What is the Spec MX-5 Challenge Invitational Series?
The Invitational Series for 2020 is a set of five regular season events held across the country at some of the better tracks — Summit Point, Thunderhill Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sebring International and Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Invitational Series participants run a single event (two races) and the winner of each event qualifies for the Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship. Invitational Series participants score points that carry over to the Championship.
Invitational Series drivers are provided with a fully prepped race car and full arrive & drive services at the event in which they participate. A total of 25 Invitational drivers (5 per event) are expected to compete over the five Invitational events during 2020.
How do I qualify for an Invitational?
Invitational drivers may apply to be invited to an event. Spec MX-5 Challenge is looking for drivers who have an interesting, racing relevant story. The relevant story could be a sim racing background, success in karting, special background including educational or gender or nationality, military service, age, success in another form of racing or something we haven’t thought of that might appeal to future drivers in the Series.
The Series is also looking for drivers capable of funding or raising funding for their Invitational run. Ideally, drivers would be in a position to raise funds for their Invitational event and for the Championship, should they qualify.
How is competition set up at the events?
Invitational Series drivers participate in special marquee events organized by Mazda and Spec MX-5 Challenge. These marquee events during 2020 are designed to be especially attractive and thus have the highest car count. The marquee events also feed into a national championship for Spec MX-5, with an expected $100,000 in prize money.
Invitational Series drivers will compete alongside drivers in the East and West Regional Series marquee events. Club racers who are not participating in any of the Championship Series are also expected to attend. The objective is to have 15 or more Spec MX-5 cars racing at each marquee venue.
The Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship will be held in the fall of 2020. It will bring together the top points qualifiers in the Spec MX-5 Regional Series, Invitationals and National Series. Each driver will carry over points from his or her qualifying races. Carryover points plus those scored in the Championship races will determine the 2020 season champion. $100,000 in prizes are expected to be awarded, and drivers will also be eligible to be selected by Mazda for the MRT24 Shootout.
What is the racing schedule for the series?
The regular season is expected to start in May and culminate in the Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship in October or November. The exact schedule awaits detailed event scheduling by Spec MX-5 partners SCCA and NASA.
For the National Series marquee events, Spec MX-5 is targeting superior tracks including:
April: Thunderhill Raceway (NASA)
April: Summit Point Raceway (SCCA)
June: Charlotte Motor Speedway (SCCA)
August: Sebring International (SCCA)
October: Buttonwillow Raceway Park (NASA)
SPEC MX-5 CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP
October/November: Road Atlanta (SCCA) or CoTA (tbd)
What is the cost for the Invitational Series?
The Invitational Series regular season events are priced at $8850. This price includes car rental, mechanical breakage, pre-race prep, car storage, car transport to and from events, brake pads, fuel, fluids, nitrogen, set-up adjustments, trackside repairs, crew chief, spares, tools, snacks, drinks, assistance with data. Details are available in a PDF here.
If I’m racing with Regional Series drivers and club racers, how are points awarded?
Invitational Series drivers are awarded points at their event based on finishing position among Invitational drivers. In addition, they can score points for teamwork, social media presence and clean driving.
The winning Invitational Series driver from each event will be invited to the Championship. If the winning driver from an event is unable to attend due to schedule conflicts or funding limitations, the second place driver from that event will be invited. Each driver brings carryover points to the Championship. These carryover points, plus points awarded for the Championship races, will determine the podium for the Championship. At the Championship, Invitational Series drivers will be competing for points with Regional Series drivers as well as qualified National Series drivers.