot be appealed. 

Spec MX-5 Challenge Series Director 

The Spec MX-5 Challenge Series Director assigned to the Event Weekend has total executive authority over the Event Weekend, for all matters of any nature pertaining to Spec MX-5 Challenge points issues. The Series Director will make judgments, definitions, determinations, and clarifications. The decisions of the Series Director can be appealed to the Executive Committee. 

Event Race Director/Stewards 

The Race Director/Stewards will be set in place by the hosting sanctioning body pertaining to that race event. The Race Director/Stewards will make judgments, definitions, determinations, and clarifications. The decisions of the Race Director/Stewards can be appealed to the Spec MX5 Challenge Series Director. However, in some cases the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series Director does not have the authority to overrule the host sanctioning body (e.g. a ban on a driver for sanctioning body rules infractions or a ban on a driver based on health considerations). 

Suit Patches 

All competitors are recommended to have the following logos displayed on their suit for the duration of each event. Patches will be provided by the series; embroidery is also acceptable in the correct size. 

Left Chest 

  • Spec MX-5 Challenge – upper left chest 
  • Mazda 

Right Chest 

  • Space for team name 
  • Toyo Tires 
  • Pagid Racing (opt) 
  • Sanctioning Body (NASA/SCCA) 

Car Livery 

All cars must have decals as required by the sanctioning body for each race. These are specified in the GCR for the relevant sanctioning body. 

In addition, to qualify for sponsor contingency money, points and prizes, cars must carry the following decals in the specified positions: 

  • Mazda logos on rear fenders and front bumper (may appear on bumper cover or on bumper structure cover plate) 
  • Toyo Tires logos on front and rear bumper cover corners and on rocker panels 
  • Pagid Racing logos on rocker panels 
  • Spec MX-5 Challenge logos on windshield eyebrow, upper rear section of front fenders, and rear center bumper cover 

For consistency, the following guidelines are preferred:  

  • Note: ideally car minimum weight should appear on the rocker panels directly below the number plate (if used) 
  • The number plate is optional, but preferred 
  • Car numbers on driver’s right side of windshield, center rear section of front fenders and rear license plate recess 
  • Driver’s surname on windshield below number 

An example of these logos and other decals with approximate placement is shown in this diagram (note the blue and black background areas are indicative of the free area that may differ between cars and may be any design and color or colors): 

For driver convenience, these Series-required decals are available as a kit in the Spec MX-5 Parts Store. Similarly, vector art is available on the SpecMX-5.com site. 

Testing 

The series allows testing pre-season at tracks the Series will run (assuming any necessary cars. During the Spec MX-5 Challenge season, drivers may test at tracks, either in-series of outside- of-series. 

Drivers 

No sign-up procedure is needed for drivers to compete in the Spec MX-5 Challenge. Spec MX-5

Challenge reserves the right to add more drivers to the series at any given time. However, drivers must comply with all sanctioning body requirements. Note: 

  • Drivers who wish to score points must pay a separate points registration fee for each race        at https://specmx-5.com/shop/
  • To compete for the regular season series and/or overall National championship, drivers  must participate in a specified number of regular season events. This number varies depending on driver’s choice of Continental Series, Regional Series, Team Series or Invitational Series. 

Car Specifications 

Cars running in the Spec MX-5 Challenge must meet the requirements for the NC-generation Mazda Spec MX-5 as described in the SCCA rules for STL class cars, when running with SCCA. When running with NASA, cars must meet the ST5 rules published from by NASA. 

In addition, cars must meet the Vehicle Technical Specification set by Mazda Motorsports and Spec MX-5 Challenge. These supplementary rules are available on specmx-5.com under Competitor Info/Rules and are incorporated by each sanctioning body into the supplemental rules for each race weekend. In the event of a conflict between STL or ST5 rules or this document and Mazda VTS, the Mazda VTS will prevail for Spec MX-5 Challenge races. 

Cars running in the Spec MX-5 Challenge must have video recording capability and it must be functional during qualifying and race sessions. Non-functioning video will be grounds for disqualification or penalty by the Series Director. 

A tech evaluation process for cars is available from the series. All judgements about compliance or non-compliance with series rules are under the final discretion of the Spec MX-5 Series Director. 

Car Weight 

Cars will have a minimum weight with driver to equalize driver weight. This weight is 2500 lb. — with driver and empty fuel. 

Spirit of Spec Racing 

Any driver or crew member found tampering with a car during tech or after tech to gain an advantage will result in the driver being suspended immediately from the series. Penalties for technical infractions are specified in the technical rules. 

Tire Rules 

Cars in the Spec MX-5 Challenge are limited to running two new (sticker) sets of tires per race weekend (not including any optional test day). In the event that a driver damages a tire or wheel, and there is a safety concern, the Series Director may allow a used replacement tire. The Series Director will have final say in if a tire may be replaced or not. 

Rain Tire Rules 

The decision to use or not to use rain tires is at the discretion of each driver for each race. 

Radio Rules  

Radio communications are allowed during practice, qualifying and each race. 

Race Structure 

The format for each event weekend will be dictated by the hosting sanctioning body (SCCA/NASA/SVRA/etc.), but typically each event weekend will consist of 3 days on track as follows: 

Day 1: A test day (generally hosted by the track or sanctioning body) 

Day 2: One Qualifying session and Race 1 Day 3: Race 2 

Each race will have a split start from other classes, if possible. Spec MX-5 Challenge is a multiclass racing series. No driver can gain an “unfair” advantage from an out of class competitor during qualifying or race sessions (ruled by Spec MX-5 Series Director). 

Spec MX-5 Challenge has a goal of allowing competitors to double-dip at regular season Marquee events (Marquee events are the 22 events on the Spec MX-5 Challenge regular season calendar). This means that the Series has a goal of running “Spec MX-5 Challenge” (SMX) races in a separate run group from the run group in which 2020 Spec MX-5 cars are normally classed (STL in SCCA and ST5 in NASA). So, for example, if an SCCA event has STL class cars running in Group 3, then Spec MX-5 drivers may optionally run their cars in STL in Group 3. No Spec MX-5 Challenge points are scored in STL/Group 3, except for Team Option drivers. In this example, the Spec MX-5 Challenge race might be assigned to Group 1. Those Group 1 races will be the points-scoring races for Spec MX-5 Challenge (SMX) cars during that weekend. 

This structure of double-dipping and Team options will only be offered at Spec MX-5 Challenge Marquee events. At some events it may not be possible due to scheduling or group structure limitations of the sanctioning body. The Series will request a split start for Spec MX-5 cars in the Spec MX-5 Challenge races, but this is not guaranteed. 

Qualifying and Starting Order 

The grid for Spec MX-5 Challenge Race 1 will be determined by the fastest lap for each driver in the designated qualifying session(s). Laps may be discarded where track limit violations or other rules violations are found. The Series Director controls the final starting grid and may make adjustments for special situations including on-track incidents and technical issues (e.g. Timing & Scoring technical issues). In the event qualifying is not completed, grid order will be based on current point standings. 

The grid for Race 2 will, if allowed by the sanctioning body, be set by the faster of: 

  • each driver’s fastest lap from the first qualifying session 
  • each driver’s fastest lap during Race 1 
  • each driver’s fastest lap from the second qualifying session if there is one 

Points System 

The Spec MX-5 Challenge points system is different from the points systems commonly used in road racing. Therefore, please read the rules carefully.  

Overall, a driver must choose to score points in one of the eight competitions: Northeast Regional Series, West Regional Series, Southeast Regional Series, North Central Regional Series, Southwest Regional Series, Continental Series, Invitational Series and Team Series. A driver’s series of choice is indicated when he or she registers for points for his/her first event. 

Regular Season Points System

Registration

Series competitors must register their participation in Spec MX-5 Challenge races at Marquee events in order to receive points and to qualify for the Championship. 

Registration is a separate activity from race entry

Points registration occurs with Spec MX-5 Challenge, LLC via the Specmx-5.com website and is used for series administrative support, marketing and award fees. Race entry occurs with the sanctioning body (eg; SCCA or NASA or SVRA and sometimes their designated entry management firms such as MotorSportReg.com) and incurs separate fees for racetrack rental and race administration. 

Drivers who have not registered their participation in Spec MX-5 Challenge races may enter and drive in those events, but unregistered drivers will not score points or be eligible to qualify for the Championships. To register points for Regionals, drivers must submit information and payment to Spec MX-5 Challenge, LLC. There is a form on the SpecMX-5.com website for event registration. Remember, registration is a separate activity from race entry.  

Drivers must register for a minimum number of races to be qualified for the Spec MX-5 Challenge Championships (regular season and National). In the event of the number of drivers wishing to attend the National Championship exceeding track capacity, event entry will be determined by points.

Registration for Spec MX-5 Challenge Series regular season events involves a fee of $200 per event (in advance) or $500 per event (if registered after the event). Registration for the Championship requires a fee of $1000, in advance. Note that Mazda offers a contingency payment for drivers who attend the championship. This is intended to defray the cost of registration. 

Points may be registered here: https://specmx-5.com/shop/ 

Points Scoring

At each Marquee event in the SMX class, all drivers — Regional, Continental, Invitational and

Team Option — will compete for points on the same 100 point scale. The driver who finishes Race 1 in first place, regardless of series, will earn 100 points. The driver who finishes P2, will score 95 points. P3 earns 92, P4 earns 90, and P5 and beyond getting 1 point less per position: 89, 88, 87 etc. If 5 or fewer cars are entered in a race, P1 will receive 95 points, P2 earns 92, and so on.

So, for example, if a West Region driver finishes P1 overall, she will score 100 points. If a Continental driver get P2s overall, he will score 95. If a Team Option driver gets P3, he will score 92, and if the top Invitational driver finishes P4 overall, she will get 90 points.

Team Option drivers also score points with their driver running in STL or ST5 class. These points are earned on a 100 point scale against other Spec MX-5s (but not other car types) running in the double-dip class. (If 5 or fewer Spec MX-5 cars are entered in an STL/ST5 race, P1 will receive 95 points, P2 earns 92, and so on as is done in SMX). Races are counted based on the best combined totals of SMX and double-dip points (e.g. you can’t cherry pick 6 SMX races and 6 different double-dip races).

Regional series drivers may earn points from events outside their designated region. However, note that a minimum of 4 races in the designated region must be counted. 

End of Season Ranking

The regular season points ranking and podium are determined separately for each Series: 5 Regions, Continental, Invitational and Team (8 total podiums). Each Series counts a specific number of races:

  • Regional: best 6 races out of a minimum of 6 races (minimum 3 events). 4 races need to come from your respected region.
  • Continental: best 6 races out of a minimum of 6
  • Invitational: best 2 races
  • Team: best 6 races out of a minimum of 6

Ranking is done by taking the average points earned by each driver or team. So, a North Region driver counts his top 6 races. If those earned 545 points, then his regular season points would be 545/6 = 90.83. If that is the highest average points value for North Region drivers, then our example driver wins the North Region regular season.

Similarly, a Continental Series driver might run 10 races. Points count for her top 8 races. If these total 750, then her average is 93.75. If that is the second highest total among all Continental Series drivers during the 2021 regular season, then she earns the second spot on the Continental regular season podium.

The same approach of averaging points per race counted is used for Invitational (all races are used to calculate season average) and Team Option (best 6 races) scoring.

Carryover Points for National Championship

Average points earned during the regular season are also treated as carryover points for the National Championship. In addition, drivers earn 1 bonus point per registered race.

Special Regular Season Points Factors for Invitationals 

To score points in Spec MX-5 Challenge Marquee events invitational Series drivers must run with an Approved Invitationals Shop (note: not all Preferred Shops for car building are Approved for Invitationals) and must be pre-registered, with payments completed and contracts signed, for the events in which they run. Similarly, Approved Shops must have completed contracts with the Spec MX-5 Challenge, LLC to run Invitational events and must have paid the requisite fees. Drivers or their shops on their behalf must declare their intent to run in a given Invitational, and complete paperwork and fee submission, prior to the event to have their points counted. 

Invitational drivers must count all races from all events toward the ranking for regular season and carryover points. All points scorers in each Invitational event will qualify for the Championship. Drivers should be aware that many more drivers may qualify for the Championship than there are rental cars available. 

Drivers are limited to one Invitational. However, the Series reserves the right to allow a driver to run a second Invitational if the driver’s participation will contribute something of value to the Spec MX-5 community. In addition, the Series reserves the right to allow a driver to run a second Invitational in hardship cases (e.g., illness, death in the family or mechanical failures in a rental car during the event). Drivers who wish to drive multiple Invitationals may apply to the Series (contact@SpecMX-5.com) stating their reason for wanting to run in a second Invitational. Additional requirements will be applied to such applications as specified above. 

Championship Event Points

As many as the top 60 drivers from the series may qualify, based on regular season carryover points, to compete head-to-head at the Championship Event. 

Drivers who qualify for the Championship Event will start the Championship Event with the carryover points they earned in the regular season. They will earn additional points from the races at the Championship.

Sanctioning body rules for flagging, contact and aggressive driving will apply, subject to approval of the Spec MX-5 Challenge Race Director. Track limits per sanctioning body and track will apply.

Championship Event points will be assigned for each Championship race finish as follows: 1st –

100, 2nd – 95, 3rd – 92, 4th – 90, 5th – 89, 6th – 88 and so on down with one point decremented for each position down to 30th place. The series reserves the right to deduct points as a penalty for driving infractions. 

The Championship winner will be the driver with the highest points total based on Carryover points plus Championship Race 1 points plus Championship Race 2 points. 

Prize System 

Spec MX-5 Challenge Champion payout maximums are planned as follows, depending on participation levels: 

1st – $30,000 scholarship to an approved racing program (with driver choice of supporting series race team) 

If there are sufficient entries: 

2nd – $20,000 scholarship to an approved racing program (with driver choice of support by series race team) 

3rd – $10,000 scholarship to an approved racing program (with driver choice of support by series race team) 

$5,000 awarded to the highest-finishing Masters driver, provided he or she is not also a P1, P2 or P3 finisher in total points. 

$5,000 awarded to the highest-finishing Emerging Talent driver, provided he or she is not also a P1, P2 or P3 finisher in total points. 

To earn a payout, drivers must participate in the Championship event. 

To earn a payout, Masters drivers must be over the age of 45 at the time of the Championship. 

To earn a payout, Emerging Talent drivers must be under the age of 23 at the time of the Championship. 

At least one driver, if qualified, will also be selected at large by Mazda to receive a nomination to the 2021 Mazda MRT24 Shootout. 

The series reserves the right to alter these prizes at any time. 

Points Tie Breakers 

For the East regular season and West regular season Championships, the following criteria, in order, will be used until the tie is broken to determine podium for each Regional Championship: 

  • Most 1st places 
  • Most 2nd places 
  • Most 3rd places 
  • Most 4th places and so on until the tie is broken 
  • If the finishing position tiebreakers do not resolve the tie, then cumulative qualifying time delta in head-head races will be used to resolve the tie. 

In the event of a tie or ties for regular season points in Regional or National competition, each tied driver will be awarded the same number of carry over points to the overall Championship event. Such ties will be broken as a result of Championship competition or after the overall Championship. 

In the event of a tie for overall Championship points, after the Championship races have been run, the position will be decided upon the following criteria in this order until the tie is broken: 

  • Championship race points total (2 races) 
  • Carryover points 
  • Most 1st place finishes (combined regular season and Championship races) 
  • Highest finishing position in the final Championship Races 

Driving and Technical Infractions 

Drivers in the Spec MX-5 Challenge series are expected to race fairly and cleanly. Avoidable contact, blocking, over-aggressive driving, etc. will be penalized based on severity of offense, from points penalties to position loss, up to and including suspension. A warning may be issued when the series lacks complete information. Repeat offenders, including those on warning probation, will receive increasingly higher penalties, generally in the form of points reductions. The SCCA (Appendix P of the GCR) and NASA (sections 25 and 26 of the CCR) have detailed explanations. Other sections cover other important rules. In addition, one clarification is that, although most responsibility for passing is placed on the overtaking car, abrupt changes of line during bump drafting or braking situations will be considered blocking.  

The hosting sanction body will use their standard procedures (refer to hosting sanctioning body’s rulebook and event supplemental regulations) to conduct the event, including driver infractions, flagging protocols, yellow flag procedures, etc. Drivers must follow all of the hosting sanctioning body’s procedures, instructions, and directives. A protest is the basic method to generate a ruling on a driving infraction.  

Technical infractions should be addressed as specified in the Vehicle Technical Specification and the Terms and Conditions for Mazda Team Support Program.  

The Series Director may add to, or reduce, any penalties assigned or not assigned by the hosting sanctioning body as deemed necessary for fair competition. Similarly, the Series Director may award or subtract points or take other actions independently or in contradistinction to the SCCA or NASA official rulings if that is the most fair way to address infractions.  

Drivers must be able to provide video of incidents and offer data collected from on-board systems to ensure fair driving and compliance.  

Series penalties (for driving or technical infractions) may be appealed up to seven (7) days after a penalty decision is rendered.  

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