Why Spec MX-5?

Why was the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series presented by Toyo Tires created?
The Spec MX-5 Challenge presented by Toyo Tires is THE Driver Development Series. While all seat time is helpful, Spec MX-5 Challenge is specifically designed for learning:

  • Spec car to allow drivers to focus on driving
  • Attention to costs, allowing drivers to run early in their careers
  • Karters, recently-licensed drivers, club racers, and those returning mid-career are encouraged to participate and develop their skills here
  • Extensive factory support from Mazda Motorsports
  • MAJOR prize money

The Challenge Series is a road racing championship in club racing like Spec Miata, offering a path for entry level and experienced club racers to compete as either a destination series or a step on the way to the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 presented by BFGoodrich Tires.

The Challenge started in 2018 and will be entering its sixth season in 2023.

What are the specifications of the cars?
The Spec MX-5 race car is based on the NC-generation (2006-2015) Mazda MX-5. The NC platform has been selected because:

  • it allows a tightly-controlled spec series
  • it allows relatively low-cost cars to be built and run
  • the platform is capable of high performance.

The Spec MX-5 race car uses the renowned Mazda MZR engine, with a Roush CNC cylinder head and Mahle pistons (all forged internals). This provides an affordable, tightly controlled & reliable engine package. With a racing weight of 2525 lb., the Spec MX-5 fits nicely in several club racing classes, specifically SCCA STL and NASA ST5, and many endurance classes.

With its race suspension, including Penske single-adjustable shocks, Eibach springs and the Toyo RR race tires used in the series, Spec MX-5 cars are significantly faster than Spec Miatas and T4 NC racers, and just slightly slower than ND2 MX-5 Cup cars. Here are some reference lap times for the Spec MX-5:

  • Road Atlanta: 1:38.8
  • Road America: 2:38.5
  • Laguna Seca: 1:43.8
  • Sonoma: 1:52.0
  • VIR: 2.10.6

How and where can I race a Spec MX-5?
The Spec MX-5 is intended to be the next great spec racing platform. It is classified in SCCA and NASA for club racing, initially as part of existing classes. For example, the Spec MX-5 v2 can run in ST5 with NASA and it can run in STL with the SCCA. It can also run in Champcar, AER and WRL for endurance racing. This gives racers hundreds of events each year in which to participate.

Mazda and Spec MX-5 Challenge, LLC also organize the largest race events for Spec MX-5 each year. Approximately 15 events are scheduled in 2023.  At these events, Spec MX-5 racers will earn points in SMX class, which runs separately from STL or ST5.

How is Spec MX-5 Challenge racing organized?
Spec MX-5 Challenge racing is different from other club racing series. With dedicated Spec MX-5 personnel scheduled to be at every event, we strive to ensure a semi-professional feel. Challenge racing has been designed to recognize that different drivers have different budgets and interests, but would like to compete in a spec class with high car count. To address these needs, Spec MX-5 Challenge allows drivers to select from 15 different competitions, all of which then feed into a combined National Championship event with significant prize money.

Is there a Championship?
The regular season events feed into a national championship for Spec MX-5, with over $80,000 in prize money. There will also be a regular season championship with $15,000 on offer for the top-5 finishers! The 2023 Spec MX-5 Challenge National Championship will be revealed in due course.

What support does Mazda Motorsports provide?
Not only does Mazda Motorsport provide un-matched factory technical support, they also provide racers with a very generous contingency program. Here are just a few highlights:

Mazda Technical Support:

  • Dedicated US based phone staff to answer questions
  • Access to OEM & competition parts for total parts support for Spec MX-5.  (one stop shop for everything short of tires)
  • Access to OEM Factory Service Manuals
  • Consistent parts development program
  • Dedicated test mule for updates and products.

Mazda Contingency Offering:

Where are Spec MX-5 races?
Spec MX-5 is a National Series, meaning we have racers, teams, and shops located all across the country! We have created a map showcasing how broad of a Series we have:

I’d like to find out more:
Of course you do! For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page here, and if you would like any specific information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Justin, the Spec MX-5 Series Manager, here.

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