Pirelli World Challenge, Lime Rock Park, Connecticut , May 26-27, 2017:

MX-5 Cup Car Dominating in PWC

With MX-5 racers now having time to test both the NC and ND, a preference is beginning to surface

Before the season started, some might have questioned whether the proven NC MX-5 or the newly added MX-5 Cup car would be the better choice for Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car A. There doesn’t seem to be any question now: The ND-based MX-5 Cup car has dominated, with five victories in six rounds run so far.

Matthew Fassnacht started it off with a pair of victories at VIRginia International Raceway, then Dean Copeland took one win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. This past weekend, Elivan Goulart, the defending TCA champion who started the season in his NC MX-5 before switching at CTMP, dominated both rounds at his home track of Lime Rock Park.

“They are absolutely different in how they drive,” says Goulart of the two cars after his first win at Lime Rock. “They both have their strengths and weaknesses, so we just have to manage that as best we can. But they’re both still really fun to drive.

“At VIR, the first race, we went with the NC chassis, then we had a chance to shake down the new car, and we brought it out for the second race in Canada. I’ll likely stick with the ND for the rest of the season,” he continues. 

Fassnacht is Goulart’s teammate at S.A.C. Racing, run by Goulart’s father, Ademir Fedumenti. Fassnacht has been on the podium for all but one race this season, as has Goulart. Goulart leads the championship after six rounds, with Fassnacht second and Copeland, who had a DNF in the first race due to contact and a flat tire, is third. Copeland went into Canadian Tire Motorsports Park with high hopes after achieving less than expected at VIR.

“We qualified on pole, and I knew at that point it was really my race to lose,” Copeland says. “As the race got going, I led pretty much the whole race. Goulart was breathing right down my neck and I was able to hold him off and get the win. I was really looking forward to the full weekend sweep there, but the weather had different plans.”

Copeland says the NC car makes more power, but the ND can carry much more speed through the corners. “You can brake deeper and roll the middle so much harder and so much faster, and get right back to power much sooner than you can with the NC car,” he says.

Don’t count the NC out yet, however. Eric Powell has been on the podium twice – a third at VIR and a second at Lime Rock – and sits fourth in the points, making it Mazdas in the top four almost halfway into the season.

The Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car classes have six races left, doubleheaders at Utah Motorsports Campus, Circuit of the Americas and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.