Just one more round remains for the East Series in the inaugural Spec MX-5 Challenge before both the Central and East come together at the SCCA ARRC at Road Atlanta, November 1-4, with a $100,000 scholarship on the line for the champion to run the Battery Tender® Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires in 2019.
Spec MX-5 Challenge is an affordable pro road racing series with a focus on driver development and a top prize of $100,000. In 2018, its ten-race regular season in the East ran at Virginia International Raceway, Summit Point Raceway, Road Atlanta and, soon, Monticello Motor Club; the ten-race Central season ran at NCM Motorsports Park, Circuit of The Americas, Hallett Motor Racing Circuit and NOLA Raceway Park. When the regular season is complete, top competitors from each region will compete at a championship-deciding event at Road Atlanta in November.
The twenty drivers selected for the series paid $45,000 and receive full arrive-and-drive services, including transport, entry fees, tires, fuel, mechanical work, engineering and the use of a race car – and the competition has been fierce all season long.
Running at SCCA Regional events (with the exception of the upcoming pairing with the Global MX-5 Cup at Monticello), Jason Connole and Peter Ensor will enter the regular season all square with 132 points. The tie comes after the allotted drop of one race score.
But the regular season crown is far from a two-person shootout. Four different drivers have won eight races contested thus far, with Manny Martinez and Nick Bruni tossing their hats in the ring for Championship honors. When John Allen and Zack Month are included, six different drivers have found themselves on the podium.
Nevertheless, Connole (three wins) and Ensor (two wins and three runner-ups) have stretched the lead to seven points over Martinez, and nine over Bruni. Martinez, however, has run in the lead pack each and every race this season, while Bruni is heating up over the last four rounds.
In addition, Tyler Harrell, Jose Garcia and Assen Rachev have all improved tremendously since the beginning of the season, and may just make some waves when the season reaches the finale – where two-thirds of the points are still up for grabs.
A talented group of young racers have shown their hand throughout the year in the Central Series, where most of the races have been run in conjunction with NASA events.
Tom Martin has been the star of the regular season, where his final regular season tally will show six wins, a pair of runner-up finishes, and a third-place.
However – that does not eliminate a slate of other drivers. Those rookie drivers have shown improvement all year long, with the Central Series seeing four race winners in the final four races. In addition to Martin, Noah Grey, Matt Million and Harry Voigt all grabbed checkered flags at NOLA and Circuit of the Americas, setting up an epic championship finale when the two sides get together in November.
About the Series
This competitive, driver-centric series – which includes placement into a randomly selected , identically prepared NC Mazda MX-5 each weekend – is currently accepting applications for the 2019 season through Atlanta Speedwerks and Winding Road Racing.