High drama in Global Mazda MX-5 Cup first half

Images courtesy Mazda

High drama in Global Mazda MX-5 Cup first half

North American Racing

High drama in Global Mazda MX-5 Cup first half


With nearly 1,000 passes and a margin of victory of just over three seconds –total! — through the first six races, the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires has already delivered a season’s worth of great racing.

And we’re only halfway through the 2019 season.

A new, more powerful ND2 Mazda Miata MX-5; large fields of racers fiercely fighting for the significant funding on offer from Mazda; and LiveStream coverage of all the races on MazdaMotorsports.com have all contributed to making this Global MX-5 Cup season one for the storybooks.

Key to the success is the focus on rules parity and consistency, with the aim of delivering quality, low-cost racing. With 2019 featuring a new two-class (ND1 and ND2) structure, the series has delivered both value and record-setting speeds as well as parity.

The ND2 is the latest version of the MX-5 Cup car, equipped with the 7,500rpm SKYACTIV-G 2-liter engine available in the Mazda MX-5 Miata. All the new track records this year are largely thanks to the new, 181-horsepower ND2 version; but the ND1 class featuring the previous generation Global MX-5 Cup car, remains popular.

At stake in this series? A significant cash prize in both classes. The 2019 ND2 class champion will receive a $200,000 career-advancement scholarship from Mazda to use toward the Mazda Road to 24 ladder, while the ND1 class champion will receive a $100,000 scholarship that can be applied to the 2020 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup championship. The Rookie of the Year in the ND2 class will receive a $75,000 scholarship.

The 2019 championship opened in a big way on the famed Circuit of The Americas in Texas, a race supporting the NTT IndyCar Series. In that opening round, MX-5 Cup drivers delivered more than 220 passes leading toward an incredibly slim 0.0664-second margin of victory for Drake Kemper over Bryan Ortiz as the top-five finishers all crossed the line within a half second of the race winner.

Competition was fierce in the COTA season-opener, and there’s been no let up in the races since.

Close competition from the front to the back of the grid has defined the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup for years, and 2019 has continued that legacy: Entering the second half of the 12-race championship, the Cup races to date boast an average of 170 passes per race.

Adding to the competition is the rookie battle. Leading the rookie championship is 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout winner Michael Carter (No. 08 Copeland Motorsports), who scored his first pole and podium finish at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this season. Carter has scored a total of five top-10 finishes.

Ahead of the 2019 season, Carter, 16, won the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout along with $100,000 in support from Mazda toward his MX-5 Cup season.

Copeland Motorsports rookie Tyler Maxson, 14, is another strong young talent entered in the Mazda MX-5 Cup ND2 championship. The young racer is second in the rookie points, and has been consistently scoring at the top in standings with six top-10 results so far this season.

Robert Noaker (No. 13 Sick Sideways) is the youngest driver to win a race in Mazda MX-5 Cup history, which also earned him the title of Guinness World Record holder as the youngest person to win an IndyCar-sanctioned race. That winning momentum continued into his sophomore season as he added another win at Road America to his growing list of accomplishments.

John Dean II (No. 16 Sick Sideways) is dominating the ND1 class with a nearly perfect season of wins that has vaulted him to a 38 point advantage as he chases the $100,000 prize. His winning streak ended at the previous event at Road America with a photo finish that saw Dean II finish behind Hernan Palermo (No. 20 Slipstream Performance) by a mere 0.0127-seconds.

The next stop on the Battery Tender ® Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires schedule is the Mid-Ohio 200, July 26-28.

LiveStream coverage on mazdamotorsports.com and race updates available on Twitter at @globalmx5cup.

For news and updated photos, log on to https://mx-5cup.com.