The entry list for the first round of the Ricmotech iRacing Global Mazda MX-5 Cup is a veritable who’s who of Mazda Cup racing. Among the 35 entries are three former champions, five Mazda Road to 24 Shootout winners and two IMSA drivers.
The Esports series kicks off tonight at virtual Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., with practice beginning at 6:00 p.m. EDT followed by qualifying. Racing action begins at 8:15 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Mazda USA Youtube page as well as Mazda’s Facebook page. Additionally, the opening round will be carried on Mazda Motorsport’s Facebook page and ApexRacingTV’s YouTube page.
Among those vying for $8,000 in prize money are former Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Champions Nikko Reger (2018), Patrick Gallagher (’17) and Steven McAleer (’12). Other notables include Mazda Road to 24 Shootout winners Justin Piscitell (’09), Glenn McGee (’15), Matt Cresci (’16), Selin Rollan (’17) and Michael Carter (’18).
McGee found his way to MX-5 Cup via sim racing. He was the first MX-5 Cup iRacing Champion, which earned him a spot in the 2015 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, which he won. His experience with the MX-5 Cup car both real and virtual platforms will likely make him a tough opponent.
McGee claimed the fasted lap overall (1m39.071s) in an open practice on May 3, but it was Cresci who recorded the fastest lap average (1m40.356s).
“I started my racing career in simulators almost a decade ago (but) haven’t really touched them since,” Cresci said. “However, the pandemic has pushed my work and coaching back to the virtual world for the time being. I have a very basic wheel/pedal setup, paired with a small single monitor. However, I did finally upgrade from the infamous “desk and carpet setup” to a proper racing seat and mount.”
While they are technically new to MX-5 Cup racing, guest drivers Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis are no strangers to Mazda race cars: both are veterans of Mazda’s IMSA WeatherTech DPi program. Neither driver will be eligible to score points in tonight’s event; just bragging rights.
Ricmotech Racing Simulators provides technical support for the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires eSeries and its registered drivers. The support includes administration, timing, iRacing software guidance and instruction, tech support on race day as well as during the practice sessions.
Find out more at http://www.mx-5cup.com.