Mazda MX-5 Cup Car: What Racers Are Saying

Don’t just take our word for it. We asked a few of the racers who had a chance to test drive the Mazda MX-5 Cup race car for their impressions.

Randy Pobst (Professional driver with 80+ pro wins and several championships):  “On track, the very strong front returns; this chassis responds with the immediacy of the first gen. Drive this car with your pinkies out; light on the wheel; fingertip touch; instant response; and low effort. It does not need or want much trail-braking. And even in this race car version, there is still a distinct sensation of body roll, emanating primarily from the rear. This is a Miata tradition and is enhanced a little by the raised rear roll center and lowered front. The ND certainly knifes into the apex like nothing else.”

Britt Casey, Jr. (Freedom Autosport, MX-5 Pro Driver):  “The car is more responsive and more nimble compared to the NC car. The car felt like the NA model with more power and all the modern technology to go along with it. Not only did the front respond well to wheel inputs, the rear of the car was also hooked up.  Overall, the car has fantastic balance. Braking was yet another step up from the NC car. The car had better initial braking as well as overall bite. ABS was not overly strong, it had the perfect amount.”

Robby Foley (Current MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge MX-5 competitor):  “Overall to me the car feels like a Spec Miata with power steering and ABS.  You can definitely feel that the car is lighter and stiffer than the current NC, and as a result it changes direction well.  The steering, even though electric, gives good feedback and is very direct. The braking is a big improvement over the third gen, as well. The initial pedal pressure required is higher and the abs is much easier to manage.  The transmission is another huge improvement delivering beautifully direct and smooth gear changes.  The car was impressive to drive, and definitely fits into the identity of what a Miata always has been, while being different enough from past cars to have its own unique personality.”

Sarah Montgomery (Current Idemitsu MX-5 Cup competitor):  “The 2016 MX-5 Cup Car is truly a pleasure to drive! It is completely different from the third gen; the brakes are much better and more responsive. With the new electric steering pump, the steering is not as fierce in your hands as the third gen Cup car, but not in a bad way. It will take some getting used to because it’s a feature I’ve never driven with before. Learning and building on my skill sets is something I always strive for. Overall, Mazda has done a great job at keeping up the reputation of the beloved MX-5. The 2016 Cup car feels like a true race car.”

Ben Albano (Current MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge MX-5 competitor):  “The new electric steering response is immediate. You tell the race car where to go and it responds with accuracy and speed.  It’s like no other Mazda race car I’ve ever driven. The bottom end torque of this car was really surprising; mid-corner grip is typical of a Mazda MX-5; and I had to really manage throttle on corner exit. Once the Cup car sets, it sticks to the road. The 4 piston front/2 piston rear Brembos make for shorter, more compressed brake zones. It took a few laps to get used to the behavior of the pedal, but after that, I found myself going beyond any previous brake reference by around 8-12 feet.  I think it’s important to realize that this car is completely new. It would be foolish for the driver to make direct comparisons to the previous generation. If the driver goes in with an open mind, he or she will be delightfully surprised.”

Last month at Willow Springs, Mazda gave select A-list media who have racers on staff the opportunity to drive the MX-5 Cup car.  The first few online reports can be accessed here:

Motor Trend
Ars Technica
Winding Road

Look for articles in Road & Track, Automobile, AutoWeek, Grassroots Motorsports, SportsCar, DSPORT, and more, in the upcoming weeks.  These articles can also be used to assist you in seeking business partners for your program as they help tell the story of the Mazda investment into the overall program.

Related Content:
Mazda MX-5 Cup Car: Development
Mazda MX-5 Cup Car: Driver Safety
Mazda MX-5 Cup Car: Braking
Mazda MX-5 Cup Car: Race Car Production
Mazda MX-5 Cup Car: Parity
2016 MX-5 Cup: Primed for Teams and Individuals
Mazda MX-5 Cup Car: How it Drives