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2006 MAZDA MX-5 CUP RACE SERIES ZOOM-ZOOMS TO LIFE
MONTEREY, Calif. - During the Monterey Sports Car Championships event held this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development announced details of the much-anticipated 2006 Mazda MX-5 Cup, Presented by Hankook. The new series will replace the current very popular MAZDASPEED Miata Cup which features first- and second-generation Miatas. In the new series, the all-new third-generation 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata, equipped with a 2.0-liter, 170-hp engine and six-speed manual transmission, becomes the specified racecar of choice. Details of the scheduled eight-race series will be announced soon.
"With the all-new 2006 Mazda MX-5 as a starting point, it was easy for us to create the fastest, best handling and most comprehensively prepared Spec Miata yet - as well as ensuring the most level playing field possible between cars," said Steve Sanders, Manager, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development. "We tried many different combinations of suspension settings, exhaust systems and engine modifications, but ultimately found the base car to be so good, we really didn't need to change much on the MX-5 to make a great racecar."
To be sanctioned by Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pro Racing, the Mazda MX-5 Cup will participate as a support race for the American Le Mans Series, SCCA SPEED World Challenge and other professional race series. This exposure to professional racing venues and teams makes the MX-5 Cup the perfect training ground for aspiring racers. In addition, every race is scheduled to be televised, with professional production and commentary.
"We're extremely excited to continue our partnerships with Mazda and Hankook for the new MX-5 Cup," said Mitch Wright , SCCA Pro Racing Vice President and General Manager. "The next evolution of the series will feature enhanced competitor incentives, higher profile race weekends and vastly increased promotional efforts from all involved.
The Mazda MX-5 Cup will provide an affordable, entry-level nationwide professional series whereby drivers compete in identically prepared vehicles. As before, all components for the cars will be sold directly through MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, which also supports the program monetarily with contingency awards to successful drivers.
Mechanically, all Mazda MX-5 Cup cars will remain essentially stock, as delivered from the dealer, with only bolt-on modifications to the intake and exhaust systems. While the stock MX-5 Miata produces 170-hp, it is expected that an MX-5 Cup car will produce 200-hp. Additionally, and new for this year, is an engine sealing and claiming rule, to eliminate the cost of professionally prepared engines and further level the playing field for all competitors.
Suspension will incorporate a fully adjustable coil-over kit with double-adjustable shock absorbers and specified spring rates, as well as adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear. All cars will be required to run on series-sponsor Hankook Ventus DOT-legal racing tires, and will use a 17" wheel of a specified weight - again, to level the field and minimize costs. Additionally, brake pads, fluid and lines, as well as clutches, will be upgraded to racing components.
All MX-5 Cup cars will run with full safety equipment, including an eight-point roll-cage welded into the car, a racing seat, racing seatbelts and will incorporate a fire-extinguishing system. Unlike in previous years, the new series will run without a hard-top.
In addition to MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development's contingency program, and support from Hankook Performance Tires as the series' presenting sponsor, additional MX-5 Cup contingency sponsors include Mother's Polishes and Waxes, AiM Sports, SPARCO , USA , and AutoWeek Magazine.
MAZDASPEED will continue to hone the development of the MX-5 Cup cars, and will have details about the new series, as well as a full list of specified parts and part numbers, available to competitors through its Internet Web site, www.MazdaspeedMotorsports.com. In addition, prospective competitors who join MAZDASPEED's competitor support program may purchase 2006 MX-5 Miatas at a discount for use in the series.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle - and the venerable Mazda MX-5 Miata is generally the vehicle of choice. In fact, the fastest growing road-racing class in the US is the SCCA Spec Miata class, with over 1,200 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America 's racetracks.
Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, consumer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States . Headquartered in Irvine , Calif. , MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.
EDITOR'S NOTE: 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.MazdaspeedMotorsports.com.