The Contenders: John Dean

John Dean II is one of four drivers in contention for the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires championship entering the doubleheader season finale this weekend at Petit Le Mans in Road Atlanta.

John Dean II is no stranger to winning and has made a name for himself in MX -5 Cup. Dean is the winningest driver in the series and has been on the podium more times than any other driver, holding many of the track records. He has the record for most poles and has finished four of four championships in the top three, including his 2015 championship win, which earned him the $200,000 Mazda scholarship allowed him to expand the cars running for his team Sick Sideways this year .

This year, he continues to make his stamp on the series as he currently sits in fifth of the championship points while his teammate Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks leads. Despite being on the podium 6 times this season, Dean II had some unfortunate penalties at Watkins Glen and VIRginia International Raceway that would cause him to fall back in the championship hunt; however, don’t count him out. John Dean II’s natural speed, mechanical knowledge, years spent as a test driver, and his more than a decade of involvement and experience as a Skip Barber Racing School instructor, give him a skill set few can match.

Entering the finale, Dean’s goals are simple: “My goals remain the same for 2016: Sick Sideways to win the MX-5 Cup championship; have all our team members achieve or exceed their personal goals; continuously improve upon our core competencies to provide the value our partners seek; and finally, build Sick Sideways into a well-known Mazda racing team across multiple series.”

He is one step closer as Sparks currently has a commanding lead; but like most competitive racers, he won’t let the championship go so easily. He will need to put his experience to work this week to catch this teammate. He will also have some tough competition going after Sparks as veteran Ara Malkhassian and breakout star Nikko Reger have the same goal in mind – a championship.

Both 45-minute long races will be lived streamed on
8:00 a.m. (Eastern) Thursday, September 29, 2016 – Race #1
5:45 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday, September 29, 2016 – Race #2

About MX-5 Cup
The MX-5 Cup race cars start as complete MX-5 road cars from the Mazda Hiroshima, Japan factory before being transported to engineering development partner Long Road Racing in Statesville, North Carolina where they are produced into a race car. The process includes disassembly of the production car, welding and paint of a full roll cage and interior, and assembly of the race car, adding more than 250 motorsports-specific parts. Other components of the car, including the Mazda SKYACTIV 2.0 liter engine are sealed to ensure even competition and a cost-effective platform.

The Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires 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.

Information on the car is online at

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.