SimRacing Challenge FAQ

2019 Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge created? 

Spec MX-5 Challenge is designed as a pro driver development program with the aim of assisting drivers to learn, grow and advance in professional road racing. Virtual motorsports is quickly becoming an important rung on the driver-development ladder. We believe it is important to create a simulator racing path toward road racing, just as Spec MX-5 Challenge has established a bridge between amateur and professional racing and to that end we have created a parallel series, the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge.

Wait, what is Spec MX-5 Challenge?

The Spec MX-5 Challenge Series is a pro road racing championship that bridges between successful club classes like SCCA/NASA Spec Miata on one hand, and pro series like Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup on the other hand. Drivers in Spec MX-5 Challenge compete in NC-generation Mazda Spec MX-5 race cars, travelling to tracks like Road America, VIR, Laguna Seca, Circuit of The Americas and Road Atlanta. Over $100,000 in prize money is on offer, helping drivers advance their careers.

Okay, then what is Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge?

The Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge brings together current pro drivers entered in the real-life Spec MX-5 Challenge with active sim-racers for a competitive and professional simulator racing series utilizing the iRacing Motorsports simulation platform.  iRacing is a subscription-based service and is one of the most popular and realistic online motorsports simulation platforms available. 

What is the 2019 Regular Season Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge schedule? 

Event Venue Practice Event Date
1 VIR 2/25/19 2/27/19
2 Summit Point 3/25/19 3/27/19
3 COTA 4/22/19 4/24/19
4 WTLS 5/20/19 5/22/19
5 Sonoma 6/3/19 6/5/19
6 Mid-Ohio 7/1/19 7/3/19
7 Rd.Atlanta 7/15/19 7/17/19
8 Rd.America 8/5/19 8/7/19
9 Sebring 8/19/19 8/21/19
10 Watkins Glen 9/9/19 9/11/19
11 Rd.Atlanta 10/21/19 10/23/19

How do these tracks relate to the real-world Spec MX-5 Challenge tracks?

They are almost identical. Fortunately, the iRacing platform includes a wide selection of US pro tracks and, with the exception of the Utah Motorsports Campus, every track on the 2019 Spec MX-5 Challenge schedule is available for use in the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge. 

What is the typical schedule for an event?

Each event schedule is set up as follows:

  • 7:00 PM EST – 90-min open practice (optional)
  • 8:30 PM EST – 15-min open qualifying for Race 1
  • 8:45 PM EST – 20-min Race 1
  • 9:05 PM EST – 15-min open practice/Race 2 registration
  • 9:20 PM EST – 15-min open qualifier for Race 2
  • 9:35 PM EST – 30-min Race 2

What car will be used on iRacing for the series?

In keeping with the driver-development theme of the Spec MX-5 Challenge, the virtual series will use iRacing’s 2015 (NC) MX-5 Cup car.  This car is almost identical dynamically to the real-world Spec MX-5 car. Remaining true to the ‘spec-series’ concept of the Spec MX-5 Challenge, the SimRacing Challenge will provide participants with a fixed vehicle setup file prior to each event, keeping the emphasis on driving skills.

Are there prizes for the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge?

  • As part of a driver development ladder, we want to assist drivers in their motorsports careers. The season grand prize is therefore designed to help drivers move up the racing ladder. The top 20 season points holders will compete for the 2019 Spec MX-5 Challenge SimRacing Series championship at the season finale event at Road Atlanta on 10.23.19.

The championship winner may choose one of the following prizes:

  • Spec MX-5 Challenge Series Driver Development test. Drive a Spec MX-5 Challenge Series race car at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX with race team support, data analytics, driver coaching and career consultation.
  • Spec MX-5 High Performance Driving Experience (HPDE). Drive a Spec MX-5 Challenge Series race car during a track day, with race team support, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX.
  • Wheel-Wheel Competition Licensing SchoolParticipate in a Level Up Racing or Winding Road Academy licensing school in a Spec MX-5 Challenge Series race car to attain a provisional SCCA or NASA competition license

Each of these prizes is valued at over $4000.

Ricomotech will also award Championship prizes:

  • $75 Ricmotech Gift Code to 1st Place in the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge Series Championship
  • $50 Ricmotech Gift Code to 2nd Place in the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge Series Championship
  • $25 Ricmotech Gift Code to 3rd Place in the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge Series Championship

In addition, each event offers prizes:

  • Spec MX-5 SimRacing series regular season event payout ($175.00 per event):
    • 1st place (total points from R1 + R2) – $100.00
    • 2nd place (total points from R1 + R2) – $50.00
    • 3rd Place (total points from R1 + R2) – $25.00
  • $25 Ricmotech Gift Code to the winner of each Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge Series race (22 races)
  • Spec MX-5 SimRacing end of regular season points leader payout bonus – $200.00
  • These prizes come in the form of credits which can be used to purchase racing-related items (minimum purchase may be required):
    • Sim racing gear – sponsored by Ricmotech
    • Automotive performance parts – sponsored by Winding Road Racing
    • Racing safety equipment – sponsored by Winding Road Racing

Sounds nice, but I have to compete against experienced pro drivers?

Simulator racing is a distinctive sport, so we think it is likely that experienced sim drivers have an advantage and will be very competitive. However, the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge wants to award its prizes to drivers from outside its existing pro ranks. The Spec MX-5 Challenge SimRacing Series will therefore include two driver classes:

  • PRO – Current Spec MX-5 Challenge Series drivers and other pro drivers (e.g. MX-5 Cup, PWC, IMSA)
    • PRO category drivers are not required to participate but have an automatic entry should they want to race
    • PRO drivers will compete in a separate points championship and are not eligible for regular season prizes or the SimRacing Challenge Series Grand Prize
  • AM – All non-Spec MX-5 Challenge Series drivers
    • AM-class drivers will compete in a separate points championship and are eligible for regular season prizes and may compete for the SimRacing Challenge Series Grand Prize
    • To be eligible for the AM Championship Grand Prize, the driver must complete 8 of the 10 regular season events and the SimRacing Challenge Series Championship event

How are the series points awarded? 

For each regular season race (2 x races per event), points are awarded to the top-20 finishers.  1st place is awarded 20 points, 2nd place is awarded 19 points and so on through to P20.  At the conclusion of the regular season (10 events), drivers will be ranked in order of regular points adjusted for dropping the worst 2 results for that driver during the regular season. 40 carryover points will be awarded to the overall adjusted points leader, 38 carryover points to 2nd place in adjusted regular season points, 36 carryover points to 3rd place in adjusted regular season points, and so on through P20. all other positions receive zero carryover points.

For the championship races, points will be awarded as in each regular season race, with 20 points for 1st, 19 for 2nd, 18 for 3rd, etc. The championship winner will be the driver with the highest combination of  carryover points and championship race points. For example, if a driver finishes 5th in the regular season, she would receive 30 carryover points. If she finished 1st in championship race 1, she would earn an additional 20 points. If she finished 3rd in championship race 2, she would earn an additional 18 points. Adding 30 + 20 + 18, yields 68 total points. If that were the highest total points tally of any driver, she would be declared the championship winner. 

Will races be streamed so that my friends can watch me win? 

Each race will offer a live-stream broadcast by SYMTV:

  • Includes 2 commentators/producers
  • Streamed in HD
  • Streamed on the Winding Road Magazine YouTube channel: (https://www.youtube.com/user/windingroadmagazine)
  • Real-time analysis and replays
  • Incorporate sponsor logos
  • Timing and scoring graphics
  • Pre- & post-race interviews

 How do I enter the Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge? 

If you are already an iRacing subscriber simply go to the LEAGUES page and locate our league “Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge” and click the JOIN button to the right.  We’ll review your iRacing profile and as long as you meet the participation requirements you will be invited to join the series.

There is no entry fee or cost for you to participate (other than the iRacing subscription and content) but to ensure a high-quality field we require that you have an iRacing license level of C (or better) with a Safety Rating of 2.0 (or better) and an iRating of 1,500 (or better). In addition, we are limiting the number of participants to 50.

If you feel that your credentials don’t accurately reflect your sim-racing abilities, you may still apply to the league and we will review your driving record within iRacing and follow-up with you for additional information related to your sim-racing experience.