Racing schedules around the globe have been put on hold in response to the spread of COVID-19. But staying home has not stopped professional and amateur racers alike from getting their motorsport fix thanks to sim racing, Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup participants getting in on the fun this spring with the Ricmotech iRacing Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.
The five-race, invitation-only Esports series offers $4,000 in prizes as the field of racers look to stay sharp as they anticipate a return to racing action in the real world.
Mazda, and more specifically the MX-5 Cup car, have a long relationship with sim racing leader iRacing. Beginning in 2014, a partnership between iRacing and Mazda offered the iRacing Mazda MX-5 Cup champion a spot in the MX-5 Cup shootout, part of Mazda’s Road to 24 ladder program. In 2015, Glenn McGee was the first iRacing Champion to win the shootout and earn a full ride for the 2016 season.
“Gamers understand that racing is the only real shot at going professional,” McGee said. “The buzz was generated immediately when Mazda made their deal with iRacing.
“I wouldn’t have the opportunities to race today without iRacing and the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup,” McGee continued. “No matter where you came from, you get a lot of respect for doing well in MX-5 Cup. I have a proven background in real cars and people can invest in me. I’m one of the few people who have a knowledge base about sim racing and how it translates to real life, so that’s enabled me to do some coaching as well.”
More recently, the Mazda Hot Lap Challenge asked enthusiasts to set their fastest lap in a series of iRacing Time Attack events, as well as at the Mazda simulator display at events around the country. At the end of the year, winner Logan Clampitt earned a test in a Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car.
Currently, there are two iRacing Mazda MX-5 Cup series: the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup for beginners that uses a fixed setup, and the Advanced Mazda Cup for experienced drivers who are allowed to individually tune their setups.
Online and on-track, Mazda is the popular choice for people who love to race. The racers are eager to get back to racing in real life at Road America July 23-24, but are making the most of the virtual opportunities on offer until then.