Spec MX-5 Challenge Racing 2023
Frequently Asked Questions v1.6
(For a brief introduction to the Series, and why you should be in Spec MX-5 Challenge, click here.)
What parts do I need to turn a donor car into a Spec MX-5 v2?
Mazda is sole source of many parts needed to build Spec MX-5s, including engine, suspension, cage, roof and more. In addition, WindingRoadRacing.com offers most of the other parts needed that are not offered by Mazda in the Spec MX-5 Parts Store.
You may also build a race car, ready-to-run from one of the Spec MX-5 Challenge Preferred Race Shops.
How Do The Points Work?
See full breakdown: 2023 Point System.
- The Spec MX-5 Challenge presented by Toyo Tires will award up to $80,000 in prizes at the Championship event . (location/date TBD)
- A $30,000 scholarship is slated for the winner of the Championship
What is the racing schedule for the series?
The regular season is expected to start in March and culminate in the Spec MX-5 National Championship. The exact schedule awaits event scheduling by Spec MX-5 partners SCCA and NASA.
The preliminary schedule can be found here: 2023 Season Schedule.
What will the weekend schedule be like?
Each event, except the Championship is run with either SCCA or NASA on a club racing weekend. The series will generally run 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 regional weekend format of qualifying and a race each day. The cars running in the Challenge will be assigned an appropriate run group by the organizers and will have a split start from other classes.
What does the season cost and what do I get?
The cost for a season will depend on the type of racing, tow distances and service package selected by the driver. The Spec MX-5 Series office will be available to direct you to race shops providing Spec MX-5 Services. In addition, we will provide a list of entry fees for the various options described above.
Are there Spec MX-5 cars available for sale?
Yes, both used and new cars are available.
Most drivers will commission their race shop to build a car for them.
It is also possible to convert existing SCCA T4 or NC Playboy Cup cars to run in the Spec MX-5 Challenge.
Or, you may wish to build your own car.
Can I buy a Spec MX-5 race car from a series-approved builder?
Yes. The series has a list of experienced shops who will build Spec MX-5 v2 cars. The objective is to ensure high-quality and highly standardized cars that fit with the technical migration path (2019-2022) we have developed with Mazda, SCCA and NASA.
Are the rules published so that I can build a car to them?
The Spec MX-5 run in compliance with NASA and SCCA rules and classes. These classifications (STL for SCCA and ST5 for NASA) have published rules which can be found in the GCR of each organization. Mazda also offers detailed rules specific to the Spec MX-5 race car. Spec MX-5 Challenge publishes competition rules for the marquee events (East and West Regionals, National Series, Invitationals). See VTS rules here.
Can I run my NC MX-5 Cup race car in the series? My T4 car?
Yes, with modifications. NC-generation Mazda MX-5 SCCA T4 cars can be modified for series use and are invited to run the full Spec MX-5 Challenge series. Adaptation of T4 cars is straightforward.
NC-generation MX-5 Cup cars (“Playboy Cup” cars) can be easily converted to Spec MX-5 legal trim.
Can my donor car be either a convertible model or a PRHT (power retractable hard top) model?
Yes. PRHT cars must comply with all VTS rules. The PRHT car requires some panels to be trimmed and must use the same hardtop as the standard Spec MX-5 uses.
When you say the Spec MX-5 Challenge is a driver development series, what do you mean?
We view Spec MX-5 Challenge as a driver development series because it offers substantial prize money, often runs on “pro” tracks and is designed to feed into pro racing ladder systems if that is desired. Specifically, Spec MX-5 Challenge is designed to help drivers move from entry level club racing, particularly SRF, T4 or Spec Miata, toward Global MX-5 Cup, World Challenge and IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge if desired. It is also designed for drivers who simply want to set goals for improvement and work toward them over their years in Spec MX-5 Challenge.
The big difference from club racing is the way Spec MX-5 Challenge is organized for driver development. Spec MX-5 Challenge focuses on substantial fields (10 cars or more), running a tightly specified car (to make the driver the key variable), with talented drivers who are not yet experienced pros. The cars generally have data and video systems to support data sharing and analysis.
There is also active support for driver development:
By creating national venues that draw top competitors, Spec MX-5 Challenge offers a simple way for drivers to benchmark themselves. This is often a critical first step in setting driver development goals. In addition, Series participants are offered coaching and data services, so that they get direct and immediate feedback on their driving practices from active participants in Spec MX-5 racing. This provides feedback from pro drivers with experience in the same spec car or the same track, which makes data more relevant and easier to understand. This kind of feedback is crucial to moving up the learning curve. The embedded model also allows for lower cost coaching than private 1:1 approaches.
As a driver development series, Spec MX-5 Challenge also provide significant publicity for drivers, with articles, videos and live streams to gain exposure within the racing community.
How many drivers will be competing?
50 cars competed in the 2020 series. Our objective is to have more than 75 drivers competing in Spec MX-5 during 2023. Each event is designed have 15-20 participants, with more than 20 attending the National Championship.
What license(s) are required?
An SCCA or a NASA full competition license will be required for all drivers depending on the event. Note that if you have either of these licenses, obtaining the other is relatively straightforward. If you are not currently licensed, the series may be able to arrange a licensing school through our partner Level Up Racing (SCCA). Early application is recommended.
Can I run individual races?
Yes! We will have a set of Spec MX-5 Challenge Invitational Events for drivers who want to do single events with strong competition. Or you can pick a personally convenient group of events and tracks to run with either SCCA or NASA regionally.
What does the series do to ensure fair competition?
All cars run to a common rule set that has been carefully designed to generate fair competition. This rule set consists of SCCA rules for the STL class, NASA rules for the ST5 class, Mazda Motorsports technical rules for Spec MX-5 cars and Spec MX-5 Challenge rules for competition. For more information see the SCCA and NASA GCRs and this page for Spec MX-5 specific rules.
How close is the competition?
Drivers are recruited with the goal of having tight competition. In 2018, we had nine different winners in 22 races. The majority of the races in 2020 were decided by a few tenths of a second, including the championship. Races during the 2020 season were as close as 0.006 sec at the finish! We invite you to view some of the in-car videos from the 2018-2020 seasons to see how close the competition can be.
What are the marketing opportunities for my sponsors?
You may run sponsor logos on your car. Drivers may also live stream each race from their cars. The series may post videos from selected cars after each race and publish race news in various media outlets. As with most racing, the key is for you and your sponsors to leverage their support and your success. Drivers are encouraged to promote their involvement in the series as well. Note that to keep costs down, this is not a spectator series.
Will the cars run with a hardtop?
Yes. Both the OEM removable hardtop and an optional aftermarket hardtop are legal.
Are the shocks adjustable?
The spec Penske shock is a single adjustable design.
What size tire is used?
The spec tire for Spec MX-5 racing is the Toyo Proxes RR 235/40ZR17. This is required for marquee and SCCA events and is preferred for NASA ST5. The rain tire is a Toyo Proxes RA1 235/40ZR17.
I have 7″ OEM wheels. Can I run those?
Yes. The 17 x 7″ OEM wheel that was offered on street NC MX-5s is legal. There is an optional 8″ wheel as well. See the VTS.
I have an early (2006-2009) car. Is that front bumper cover legal?
Yes. Any year and design of bumper cover that was available on the NC is legal for 2022. See the VTS.