On Thursday afternoon Mazda’s spec-racing Global MX-5 Cup series announced that it would be partnering with IMSA from 2021 onward as its sanctioning body of record. The series has been in a bit of tumult lately as it was formerly sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, which imploded a few years ago, before jumping ship to next available IndyCar. Former Mazda North America Director of Motorsports John Doonan was hired on as president of IMSA late last year, and it is quite likely that this has something to do with Mazda’s choice of IMSA for this move.
“For Mazda, our core mission is to uplift people, and one of the ways we do that is through motorsports,” Director of Mazda Motorsports Nelson Cosgrove told Racer.com. “Our long-term alliance with IMSA has proven we share enthusiasm for sports car racing and commitment to uplift our teams and fans. Adding the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series to the IMSA event schedule will allow those fans to gain a deeper understanding of the brand.”
2021 will mark the 15th season of the Global MX-5 Cup series (including its first ten seasons under the name Mazda MX-5 Cup). The series is seen by Mazda as an entry level stepping stone in its motorsport ladder spanning from here to top-flight IMSA DPi prototypes. Champions in Global MX-5 Cup are granted scholarships to advance through the various American sports car or open-wheel ranks.
Because the cars are identical and modestly powered, the racing is always a total riot to watch.
The series doesn’t expect any changes to the rulebook for the 2021 season, and the race car will still be an exacting specification based on the current ND chassis MX-5 introduced back in 2016. For just over $50,000 you can get your own MX-5 Cup and go racing in this series.
The 2020 season will end at St. Petersburg in conjunction with the IndyCar season closer there later this month. Under IMSA rule, the MX-5 Cup weekend format will stay exactly the same, including two practice sessions, a qualifying segment, and a double-header race weekend. Following the IMSA series around in 2021 will likely be better for racers as the experience of racing an MX-5 translates much more easilyto a GTD class ride than it might a USF2000 or IndyLights ride. The 2021 schedule has not been released yet, but I reckon it’ll be a good move to start this whole thing off at Daytona in January.