Mazda Motorsports helps racers in more competition arenas while also expanding existing programs
Mazda has long supported club racers and autocrossers in SCCA and NASA through technical and parts support, including discounts, contingency awards and more. But as the motorsports landscape expands and as people race more Mazda models in more venues, Mazda Motorsports is looking to grow its services to those participants. Mazda wants to support those driving Mazdas whether the drivers compete in traditional motorsports with long-running organizations or if they eschew competition completely and opt for a more relaxed form of track driving. Through it all, though, Mazda Motorsports can support everyone thanks to the team it has put in place over the past few years.
“As the technical lead for the motorsports department, Josh Smith continues to work on new product development, the trackside support program – slated in 2019 for six SCCA Majors or Super Tour events (Homestead, Sebring, Road Atlanta, VIR, Watkins Glen and Road America) – to work closer with the customers and provide a better value than any other manufacturer,” explains David Cook, Manager, Business Development at Mazda Motorsports. “James Painter is leading the charge for our team to develop and source new rotary parts, while also helping to manage the contingency awards program and assisting many customers with any tech questions.
“Dan Sumner continues to focus on providing superior value to the autocross competitor, particularly at the SCCA Solo National Championships, consulting with many shops to help grow business, and handles many customer technical questions as well. Richard Conley supports the entire motorsports program in a variety of ways, with the focus being on analysis of the business, and contingency awards. And Scott Kaluza, the competition parts manager, stitches it all together, leading the charge out of the Irvine, California, office.
“We’re at a really good spot with our team that we can continue to build in new areas without sacrificing others,” Cook concludes.
Mazda racers, and even those who are just dipping their toes into the water with Track Night in America and other track day programs, have been able to join the Mazda Team Support Program and enjoy the discounts on parts, tech support and more – but now those who race in endurance series such as ChampCar, World Racing League or American Endurance Racing will be able to earn contingency awards. For the non-Miata racers in these three sanctioning bodies, the traditional contingency awards will be provided via a Rewards Card. For Miata racers, however, the majority of the contingency payouts will come in the form of parts rewards points, which can be used towards the purchase of competition parts from Mazda Motorsports. While Mazda Motorsports carries a vast number of competition parts for all Mazdas, it carries the most for Miatas.
The reward points bonus is the latest expansion of Mazda Motorsports’ contingency program. In recent years, the company has paid deeper instead of rewarding only the top three finishers. “We’re continuing to pay deep across the board in club racing and pro racing, trying to reward not just those at the very pointy end of the field, but those who are longtime Mazda racers and very competitive. We’re continuing that effort, and we’re also adding a focus on endurance racing and the NC Miata beginning this year,” says Cook.
The initiatives aimed at the NC Miata, the third generation of the MX-5 platform, are geared toward bolstering the competitors already racing the model as well as to bring in new ones who are looking for a newer, faster car to race. NC Miata racers earning contingency in certain classes and series can also earn parts reward points as a bonus. This is just one way in which Mazda Motorsports plans to gain car count as Mazda Motorsports seeks a national class for a spec NC Miata to complement the existing Spec Miata class.
According to Smith, Mazda Motorsports is working with the sanctioning bodies and potential suppliers now to come up with a spec for that category, which it plans to release in the coming months.
“Based on the current car count and the opportunity for growth, we are working toward a spec that is going to be fun to drive, reliable, affordable and tech-able,” says Smith. “We want it so that SCCA T4 and NASA ST5 cars can convert to the spec without too much effort, and others can affordably build one starting with a donor car.” Smith adds that the class is by no means intended to replace Spec Miata. Look for more on that and other NC initiatives soon on MazdaMotorsports.com.
Mazda Motorsports has made its goal to support Mazda road racers and autocrossers clear for many years. With the expansion to track days, time trials and now endurance racing, Mazda is supporting more recreational enthusiast drivers and total drivers than ever before.