Amateur racing is an expensive hobby. Fortunately, Mazda makes it relatively affordable by way of the MX-5 Cup.
We know, “relatively” is doing a lot of lifting in the prior sentence, because even though running in the MX-5 Cup costs a lot less to compete in than other racing series, it’s far from a cheap pastime. License and entry fees alone run into the thousands of dollars, and that’s before accounting for the price of hardware, such as the car itself, and consumables such as brake pads, tires, fuel, fluids, and other parts.
Even so, the fact is the MX-5 Cup remains accessible, and it’s just announced a new agreement with IMSA for 2021 that sees the series expand to seven venues and 14 rounds for the 2021 season—the most in history, according to Mazda. The season kicks off in late January 2021 at Daytona International Speedway in conjunction with the Rolex 24 at Daytona and is followed by two rounds of racing in early March in St. Petersburg, Florida, as part of the festivities surrounding the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Racing resumes in late April at Monterey, California’s Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, and then moves on to Mid-Ohio the following month. In early July, the series crosses the border into Canada, where competition continues at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Things return to the United States in early August, with racing commencing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Finally, the series comes to a close at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, in early October.
The cars used in MX-5 Cup racing start life as road-going MX-5 Miatas. Shortly after rolling off the production line, the Mazda roadsters are shipped to Flis Performance in Daytona Beach, Florida, which converts the cars into spec-series racers. Each is disassembled and a roll cage installed before hundreds of MX-5 Cup-specific racing pieces are bolted in, including a trick six-speed sequential gearbox that mates to the Miata’s race-prepped 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
Check out the full 2021 Mazda MX-5 Cup series schedule below.
2021 MX-5 Cup Racing Series Schedule*
January 28-31: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
March 5-7: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Florida
April 23-25: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, California
May 14-16: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
July 2-4: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario
August 6-8: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
October 6-9: Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia
*Each event includes two rounds of MX-5 Cup series racing.