Steady Improvements to the MX-5 Cup Car

Tweaks to the homologated version are making for happy racers

It’s been two years since the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires car made its competition debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Since that time, Mazda Motorsports and Long Road Racing have found several ways to improve the car, whether it’s for homologated competition, non-homologated racing or just track day fun.

For the homologated Global Cup Car racer there are a few improvements that have been revealed since the cars launch two years ago. With each update Long Road Racing not only publishes the update on its website, but they communicate directly with their customers, so  all existing teams know what to do to improve their cars. Most of the modifications have been either for safety or durability. The latest, which will be introduced this year, is bumper reinforcements.

“We are working on braces for the front and rear bumpers, with the goal of having more support on the corners to help keep tire-to-tire contact from happening,” explains Long Road Racing Vice President of Engineering Chad Boyd,. “Over the last two years, we’ve had two instances when cars hit just right and made tire-to-tire contact, so we wanted a little more support there.”

Other improvements that have been introduced over the past year include new third and fourth gears developed in conjunction with EMCO that have nearly identical ratios but different tooth counts so the teeth are a little more robust. There’s also been a bumper beam update that allows racers to use the Mexico-spec bumper beam that doesn’t have protrusions like the U.S.-market beam. Those protrusions can poke holes in the bumper cover in bumper-to-bumper contact. The Japan-spec foam bumper inserts can also be used to help fill the gap.

One change that has been pretty simple has also resulted in greater durability. “Due to the high loads [at some tracks] on the swaybar brackets, the pieces that hold the swaybar to the frame were deforming and cracking,” says Cam Auld, Long Road’s shop foreman and production manager. “The swaybar was trying to pull away from the chassis, so we updated the washers to increase the surface area of the nuts that hold the brackets. Small things like that are the kind of stuff we’ve been addressing and updating.” Each change on the technical service bulletins is incorporated into new car builds.

The Mazda MX-5 Cup car, developed and built in conjunction with Long Road Racing, serves as the basis for the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup and is eligible for SCCA Touring 3 and Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car A. It can also be used in NASA Performance Touring classes and endurance racing, and in SCCA’s Super Touring classes as well as for track days. For more information or to see the technical service bulletins, go to