MX-5 Cup in 2017: Why the Move

As you heard last Friday, Mazda partnered with Andersen Promotions and IndyCar to grow the Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires. The news has been well received. Marshall Pruett shared his insights on in his piece called, “Pruett: IndyCar’s new Mazda matrix.”

So what are some of the reasons we feel this is a good move for our customers and key stakeholders? Simply, we building on the success of the past with new resources.

First, we are able to continue offering many of the key elements that drive value for our customers: Parity; world-renowned race tracks; staff that is very customer focused, just like the SCCA has been; public relations support, and more.

Second, we are able to build on the previous recipe by enhancing the visibility of the series, teams, drivers, and partners and by leveraging the resources IndyCar and Andersen Promotions has to offer in race control. Let’s tackle these two additions:

Enhancing the visibility of the series, teams, drivers, and partners. This is achieved in three ways:

1) By racing on high-profile weekends. Four Verizon IndyCar Series events: Barber Motorsport Park, Road America, Toronto, and Watkins Glen; one Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) event: Indianapolis Motor Speedway; and the season finale held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the International Motor Sports Association weekend.

2) By racing at the world-renowned circuits with large crowds during quality session times. Two races during each event is one key component to driving value for our competitors. But racing during the times fans attend is a critical component. The partnership with Andersen Promotions and IndyCar enables the MX-5 Cup races to run during many prime times throughout the event.

3) By reaching a broader and new audience. The reach and influence of Mazda, Andersen Promotions and IndyCar will enable the amazing racing content to be viewed and read by millions of viewers.

Leveraging the resources IndyCar, Andersen Promotions, and Mazda have in race control. This is achieved in two ways:

1) By having the A-team – at all facets. IndyCar race officials are pros; the Andersen Promotions team are pros; MX-5 Cup’s driver steward and Mazda Motorsports’ factory driver Andrew Carbonell is a pro.  As a competitor, all of this is important. Consider that decisions by the staff affect the race even before it starts. Here, we are thinking of waive-offs to the races. Sometimes a waive-off is warranted. Having a consistent crew with years of experience to make that call should not be understated. If you’re a racer, you know what we are talking about. Once the race commences, on-track incidents can occur. Having the experience in race control is critical.

2) By arming the staff with the resources needed to make the right calls, in the moment.  Race control must be armed with the appropriate information in real-time. IndyCar’s video playback technology and additional equipment in race control enables the staff to review and monitor on-track indiscretions (e.g., avoidable contact) and make the right decision in the moment. If you’re a racer, you know if you get a drive-through penalty during the race for an incident you just caused, it resonates with you for a long time. The staff and technology afforded to the competitors in MX-5 Cup next season is as good as it gets.

The feedback from teams and drivers has been much appreciated. Mazda is dedicated to providing our customers with the experience they deserve. We are proud to announce the  elements that carry-over to 2017 and the enhancements our partnership with Andersen Promotions and IndyCar provides our customers.

David Cook

Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires Series Manager

Manager, Business Development, Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations