FAQ

Spec MX-5 Challenge 2018

Frequently Asked Questions v1.4

Why was the Spec MX-5 Challenge created?

Our intent is for Spec MX-5 Challenge to be a new rung on the Mazda Road To 24 ladder that bridges between successful club classes like Spec Miata on one hand, and pro series like Global MX-5 Cup on the other. We have worked hard to make the series affordable for drivers moving up from club racing, while retaining attractive prize money and diverse venues for those wishing to build their racing careers.

What is the racing schedule for each series?

The eastern series will run:

· March 9-11 – VIR with SCCA

· May 11-13 – VIR with SCCA

· June 15-17 – Summit Point with SCCA

· July 27-29 – Road Atlanta with SCCA

· September 27-29 – Monticello with Global MX-5 Cup

· November 2-4 – Road Atlanta with SCCA ARRC (championship)

The central series will run:

· March 23-25 – NCM Motorsports Park with NASA

· May 4-6 – Circuit of The Americas with NASA

· June 8-10 – Hallett Motor Racing Circuit with NASA

· September 8-9 – NOLA Motorsports Park with NASA

· September 13-16 – Circuit of The Americas with NASA

· November 2-4 – Road Atlanta with SCCA ARRC (championship)

What will the weekend schedule be like?

The eastern series will generally be 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 SCCA regional weekend format of qualifying and a race each day. The cars will be assigned an appropriate run group by SCCA and will have a split start from other classes.

The central series will generally be 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 NASA regional weekend format of qualifying on the first day and a race each day. The cars will be assigned an appropriate run group by NASA and will have a split start from other classes.

What does the season cost?

The cost is $45k for either the eastern or central arrive-and-drive pro series.

When are payments due?

Once drivers have signed the season contract, the payment schedule consists of 6 payments of $7500, starting on February 1 and continuing until July 1.

Payments for repair of crash damage are due upon invoicing (sometimes it takes a few days or more after an event to assess the required repairs).

When you say the Spec MX-5 Challenge is an arrive & drive pro series, what do you mean?

As a full arrive & drive series, the series provides your race car rental, race car prep, tech, transport, entry fees, setup, mechanical work/crew, tools, fluids, brakes and tires. This approach makes it easier to ensure that cars are identical. It also allows the driver to focus completely on driving — learning new tracks and improving driving skills.

We view Spec MX-5 Challenge as a pro series because it offers prize money and is designed to feed into Mazda’s pro racing ladder system.

What are the additional “hidden costs”?

Each driver is responsible for their personal travel, accommodations, racewear, and licensing. The driver may also wish to utilize a professional driving coach (book in advance through the series or bring your own).

Who is responsible for car damage?

Each driver will be responsible for damage to the car while on track, including overrevs. Insurance is available through third party insurers, and as well we are currently looking at options to provide affordable insurance if all drivers agree to coverage.

What prize money is offered?

The 2018 championship winner will receive a $100,000 scholarship to run the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich in 2019. This scholarship should cover most of the costs of a Global MX-5 Cup season.

In addition, one other driver (besides the champion) will be selected by Mazda to compete in the Mazda Road To 24 Shootout. The winner of the shootout also receives a scholarship to Global MX-5 Cup.

Spec MX-5 Challenge will also offer other contingency prize money for individual races.

How many drivers will be competing?

10 drivers will compete in each of the central and eastern series, so there will be 20 drivers participating in the series in total. The top 7 drivers from each series will compete in the championship event, for a total of 14 drivers competing in the championship finale. A portion of the season fees will be refunded to drivers who do not qualify for the championship.

How do I apply to be a driver in the series?

The process is simple. First, fill out the series application form. The form is pretty simple, so it should only take a few minutes to fill it out. The series will collect applications during January 2018 (deadline: January 31). If there are more drivers than seats for either the central series or the east series, we will contact drivers who have indicated a willingness to drive in either to confirm. If there are still more drivers than seats, we will select 20 drivers based on date of application, ability to meet the payment schedule, flexibility to run either east or central, and support for a competitive field front-to-back.

What license(s) are required?

An SCCA full competition license will be required for all drivers. Central region drivers will also need a NASA competition license. If you have either of these licenses, obtaining the other is relatively straightforward.

What series would I complete in if I am from coming from the North or the West?

Any driver may choose to run in either the central or eastern series regular season. It doesn’t matter where you live; so for example, someone from Maryland could choose to drive in the central series or someone from Illinois could choose to drive in the eastern series. We also welcome international drivers, although the same licensing and qualification requirements will apply. The top 7 drivers from each series’ regular season will be invited to the championship event.

Can I run individual races?

The series is focused on drivers who wish to compete for the full season and aim to win the championship or other prizes. It may happen that a full-season driver cannot participate in an event due to last minute business or personal obligations. If this occurs, we will keep a waiting list of drivers to invite to participate for single events (two races).

How will the “at-large nominee” to the Mazda Road To 24 Shootout be decided?

Once the champion is decided, Mazda will select one of the remaining drivers based on their likelihood of further success at the Shootout.

What does the series do to ensure fair competition?

The series is building the race cars to an identical specification. The series mechanics are trained to prep and setup the cars identically. In addition, our plan is to put drivers in different cars for each event weekend so that any small car-car differences are balanced over the course of the season. Tire pressures will be adjusted to suit each driver’s feedback. In addition, a single set of tires will be used for qualifying and both races, so the way each driver manages tire wear and abuse may be a factor. The cars are outfitted with data and video for use by both the series and the drivers.

What are the marketing opportunities for my sponsors?

To keep costs down, this is not a spectator series, nor is it broadcast. The series will 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.

Since drivers change cars every weekend, can I have sponsor logos on the car?

Absolutely! You’ll just need to bring new sponsor decals each weekend. Sponsor logos will incur a fee for application and removal if not done by the driver. We also suggest reflecting your sponsorship on your race suit and/or helmet.

What license(s) are required?

An SCCA full competition license will be required for all drivers. Central region drivers will also need a NASA competition license. If you have either of these licenses, obtaining the other is relatively straightforward.

What are the specifications of the cars and how similar are the NC MX-5’s compared to the ND Global MX-5’s?

The cars are based on the NC generation Mazda MX-5. The current group of series cars are freshly rebuilt with new suspension, paint, graphics, data/camera systems, harnesses, steering wheels, seats, fire systems, and many other new components. They are similar to the NC generation MX-5 Cup cars. They have about 160hp and weigh 2400lbs with driver, which makes their power-to-weight ratio similar to the current generation Global MX-5 Cup cars.

What tires will be run?

The tires will be a DOT slick for dry weather. We are currently testing tires from several different manufacturers to find the perfect match for the car and the series. The rain tire will be a deep tread performance street tire.

Will the cars run with a hardtop?

For 2018, the cars will have open tops. Drivers will be required to wear arm restraints.

What backup equipment will the series have?

The series will carry spare parts to cover the most common failures. The series will bring a spare car to each event, in case of major crash damage to a car or to cover a mechanical breakdown that can’t be addressed due to time or parts supply. The series will bring rain tires for each driver, and backup slick tires in case of a safety issue with a tire.

Are the rules published so that I can build a car to them?

All cars for the 2018 season will be owned, built and prepped by the series. For the 2019 season, we are evaluating ways to allow driver-owned and driver-built cars into the series. If we can accommodate this cost-effectively, technical rules will be released later in 2018 but with ample time for car preparation.

Can I run my NC MX-5 Cup race car in the series?

Not in 2018. In 2019 or beyond, NC generation MX-5 Cup cars may be allowed if modified to Spec MX-5 rules.

Can I buy a Spec MX-5 race car?

Not for the 2018 season, but after that our goal is to make cars built by qualified and certified shops available for customer purchase at attractive prices. The objective is to offer a high-quality and highly standardized car that supports the series goal of true spec competition. A similar approach has been used by the SRO in partnership with Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA, and Mazda in the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich.