ChampCar and American Endurance Racing get their 2019 seasons started
Mazda Motorsports recently announced a new program for 2019 – support and contingency for endurance racers in ChampCar Endurance Series, American Endurance Racing and World Racing League. ChampCar and AER started their seasons in February, both with races at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and ChampCar with a West Coast event at Sonoma Raceway. Already some Mazda racers have been able to claim progress toward championships and contingency as part of the new program with class wins and some overall wins as well.
ChampCar, celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2019, got the season started with a 14-hour race at Road Atlanta, with 72 cars starting on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn track that is undergoing a transformation thanks to title sponsorship from Michelin. Running from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., the race saw three Mazda teams claim class wins, with the Class A No. 640 Parts Badger Miata taking not only the class victory but finishing second overall. The InActiv Motorsports 626 won Class B, and the Wankels Wankers RX-7 won Class EC to make three different Mazda models among the class victors.
A week later at Sonoma, though, it was all Miatas, including an overall win in challenging, rainy conditions on Saturday for the first of two seven-hour enduros. Each of those races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, featured a mandatory red flag at noon after starting at 8 a.m. The Class A No. 21 AutoSpec Racing #1 Miata took the overall win on Saturday. Other Mazda class winners were the No. 97 Doorslammers Miata in Class B and the No. 96 NeMo Money in Class EC.
On a clear and sunny, but chilly, Sunday, the No. 21 AutoSpec Racing #1 Miata led 120 laps until it suffered mechanical issue. That left the No. 96 NeMo Money Miata in the lead, but Class EC cars are outside the ChampCar rules and aren’t considered for overall victory. The three class winners from Saturday also took the class wins on Sunday.