Spec MX-5 Challenge, in cooperation with Mazda Motorsports, today announced the schedule for the marquee events of the 2020 Spec MX-5 racing season. Ten regular season events will be structured into East and West regional series:
East Spec MX-5 Challenge Marquee Events:
April: Summit Point Raceway (SCCA)
May: VIRginia International Raceway (SCCA)
June: Charlotte Motor Speedway (SCCA)
July: Watkins Glen International or Road America (SCCA, pending exact dates)
July: Road Atlanta (SCCA)
August: Sebring International (SCCA)
West Spec MX-5 Challenge Marquee Events
April: Thunderhill Raceway (NASA)
Summer: West Coast track TBD
September: Sonoma Raceway (NASA)
October: Buttonwillow Raceway Park (NASA)
Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship
November: Road Atlanta (SCCA)
“Mazda Motorsports, Toyo Tires, PAGID Racing, Spec MX-5 LLC, Penske Racing Shocks and other partners are investing in 11 SCCA and NASA events, creating 22 marquee spec races all in an effort to ensure deep competition for Spec MX-5 Challenge races,” said Tom Martin, general manager of Spec MX-5 Challenge. “While Spec MX-5 drivers will be able to compete in their Spec MX-5 cars within mixed-make racing classes such as NASA ST5, these spec races will be the exclusive spec racing opportunities for the all-new Spec MX-5 race car, helping to ensure deep racing fields, he noted. Each event is expected to hold two Spec MX-5 Challenge points races and provide at least two additional races in alternative run groups, so that racers can “double dip” for a total of four or more races per weekend.
Each Marquee Event will host either Invitational or National series races, and Regional series races.
The road to the Spec MX-5 Challenge championship begins with competing in at least one of the 10 regular season marquee events. The 10 marquee events comprise two Regional series: East (six events) and West (four events). Five of these events will also host Invitational drivers, with the other five events hosting National series drivers. For both Invitational and National drivers, Spec MX-5 will offer arrive-and-drive opportunities, driving higher count, and deeper competition.
Marquee Events: Drivers can qualify for the national championship by running at least one Marquee weekend. To qualify, drivers must finish on podium in at least one race. Points earned in shootouts carry over to the championship event.
Regional Series: Drivers must compete in a minimum of four events in either the East Region or the West Region to score maximum points to carry over to the championship event.
Invitationals: Nominated drivers will be invited to run single marquee events at Summit Point, Thunderhill, Charlotte, Sebring and Buttonwillow. Nominees who accept will be provided with full arrive-and-drive services, including the all-new Spec MX-5 race car. Drivers will earn points by finishing position as well as for teamwork. These points carry over to the national championship.
National Series: Drivers who want to run nationally at five of the best pro tracks in the country, can join the National Series. National Series drivers will run with Regional drivers at VIR, Watkins Glen/Road America, Road Atlanta, Sonoma and a fifth track to be determined. National Series drivers score carryover points during their season and automatically qualify for the National Championship.
Significant contingency prize money
Drivers in each marquee event will be able to earn contingency money courtesy of Mazda Motorsports. Additionally, Toyo Tires, the spec tire for all Spec MX-5 Challenge events in 2020, will offer over $45,000 in contingency prizes to marquee event drivers. This, plus Toyo support of $48,000 for the first 50 Spec MX-5s built, and additional Toyo Bucks for club racers to be announced, creates an unprecedented level of support for this young series. “We are gratified that support for the new Spec MX-5 race car and Spec MX-5 Challenge has been so strong,” said David Cook, manager of Mazda Motorsports Business Development. Cook added that “Our partners in the Spec MX-5 project have really stepped up, and we are excited that we will have additional support to offer in the coming weeks for club racers in NASA ST5, SCCA mixed-class racing and endurance racing in WRL, ChampCar and AER.”
Beyond the contingency money on offer at marquee events for all racers, PAGID Racing — the spec brake pad for Spec MX-5 Challenge — will provide contingency awards for the Master’s Race Winner (45+ years), Emerging Talent Race Winner (road racing competition licensed in last 2 years) and Hard Charger Winner for each marquee event (most positions gained). “We want to recognize the special talents on display throughout the Spec MX-5 field, and the Master’s, Emerging Talent and Hard Charger prizes allow us to support drivers who help make these events so competitive and dynamic,” said Jim Emerson, Senior Manager, Motorsport USA, PAGID Racing.
Major payouts at Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship
There will be an expected $100,000 in prize money ($50,000 currently guaranteed) for the Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship, expected to be held at Road Atlanta in November. Drivers will combine their marquee event points with points earned at the Spec MX-5 Challenge Championship to determine season winners. The prizes for first, second and third places overall at the Championship are designed to help these talented drivers continue and advance their careers. In addition, the Master’s, Emerging Talent and Hard Charger championship winners will receive their choice of special awards.
“We are very excited about the new car and the scope of racing opportunities for Spec MX-5 in 2020,” said Cook. Cook concluded “Our goal is to make Spec MX-5 road racing among the most popular and dynamic in the country. We think the support and the technology for 2020 are a major step forward toward this goal.”
The Spec MX-5 v2 race car is an affordable, reliable, tech-able, fun to drive race car designed for club racers and emerging pro racers. The Spec MX-5 incorporates advanced racing technology from Roush Engineering, Penske Racing, Pagid Racing and Toyo tires. With over $250,000 in support for new car builds and racing prizes in 2020, the Spec MX-5 is among the best supported race cars in the U.S. The Spec MX-5 Challenge Series adds to this with exciting racing events at desirable tracks.