Copeland Motorsports faces a full plate

The busy race team will contest MX-5 Cup cars in TC America as well as Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup

“We’re running the new Mazda MX-5 Cup ND2 cars in both World Challenge and MX-5 Cup,” says Dean Copeland of Copeland Motorsports’ plan for 2019. “MX-5 Cup is going to be very exciting with the new car and more horsepower, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how that pans out. We ran the first World Challenge [TC America] race and everybody seems pleased so far.”

It’s ambitious to run two programs with the same car, but only Tyler Maxson is doing both. Maxson, 14, is new to car racing after coming out of karts, and he’s looking for as much seat time as possible. Dinah Weisberg is also running World Challenge TCA in an ND2. Maxson, though, is only one component of a sizeable effort in Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires.

“He’s running MX-5 Cup along with another 14-year old Tyler Gonzalez. We have Bryan Ortiz coming back in MX-5 Cup, and Michael Carter, the [Mazda Road to 24] Shootout winner. So I feel like our MX-5 Cup effort is going to be second to none,” Copeland says. 

Carter opted to take his scholarship from winning the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout to Copeland Motorsports. The Spec Miata standout will be gunning for the championship, of course, but he’s certainly a strong contender to win Rookie of the Year, which comes with its own scholarship prize that goes a long way to funding another season in the series.

“That always feels good when somebody is able to choose your team over everybody else; but I feel like last year in MX-5 Cup, Bryan Ortiz and us, together, showed that at any given race we were the fastest and could have won the championship,” says Copeland. “We came up short with some hard luck. But I’m definitely excited to have the Mazda Shootout winner come to our side and excited to work with Michael Carter. I’ve watched him run a Spec Miata and I’ve got nothing but good things to say. I’m very impressed and I’m excited.”

Copeland says he definitely expects Carter to contend for Rookie of the Year and possibly the championship, but he also has two others that he knows could be contenders for the Rookie of the Year prize. 

Like Maxson, Gonzalez is a karting champion new to cars. But Gonzalez has already had a taste of MX-5 Cup competition, racing in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge at Sebring International Raceway last November, where he finished seventh in the first race.

“Not everybody under the tent can win the championship,” says Copeland. “But I’ve got four strong guys and any one of them is a championship contender. And I’ve got three of them going for Rookie of the Year.”

The 2019 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires season begins March 22-24 at Circuit of the Americas.