There is good reason to join Spec MX-5, but the market is young. Mazda is helping get more cars built quicker and easier for customers to experience it.
Starting a series with a new spec for a car means starting from scratch. In the case of Spec MX-5, it means racers or teams have three options: 1) buy an NC (2006-2015) MX-5 donor and the build kit from Mazda Motorsports to build the Spec MX-5; 2) find a former MX-5 Cup car to convert to the new spec, though most have already been converted; or 3) convert an SCCA Touring 4 MX-5 to the new spec, though SCCA T4 is a great class and the MX-5 is a great fit. No matter the direction, there is not much of secondary market with ready-to-go Spec MX-5s, just yet. No matter how you slice it, it takes effort to own a Spec MX-5 car – more than just a quick search for a Spec Miata, for example.
When you add that racers like to test a car before buying, having a new spec race car with few of them on the market makes it difficult. And when you cannot test one, and then it takes several months to have one built, a racer may pass on the opportunity for the time being. It certainly does not help grow the class quickly.
With a series that’s growing (nearing 100 builds), and Spec MX-5 being the future spec class for grassroots racing, what is Mazda’s response to this supply and demand predicament?
According to Mazda Motorsports’ business development manager David Cook, Mazda is going to select top teams around the country to help get Spec MX-5 race cars built now, before the team has a buyer ready and then waiting. “Racers should be able to test a car in their region, not have to catch a flight,” commented Cook. “When they like it and want to buy it, it needs to be available then. Based on cash flow and the business model of the shops, who are the lifeblood of the grassroots racing community, we can and need to help them get the cars built before they have cash in hand from the customers. Our new offering, which we are testing, will provide our parts kits to the shops for no charge until they sell the race car or March 2022 comes first. The latter is available and likely to occur if the shop decides it wants to own the car itself as a rental. In either case, customers will have more options to experience Spec MX-5.”
Spec MX-5 Challenge presented by Toyo Tires – the series where all the spec racing occurs – offers the biggest payouts in club racing, and was where Mazda found more MX-5 Cup Shootout competitors than any other place. The spec series is also considered by many to have the best parity in club racing, and the overall most support.