On any given weekend, at SCCA occasions throughout the nation, you will discover extra Mazdas racing than each different producer mixed. After driving the newest model of the corporate’s International MX-5 Cup automobile, we are able to see why. Most race automobiles are scary whenever you get strapped into the motive force’s seat: You’ll be able to barely transfer, and there are a pair thousand buttons and switches on the sprint. Comparatively, the MX-5 Cup is easy. The suede racing wheel twists on, the seat is fastened, and there are solely handful of switches in your visual view to fret about. Within the palms drivers like Mazda’s IMSA workforce, readily available at M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, earlier than the IndyCar Twin in Detroit to take us on scorching laps, it’s positively superior.
The $59,000 turnkey race automobile doesn’t look or really feel intimidating — except, in fact, you’re within the passenger seat with an skilled scorching shoe behind the wheel. In that case, it’s each scary and intimidating, particularly whenever you’re flat-out, inches away from an an identical automobile lifeless in entrance, closing one eye when the brake lights flicker on the finish of an extended straight.
“You guys choreographed this, proper,” I requested Tristan Nunez, Mazda’s IMSA prototype driver after the fun journey.
“Nah, we have been simply messing round!” stated Nunez.
If that’s what one in all these automobiles appears like “simply messing round,” then we’re in, all the best way.
Mazda builds a automobile for almost each sort of racer. The corporate has two ladder programs, one which results in IndyCar and one which results in IMSA/prototype racing. Get in on the bottom ground in one in all these MX-5 Cup automobiles and Mazda pays a lot of your technique to the highest. At M1, the corporate introduced out its Indy Lights automobile, its IMSA prototype, the Cup automobile (utilized in its International MX-5 Cup one-make collection) and each one in all its road automobiles. We may take any of them, moreover the Indy Lights and the IMSA automobile, for laps on the 1.5-mile monitor.
“What number of producers would allow you to take their complete fleet on the monitor?” requested Mazda rep Tom McDonald. Arduous to argue with that.
Lengthy Highway Racing joined us on the monitor to keep watch over its creations. North Carolina-based LRR builds each MX-5 Cup automobile, in addition to the Lengthy Highway Racing road Miata, which options most of the Cup components in a streetable bundle. It couldn’t sustain with the Cup automobiles, nevertheless it nonetheless regarded two steps forward of the usual MX-5.
Finally it was my flip behind the wheel of the stickered-up Mazda and, as talked about, it didn’t disappoint. That is an all-out race automobile, keep in mind, which means a welded roll cage, shelled seats, window nets and racing tires.
The very first thing you discover is the steering. It’s fast — actually fast — but in addition gentle to the contact. That is for 2 causes: One, in case you’re in a race for 2 hours, or six or 12, you don’t desire a tremendous weighty steering wheel round each flip. Two, professional drivers use their guts and butts to know when a automobile goes to get free. They don’t want steering wheel really feel like us amateurs.
So, gentle steering, however much more communicative than anticipated due to the BFGoodrich race tires. And, as somebody who spends quite a lot of time on the monitor on road tires, I notice I ought to have made that improve years in the past. The slick tires sing a tune close to the restrict, which is straightforward to listen to, and as you regulate the wheel, the sound adjustments noticeably. There’s a selected sound when the automobile is about to return round; when you pay attention for that, every little thing simply falls into place. The laps have been lead-follow, so I didn’t get to go too quick, however the management was notion shattering. Think about a automobile that weighs lower than a Miata and handles 5 instances higher. You’d need one for the road, you’d need one for the monitor — you’d simply need one.
And Lengthy Highway Racing can present. It is offered about 140 International MX-5 Cup examples to date, 50 of which went within the first 24 hours. Moreover, Mazda offered Three,000 kits for different Spec Miatas, too. That bundle turns your private MX-5 right into a formidable race automobile. And if neither of these strikes your fancy, exit to an SCCA race this weekend — you’re positive to see just a few different Mazdas within the warmth of battle. With the suitable tires, the small Mazda Three can maintain its personal; the RX-7 and RX-Eight have loads of laps below their belt, the Mazda 6 handles like a sports activities automobile and the CX-Three isn’t a bore to drive both.
Mazda is aware of racing, and fortunately, the corporate is comfortable to share.
Gallery One with any nook