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Oct 9, 2008
MX-5 Cup Shootout Winner Brad Rampelberg
Irvine, Calif., October 9, 2008 - The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder is proving to be the springboard for many aspiring racers to advance - just ask Raphael Matos and Jason Saini where they would be today without Mazda.
The heart of MAZDASPEED is in supporting club racers. There are over 9,000 Mazda customers who compete in club racing with the Sports Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sports Association (NASA). More than a few of them have aspirations of racing professionally. Over the past two years, Mazda has directly assisted club racers with the leap to the professional ranks.
The original MX-5 Cup shootout in late 2006 was open only to SCCA club racing champions. NASA was added to the mix for 2007, and for 2008, Mazda partner Skip Barber and a pair of NASA teen champions join the competition being eligible to compete.
The competition measures all aspects of a driver:
For 2008, the competition will be held in two stages with a preliminary written portion to select the finalists for the on-track session.
The Prize: A factory supported ride in the 2009 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup
Eligible Racers: Anyone driving a Mazda or Mazda powered racecar to a championship within:
Stage 1 - Written sponsorship proposals/business plans will be judged. The purpose is to demonstrate to the judges that the racer has the business skills required to manage and grow a career beyond their one year MAZDASPEED sponsorship. The judges will select three to six drivers to progress to stage 2. The deadline for the eligible racers to submit their electronic PDF proposals is October 27th. The stage 2 finalists will be announced in early November.
Stage 2 - Driving and technical exercises at Buttonwillow Raceway in California are scheduled for Tuesday, December 9.
Exclusions: Racers are eligible to compete in as many shootouts as they qualify for, but cannot return after winning a shootout, thus past shootout winners Andrew Caddell and Brad Rampelberg are not eligible for 2008. Racers are also limited to one ladder prize per year.
The judges: Judges will be composed of a committee of motorsports professionals including team owners/managers, engineers, drivers, and journalists.
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Mazda is the brand of choice for road-racers across North America. More than 9,000 grassroots racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Racers who are years away from earning a driver's license can now begin their professional motorsports careers in the Mazda family. A driver can begin in karts and progress through the Skip Barber series, Club Racing Formula Mazda, professional Star Mazda and finally to Formula Atlantic, all with Mazda. No other car company has ever connected the dots this way.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world's premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
About SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup
Stepping up in place of the former MAZDASPEED Miata Cup, the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup made its debut in 2006. Featuring identical Mazda MX-5s on spec Kumho tires, MX-5 Cup gives drivers the opportunity to run on high-profile weekends in an economical, entry-level racing series. The 2008 MX-5 Cup schedule features eight races at prestigious events across North America, and with grids composed of roughly 30 cars at each race, MX-5 Cup has become one of the best shows in motorsports today. The season champion is awarded a factory supported Mazda ride in the series above. 2007 MX-5 Cup Champion Jason Saini is racing a MAZDA6 in the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship. Visit www.mx-5cup.com to learn more.
For more information on Mazda products, visit the online Mazda media center at: www.MazdaUSAmedia.com
For more information on MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, visit: www.MAZDASPEEDDevelopment.com
For more information on the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup visit: www.mx-5cup.com