Inside MX-5 Cup with Tom Long: Summer Break or Summer Prep?

The recent Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup event at Mid-Ohio marked the halfway point of the season, and what a shake-up in the points championship it was! In both the overall championship and Rookie of the Year standings, things have really tightened up at the front, with both championships within just a few points of each other.

Now that we are heading into the second half of the season (which is incredible to think about based on how much excitement we’ve already seen this year), teams have a different challenge to face: a two-month “summer break” before the next round at Road America. After eight races in the first five months of the calendar year, teams now find themselves with more than eight weeks to prepare and potentially regroup for the rest of the season. With so much on the line in the tight championship race for $250,000, drivers have two months to think about what they can do to get an edge when racing resumes!

For some drivers, it’s a great opportunity to hit the reset button if the season hasn’t gone their way. For others, it will be important to keep that momentum going when they hit the track again in Elkhart Lake, Wis., in August.

It’s important to remember that although the series had a busy start, it’s still only just past halfway in the season, and anything can still happen. We’ve already seen that at the previous round at Mid-Ohio. This break is an excellent time for drivers to challenge their ability to stay focused, not only with physical training, but also with any testing or preparation that will help them hit the ground running for the last six races. Taking a mental break is great, but it’s also important to refocus in time to finish out the season with a strong performance.

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 or on Facebook