World Racing League gives racers a pro racing experience on an everyman budget
“Our general approach is to offer the professional racing experience on an amateur budget,” explains Ian Mayberry, vice president of business and marketing for the World Racing League, of WRL’s approach to hosting endurance racing events. “From the time racers show up to the time they leave, the experience they get from us is that of a professional race series.”
Mazda Motorsports has begun an effort to give more support to its racers in endurance racing, and has chosen WRL, along with ChampCar and American Endurance Racing, to focus its efforts in 2019. Winners of select events and championships will be eligible for cash or parts points, depending on what they race and the event or championship. All Mazda racers are eligible for technical support and parts discounts through the Team Support Program.
There is one thing that many professional racing series have, though, that World Racing League won’t tolerate: car-to-car contact.
“You will see everything from a budget-build Miata all the way up to a brand-new NP01 [NASA’s Mazda-powered spec prototype racer], but the majority of our clientele are people that have graduated out of budget-level racing and have developed a car that they’re proud of and have put a lot of effort into,” he says. “They don’t want it to get beat up.”
The WRL puts an emphasis on driving skill while maintaining an approachable atmosphere.
“You don’t have to have a racing license; there are steps you can take to get licensed through WRL,” Mayberry continues. “But we hold our drivers to a higher standard. When we say no contact, we mean absolutely no contact. If a driver has contact, he has to get out of the car, talk to the chief steward, and he probably won’t drive for the rest of the day. This is gentleman – and lady – endurance racing, and there’s no reason to be beating and banging doors.”
WRL will host a dozen events in 2019, as far east as Sebring, north to Road America, and as far West as High Plains Raceway in Colorado, where it puts on its lone 24-hour event. Most of its races are dual eight-hour races, but some are nine and seven, and there are a couple of 14-hour events on the schedule at Daytona and Sebring, where it is sometimes hard to get a full weekend of track rental.
Many prep shops field Mazdas, primarily Miatas, in endurance events, and WRL is more than happy to help a racer find a team to race with.
“For someone who is looking to go endurance racing for the first time, I’d say the seat time is the best you can get,” says Mayberry. “You don’t need a huge budget. Get involved with a team that’s already involved; we can connect you with teams that rent out seats in their cars. As long as you have a sufficient level of experience, most likely you’ll slide right in with a team. Seats go from $1,000 to as much as you want to pay. You can jump into an NA Miata for about $1,000, which is actually a lot cheaper than most people think it would be.”