Series for NA-model Spec Miatas has attracted a loyal following of enthusiasts
The 2019 Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) Mazda Miata Heritage Cup has launched with a couple of races in Georgia – at Roebling Road in February and Road Atlanta last weekend. Bailey Sigler took both victories in the race for NA-generation Spec Miatas at Roebling, while Marc Cefalo and Tim Johnson split wins at Road Atlanta. Cefalo has won more Miata Heritage Cup races than any other driver and keeps coming back for more.
“SVRA just has a much different vibe to it, in a positive way,” the Planet Miata owner explains. “We do countless race weekends throughout the season; SVRA is a nice place for myself and my wife to come out and bring the older-body-style Miatas that we love in a very friendly environment. It just has a lot of positives – we get our own run group, and a decent amount of track time, especially on the test days. [SVRA CEO Tony Parella] puts on a really good program and we’re hopeful that it continues.”
Mike Rossini, a noted SM engine builder, prep shop owner and, of course, racer, echoes many of the same thoughts on the Miata Heritage Cup. Not only is it good racing, but at some events like Road Atlanta, it shared the bill not only with some great vintage car racing, but also the Trans-Am Series and the VROC Pro-Am charity race that attracted drivers such as Mike Skinner, Geoff Brabham, Johnny Parsons, Al Unser Jr, Willy T. Ribbs and Chris Dyson.
“They lay out the red carpet for us,” Rossini says. “The competitors, the cars, the whole atmosphere … I’ve been telling everybody, if you come once, you come back, and I think everybody would agree with me on that. Tony Parella does an awesome job, and he interacts with us and is always asking what else he can do. And, of course, the tracks we get to come to, being involved with Trans Am and the press that we get, it’s perfect.”
The 2019 Miata Heritage Cup has four more events, – Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.; Road America; Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; and VIRginia International Raceway. At many of those events they will be joined by Trans Am or other special events such as VROC. Many who have tried SVRA events keep coming back, partially because of the atmosphere, but also because of the strict no-contact rules. Still, the grids at SVRA events haven’t swelled, despite the many NA Miatas around the country. Rossini thinks that’s a shame.
“You have to come and witness it, and I’ll guarantee you’ll agree with everything I said,” Rossini says. “The camaraderie among the Mazda people – we’re all pitted together and everybody helps everybody. The way SVRA treats us, they make you feel like you’re part of the program. Participating in it will bring people back. That’s why I say you’ve just got to come and witness it, even as a spectator. When I go back, I tell everybody that to me this is how the promoters should conduct themselves; it’s really first class.”
Remaining 2019 Mazda Miata Heritage Cup Schedule
April 26-28: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.
May 16-19: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
June 20-23: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
Sept. 19-22: VIRginia International Raceway, Alton, Va.