A Better, Faster, Better-Sounding MX-5 Cup Car

The ND2 MX-5 Cup car and conversion kits are now for sale.

It was no surprise that Mazda enthusiasts cheered the arrival of the new, higher-revving, 2.0-liter engine in the 2019 Mazda MX-5. It now brings 181 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft of torque to the party, an increase of 26 horsepower that is noticeable from the moment you hit the gas pedal. Just as noticeable is the increased rev limit, with the engine now spinning to 7500rpm.

Naturally, the Mazda MX-5 Cup race car is following suit. The first batch of ND2 race cars with the more powerful engine are in production, and the parts to convert an ND1 MX-5 Cup car to the ND2 spec are now available from Mazda Motorsports and Long Road Racing.

For the Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires, the ND2 will make up its own, premier class. Owners of the older cars will have their own class that also offers significant contingency payouts, including $100,000 to the class champion at season’s end. As for the ND2 in other series, the car is expected to remain in Touring 3 in SCCA Club Racing and TCA in World Challenge TC America.

Beyond being based on the new car with the upgraded engine, the ND2 MX-5 Cup car has enhanced drivetrain cooling, a new Bosch ECU with selectable fuel maps, transmission updates, a new grill for aerodynamics and cooling (which also makes the two models in MX-5 Cup easier to distinguish) and a variety of other enhancements.

“The biggest thing that I first appreciated was, while there is extra horsepower on top, the additional 800rpm really feels like it makes a world of difference,” says Mazda factory driver Tom Long, who headed the development of the new MX-5 Cup car. “You don’t feel like you’re constantly up-shifting, and you’re able to run the gear out much longer. And, it takes the engine note to a whole new level of music and enjoyment as it screams past the old limit up to 7500!

“Comparing the two cars side-by-side, which we did in a test at Sebring, every time the old car would up-shift, the ND2 would continue pulling and pull out and pass the other car and move right along. When it was time for the ND2 to up-shift, you’re in a much higher rev range, in a more appropriate, higher, peak-power range. The car stayed in that peak power range the whole time.”

Long feels the increased speed for the ND2 will be significant for SCCA club racers – enough to make it more competitive in Touring 3 and TCA.

“The data is showing a few seconds a lap,” he says. “I sure hope that’s going to put it in the right performance window for Touring 3. In TCA, the ND1 always had the lowest power output, and although it may still, it will fit much more similarly to the other cars in the class and should help the balance of performance considerably.”
Mazda has sold 200 MX-5 Cup cars worldwide, and with the number of orders already placed for the ND2, racers have voted that the upgraded model represents an incredible bargain.

The ND2 MX-5 Cup car will be $68,000. The complete cost of the parts needed to convert an ND1 will be, through May, $16,796.96. That price includes a 30-percent discount off parts from Mazda Motorsports (totaling $11,546.96 with the discount), plus a new Bosch ECU that must be purchased directly from Long Road Racing at a cost of $5,250. Long Road Racing has created a manual for the installation of many of the parts. See the attached price list for a breakdown of the parts, plus some optional parts that can make the conversion easier. Long Road Racing can also do the conversion for you.

Mazda Motorsports has not created a single part number to order the kit because of some of the options racers and teams may want to choose instead. Call Mazda Motorsports at (800) 435-2508 to order the parts to convert a MX-5 Cup car to ND2 specs.