The Contenders: Ara Malkhassian

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

Ara Malkahasian is a name that is almost synonymous to the Mazda MX-5 Cup paddock. He has competed in almost every Mazda MX-5 Cup race in the series’ history and currently holds the title as the series competitor with the most top-five finishes in history. Malkahasian is also known as the owner of the largest fleet of cars in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich® Tires, but he is more than that –he is a competitor who wants to win.

Malkahasian reminiscences about his experience and his drive to win, “It is interesting that people want to talk about history with me because I have been in the series since it started in 2006. I do enjoy reminiscing and talking about some of the great times on and off the track with competitors, teammates, and crew. But the conversation always ends up leading to what it is that makes one want to continue to drive for excellence on and off the track: PASSION. The passion to compete; the passion to excel; the passion to WIN.”

This season, Malkahasian has only secured one podium finish but currently sits in second behind Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks in championship point standings. Throughout the season, he has utilized the same strategy as Sparks with consistency, but unlike Sparks, Malkahasian hasn’t secured a first place finish this season and trails Sparks by 69 points.

He will need a near flawless race weekend at Petit Le Mans in Atlanta to catch the current leader but Malkahasian is not one to be ignored as his experience and passion will be in full display at the last two races this season.

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.