Announced at this week's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, Mazda says, starting in 2016, the Global MX-5 Cup – a worldwide expansion of the US's existing Mazda MX-5 Cup series – will run across North America, Europe and Asia.
Using identically prepared cars all powered by 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engines, the Global MX-5 Cup will conclude its debut season with a Global Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
Though full details of the Global MX-5 Cup, including event dates and the countries involved, are yet to be confirmed, the Japanese car maker says the series champion will receive a one-day test in its United SportsCar Championship SKYACTIV prototype racer.
Mazda North America director of motorsports John Doonan said since the MX-5’s early days, the classic rear-wheel-drive sports car has been a sound base for both racing veterans and rookies alike.
“Because the MX-5 is inherently such a good car to drive, it is an ideal platform to learn basic and advanced race-craft, and this has made the [existing] professional MX-5 Cup series very successful to date,” Doonan said.
Mazda global sales, marketing and customer service managing executive officer Masahiro Moro added, “It has long been our goal to see Mazda fans around the world competing in identical MX-5s, and the launch of the all-new MX-5 is the perfect time to make this goal a reality.”
Speaking with CarAdvice, Mazda Australia public relations manager Steve Maciver said the racing series is something the local division is looking at as a way to promote the car.
“I can't say yay or nay at this stage but it is something we're considering," Maciver said.
“It wouldn’t be an easy challenge to get it up and running and we need to look into what it would take and how we can make it happen here in Australia.”
The comments add fuel to remarks made by the local PR head at the recent World Time Attack challenge, where he told CarAdvice that the brand was potentially looking to get back into motorsport in some way, despite not having an out-and-out sports car in its current range that fits into a motorsport category in Australia.
Once tyres, suspension, powertrain and safety modifications for the category are finalised, due in 2015, Mazda Motorsports will announce full vehicle specifications before accepting orders for the 2016 debut season.
Shorter and wider than its predecessor, the new ND Mazda MX-5 will weigh around 100kg less than the outgoing NC. And while engine and transmission details are yet to be announced, a 1.5-litre unit and a turbocharged alternative are anticipated.