After a whirlwind event at St. Petersburg, where the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup series presented by BFGoodrich® Tires had two races in one day, we’re keeping up the frenetic pace thanks to the short turnaround time between that event and the next two rounds at Mid-Ohio.
Now that we are nearly reaching the halfway point of the season, the points championship is really starting to take shape. Michael Carter took a sizable lead in the series championship after he was able finish runner up for Race 1 and follow that up with a win in Race 2 at St. Pete. He’ll definitely have a target on the back of his Mazda at Mid-Ohio. For the Rooke of the Year honors, things have certainly tightened up after a few of our front-running rookies had some bad luck at St. Pete.
Mid-Ohio has a lot of special meaning to me personally. I’ve been going to Mid-Ohio for close to twenty years now, and I’ve had a lot of racing success there, not just in Mazda MX-5 Cup but also in IMSA-sanctioned competition. In fact, Mid-Ohio was the site where I won the MX-5 Cup Championship in 2005. The track holds a lot of special significance to me, and it’s hard to imagine I’ve been going there for more than half my life!
Although the street circuit of St. Pete is arguably very different than the traditional road course style of Mid-Ohio, they do share one key trait. Mid-Ohio has a similar flow in terms of race craft: the best passing opportunities are limited to two main areas, which is similar to what we saw at St. Pete.
However, there are some serious differences, too. Mid-Ohio is notorious for its undulating elevation changes and challenging track surface, especially if it’s wet. Most of the racing line consists of sealer patches, and they become ultra-slick when the track is wet, so drivers will have to search for grip on the outer edges of the circuit to survive if we wind up having a rain race.
Tom Long is an accomplished sports car driver with a number of top honors to his name. His storied career with Mazda Motorsports includes his current role in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Series as a test driver, coach and race official. You can keep up with Tom on his blog at TomLongRacing.com or on Facebook.