February 1, 2021: Mazda Motorsports is excited to announce that Haag Performance has been selected to operate Mazda Motorsports’ club racing factory team.
Alex Berg (14 years old; Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and Bryson Morris (16 years old; Mt. Juilet, TN) earned the factory drives after impressive karting seasons, nominations by eKartingNews.com, and the two-day Spec MX-5 Shootout late last year. The two drivers will be supported and groomed by Mazda’s Prototype driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class Jonathan Bomarito, the Mazda Motorsports team, and Haag Performance to run in the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series presented by Toyo Tires Western Region as NASA Teen Mazda Challenge competitors. The season culminates at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Nov 5-7.
Alex Berg: “I am excited to be embarking on this journey with Mazda Motorsports, Haag Performance, and Jonathan Bomarito. 2021 will be my first year of car racing, and I have all the support I need to take full advantage. Working with the support of Jonathan Bomarito as my coach/mentor for this year will make my first season in cars much more successful. Both Bryson and I are extremely honored to be racing with Mazda Motorsports and Haag Performance.”
Bryson Morris: “Joining Mazda Motorsports’ family has been a very big jump in my racing career, and I am very honored. With a great driver like Jonathan coaching us, a great teammate like Alex, and joining the Haag Performance team I am sure to improve a lot on and off the track. With coaching from Jonathan and working alongside Alex, I am hoping to learn more advanced driving and data techniques. This year being my first full season in cars; it is great to have an experienced team like Haag Performance to teach me the ropes on car setup and how the car functions.”
Mike Haag, owner and operator of Haag Performance: “We at Haag Performance are thrilled to be part of the Mazda Motorsports Factory club racing team. It is especially gratifying to be working with a team of exceptional professionals who have decades of experience and dedication to motorsports development. The young drivers we are supporting bring an amazing level of enthusiasm and raw talent to the program. Our organization has four decades of working with Mazda and motorsports development that we will put to use to help mold these young drivers into top level competitors with promising futures in the sport. As a leading builder of championship engines for Mazda racers, and years of immersion in the sport, we are very proud of the drivers we’ve supported over the years who have been top competitors and role models for future generations of young drivers.”
Jonathan Bomarito: “I am very excited and honored to have the opportunity to help two of the best up and coming drivers through Mazda’s sports car ladder system. Racing is a unique industry, so having someone in your corner who can give advice on and off the track is something I wish I had at the start of my career. Mazda’s continued support to help young racers achieve their dreams of becoming professional race car drivers is unmatched in the industry and I can’t wait to get started in selecting the next group of future stars.”
David Cook, Mazda Motorsports’ business development manager: “In racing, it takes being the complete package – a great racer on the track, and a great partner representative off the track. To help set up Alex and Bryson for success, we are proud to put together a support program that will aid growth in both areas. We pride ourselves at Mazda with motorsports being in our DNA and to Never Stop Challenging. But I think it’s even more simple than that. We pride ourselves, and differentiate ourselves, by supporting our customers, colleagues and partners. We are just lucky to do it in motorsports, another area of passion, where a lot of it shines.”
Looking ahead: Now that Alex and Bryson are making the transition to cars, their next target milestones for achievement will be wining in the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series and earning spots in the MX-5 Cup Shootout.
About the MX-5 Cup Shootout
2020 marks the 15th year for the MX-5 Cup Shootout that has awarded talented club racers with a scholarship to compete in the Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires® each year, Mazda’s professional, spec racing series.
Club racers competing in a Mazda who win an SCCA Runoffs National Championship, NASA Championship, Teen Mazda Challenge regional championship, or Formula Mazda championship automatically earn nominations to the MRT24 Shootout. Recognizing that talented and deserving drivers may not always be in a position to win a championship, Mazda may select other racers as at-large nominees. These nominees have the opportunity to submit a business plan, video and resume to then be selected as finalists who compete in a two-day Shootout. During the two-day Shootout, a panel of judges interview the finalists to learn more about their off-track business prowess, knowledge of vehicle dynamics and more; the drivers also compete on-track behind the wheel of the MX-5 Cup race car.
About MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires
The MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires is Mazda’s signature spec series, offering more than $500,000 in a total prize pool, including a $200,000 scholarship to the champion and $75,000 Rookie of the Year award.
The MX-5 Cup race cars start as complete MX-5 road cars from the Mazda Hiroshima, Japan factory before being transported to engineering development partner Flis Performance in Daytona Beach, Florida, where they are transformed into a race car. The process includes disassembly of the production car, welding and paint of a full roll cage and interior, and adding more than 250 motorsports-specific parts. Other components of the car, including the Mazda SKYACTIV 2.0-liter engine are sealed to ensure even competition and a cost-effective platform.
About Spec MX-5
Mazda Motorsports has combined decades of key learnings supplied by thousands of racers at every level of grassroots and pro racing to create Spec MX-5. We’ve applied these key learnings into four key pillars: affordability, reliability, tech-ability, and really fun to drive.
Building on the abundance of already fun third generation NC (2006-2015) MX-5s, Mazda Motorsports has developed a race kit with nearly every necessary part to convert the road car into the Spec MX-5 race car, intended for everyone from novices looking to make a long-term stay in club racing, to those aspiring to professional motorsports. The focus of the support program is to enable excellent sprint and endurance club racing competition through transparency, parity, rewarding racers with the best contingency awards in club racing, the best parts pricing, and assistance from Mazda Motorsports’ experts on everything from assembly, to set up, and driving. Spec MX-5 is club racing done right.
About Teen Mazda Challenge
NASA’s Teen Mazda Challenge is a program designed to support young drivers coming out of karting and entering sports car racing while they compete in either Spec Miata or the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series. TMC champions are eligible for automatic nominations into the MX-5 Cup Shootout. In addition to this unique opportunity, TMC series has a number of other generous programs that provide benefits to up and coming drivers striving to advance their motorsports career (See the Contingencies and Prizes page for additional details).