Since Mazda announced the MX-5 Cup Global Challenge, there has been great interest within many road racing paddocks and internet discussions around the world. We caught up with David Cook, the Motorsports Business Development Manager for Mazda North American Operations and asked him a few questions about the event.
Q: Who is running the Challenge event?
A: The same team that runs the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires. This is Mazda North American Operations (MNAO), Andersen Promotions, and INDYCAR.
Q: What is the relationship between Mazda, Andersen, and INDYCAR?
A: Mazda owns the series, Andersen Promotions manages the series and INDYCAR is the sanctioning body.
Q: How will the Challenge event be run?
A: As we announced, it will run with all of the same rules and procedures as our regular Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires race weekends. The competition and technical rules will be enforced by the same team. The champion will be determined by the combined points of the two races.
Q: Who was the 2016 champ and what is he doing now?
A: Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks won both the full-season 2016 MX-5 Cup and the 2016 Global Invitational. He is racing in the 2017 MX-5 Cup as the defending champion.
Q: How much is the entry fee?
A: The entry fee is $1,000 and covers both races. The $1,000 does not include the cost to own, rent or operate the car.
Q: Is there a deadline for entries?
A: Yes. The deadline is October 9, 2017.
Q: Is there a maximum number of entries being accepted?
A: We will work to accommodate as many entries as feasible from a track management and safety viewpoint. We recommend early entries in case we need to add a cap.
Q: What do you anticipate as the total cost to compete?
A: There are many variables so it’s impossible to quote an exact number. We recommend that racers seeking to rent a car for the weekend, speak to multiple MX-5 Cup teams to determine an appropriate budget. http://www.mx-5cup.com/teams-drivers/current-teams
Q: What, if any, FIA licenses will INDYCAR accept?
A: If not already licensed by INDYCAR, all entrants must apply for and receive an INDYCAR license to compete at this event regardless of which FIA license they currently hold. An FIA International Level “C” is a minimum, although INDYCAR will review all applicants regardless of their level of experience. Sending a racing resume to INDYCAR with the application is advised.
Q: Are there any rules regarding testing at Mazda Raceway prior to the Global Challenge?
A: No restrictions, other than Idemitsu MX-5 Cup racers are not permitted to compete in a MX-5 Cup car in another sanctioning body’s event during that weekend, which would include the promoter test day.
Q: Are there any restrictions on use of the prize money?
A: There are no restrictions. While Mazda annually posts over $1,000,000 in grassroots racing contingency awards, as well as over $1,000,000 in Mazda Road to Indy and Mazda Road to 24 scholarships, the Global Challenge prizes are cash and can be used in any manner the winner chooses.
Q: Who has entered so far?
A: Entries are coming in now and will be announced at a later date.
Q: Will Mazda sponsor my entry into the Global Challenge?
A: No. This competition is open to all racers who meet the license requirements. All costs associated with entering and competing are the responsibility of the drivers, the teams and their sponsors, where applicable.