Pirelli World Challenge TCA Preview

An array of MX-5 Cup racers aim to take home another TCA title

For the past two years, the MX-5 Cup car has been a star in the TCA class of Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car. The car was allowed in the entry-level Touring Car class, which had in the year prior been dominated by the NC MX-5. S.A.C. Racing took the title two years running, first with Elivan Goulart and then with Matt Fassnacht. S.A.C. won’t be competing in World Challenge this year, but several other teams are now eying that title.

Kenny Murillo Jr. entered the series with three doubleheader weekends left in the 2017 season and was immediately a force to be reckoned with, winning in his second outing at Utah Motorsports Campus. He took two wins at Circuit of the Americas and a second and a first at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. While he hasn’t yet secured everything he needs to run a full season, he’s going to the season opener at COTA this weekend with his eye on the title.

“We’re committed to COTA for sure, but after that it’s results dependent,” he says. “After that it’s going to be based solely on sponsorships and we’ll see where it goes from there – but we’re confident going into the season. The new Subaru gave us a run for our money and a difficult challenge, but I think we’ll do alright this year.”

Murillo will be joined by six other MX-5 Cup car entries at COTA, chief among them – and in for the full season – is Bryan Ortiz. Ortiz will be doing double duty in 2018, also competing in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires, where he battled with Robert Stout for the 2017 Rookie of the Year title and ended up fourth in the championship.

The Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup shares its opening weekend with Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car, so several teams are taking the opportunity to double dip. That includes Jason Hoover Motorsports and Joey DaSilva with Ives Motorsports.

While the NC MX-5 has been a fixture in the Touring Car class for the past several years, it looks like that is coming to an end. John Weisberg, who took a victory in 2016 at Lime Rock, will only run select races in one.

Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car opens up its season this weekend at Circuit of the Americas. Before concluding at Watkins Glen International on Labor Day weekend, the series will visit VIRginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park and Utah Motorsports Complex.