(Dean Copeland with father Kevin Copeland, pictured above.)

Karts to Spec Miata to MX-5 Cup: Dean Copeland

Mazda Motorsports sat down with the pilot of Copeland Motorsports #7 in the Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires to learn more about his progression from karts to competing for the championship in MX-5 Cup.

MM: You entered the fourth of six events in the MX-5 Cup championship in the points lead. Now with just two events to go, you sit in third. How do you feel your chances are now?
DC: We’re certainly positioned well to make a solid run at the 2016 MX-5 Cup championship. While we have to play a little catch up after our bad luck at Canada, it isn’t over yet! We are primed to take the Idemitsu MX-5 Cup championship and with it the $200,000 scholarship.

MM: You and your team have made significant strides since you first joined MX-5 Cup. What’s been one of the most important factors for your success?
DC: We’ve been competing in MX-5 Cup since 2009, but we ran as a single car, independent team. My father (Kevin Copeland) is a top-tier engineer, mechanic, and leader, so we were immediately competitive with the larger teams who had been with the series longer.  We were the first single car team to get a win in the series, and won many times as a single car team.

MM: Well, you have expanded since and success has certainly come with it. Tell us how you’ve done it.
DC: Copeland Motorsports (CMS) has run as a two-car team for most of the year, but just expanded to a three-car team. We suspect we will grow more in 2017, as we are ready and the results – consistency and wins – have been there. With my experience, I’ve been able to be a driver/coach for our other car. Certainly, Nikko Reger, who is my teammate, is more than qualified, but that was part of the deal and we work very well together. CMS has three wins and several podiums. Every event we’ve been a front running team. It’s about the team. Having experience behind the wheel, engineering the car and prepping it. It’s the culture we’ve created.

MM: Where’d you get your start in racing?
DC: I started racing at age 10 in go karts. By 15, we had won many divisional championships, and won four National World Karting championships. I wanted to make the jump to sports car racing, so at 16 we moved up to Spec Miata. I was fortunate to be able to win the Teen Mazda Challenge and compete in the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. There was some great competition. While we didn’t pull out that one, we knew we were ready to move to MX-5 Cup in 2009.

MM: You’ve got a saying – a credo perhaps. Would you share it?
DC: Never look back; live to race; race to win!!

More about Dean:
Dean Copeland is a Graduate of WyoTech University. He splits his time between working as an Auto Tech, and Copeland Motorsports.  Dean puts his education and Tech experience to work every race event while coaching the team’s drivers – including when he runs in Club Racing for additional track time. Dean provides both on-track and off-track coaching that includes data, video review and much more.