Idemitsu MX-5 Cup: Road America Preview

Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires to Highlight the Chicago Region June Sprints Father’s Day Weekend.

IRVINE, Calif. (June 13, 2016) – The Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires kicked off a new era for the series with an all new car this year. The first two doubleheader race weekends have seen close competition with four different winners. This weekend, teams will head to an iconic and fan-favorite track, Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations, said, “The heart and soul of Mazda Motorsports is club racing. Bringing the MX-5 Cup to the Chicago Region June Sprints allows us to connect our SCCA club racers with the pros. We have seen so many great examples of Mazda racers jumping from club racing to MX-5 Cup with rapid success. I think the club racers will be amazed at the depth of field in this year’s MX-5 Cup.”

With three-dozen MX-5 Cup racers, there is never a shortage of great stories. Adding in the June Sprints with almost 100 additional Mazda race cars, on Father’s day weekend, it will be non-stop action for three days.

•    Dean Copeland will be looking to become the winningest MX-5 Cup driver at Road America and extend his championship points lead.
•    At least half of the racers will have their dads at the track, some working in the pits and all cheering them on for success.
•    U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Liam Dwyer will be the Grand Marshal for the weekend and will be cheering on his Mazda friends. Dwyer and his teammate Andrew Carbonell most recently finished second in their Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 at the Mazda Raceway round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
•    Rogers, Minnesota residents Andrew List and Dan Martinson are the two MX-5 Cup racers most likely to call Road America their “home” track.
•    Mazda will once again be the dominate brand across the weekend, with more than 130 Mazda-powered race cars competing in the MX-5 Cup and nine different SCCA Club Racing classes. This will be over 37 percent of all of the race cars competing.
•    A 47-car Spec Miata class will be complemented by 14 Mazda cars in STL, eight in T4, eight in E Production, seven in F Production, five in Formula Atlantic, four in Formula Mazda, two in P2 and one in GT3.

MX-5 Cup Points Update:
After the first four races, Dean Copeland leads the MX-5 Cup standings, thanks to consistent finishes at both Mazda Raceway and Watkins Glen. Drake Kemper and Nathanial Sparks are among the many who will be seeking their first win of the season at Road America.

The top three overall in points are:
1 Dean Copeland, Bowie, MD                   Copeland Motorsports      211
2 Drake Kemper, Thermal, CA                  Sick Sideways                  199
3 Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, AL     Sick Sideways                   196

The top three rookies are:
1 Chris Stone, Salt Lake City, UT           ALARA Racing                    161
2 Mark Drennan, San Jose, CA              Winding Road Team TFB     143
3 Matt Fassnacht, New York, NY           ALARA Racing                     117

Track Location:     Road America
N7390 State Hwy 67
Plymouth, WI 53073

Weekend Schedule Highlights (CDT):

Friday, June 17, 2016
8:00 a.m.– 10:00 a.m.         SCCA Club Racing Practice Sessions
10:10 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.      Practice #1 – Idemitsu MX-5 Cup
11:10 a.m. – 2:55 p.m.        SCCA Club Racing Qualifying Sessions (Pig Roast for Mazda Family 12.10 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.)
3:05 p.m. – 3:35 p.m.           Practice #2 – Idemitsu MX-5 Cup
3:45 p.m. –5:55 p.m.           SCCA Club Racing Qualifying Sessions

Saturday, June 18, 2016
8:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.         SCCA Club Racing Qualifying Sessions
10:20 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.      Qualifying – Idemitsu MX-5 Cup
11:25 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.      Lunch Break
12:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.        SCCA Club Races
3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.          Race #1 (45 minutes) Idemitsu MX-5 Cup
4:10 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.          SCCA Club Races

Sunday, June 19, 2016
8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.        SCCA Club Races
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.      Lunch Break
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.        SCCA Club Races
4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.          Race #2 (45 minutes) Idemitsu MX-5 Cup

Previous MX-5 Cup Winners at Road America
2006     Jason Saini
2008     Ryan Schimsk
2009    Todd Lamb
2010    Brad Rampelberg
2011    Dean Copeland
2012    Ara Malkhassian
2014    Dean Copeland (Race 1)
Dean Copeland (Race 2)
2015    John Dean (Race 1)
Daniel Bender (Race 2)

Fastest Qualifying Lap:            2:37.534 (92.505 mph), Kenton Koch, 2014

Fastest Race Lap:                     2:37.680 (92.420 mph), John Dean II, 2014

Smallest Margin of Victory:    0.069-second, Ara Malkhassian over Dean Copeland, 2012

The Idemitsu MX-5 Cup is the signature spec series for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24), the sports car counterpart to the Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI). On both paths, Mazda-powered champions earn a Mazda scholarship to advance their career. The MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship.

For more information on the race weekend, including ticket information, go to:

About Mazda Motorsports
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Follow all of the latest news at, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.

# # #