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Mazda highlights MX-5 Cup development

The company has begun testing a few engineering prototypes at the Mazda Raceway.

Mazda has highlighted the late-stage development process for the 2016 MX-5 Miata Cup racer.

A pair of engineering prototypes have been brought to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterrey, California, this week for testing in public. The program coincides with the final race weekends of the 2015 MX-5 Cup season.

"When you are running one of the most competitive and affordable race series in the world, expectations are high for the next generation series," the company notes. "The challenge is complex as Mazda is evaluating seven tire manufacturers, eight brake suppliers, and seven suspension kit partners for 392 base combinations."

Final tuning and component selection is being led by veteran Miata prototype racer Tom Long, who as "raced in, and won with" all three previous generations of MX-5 racers. With the help of fellow Mazda race pilots Kenton Koch and Andrew Carbonell, along with engineering partner Long Road Racing, Mazda's motorsports division will perform a significant portion of the 'testing' via computer simulations, with real-world track time validating the digital models.

"Testing the new MX-5 racer for the Global MX-5 Cup has been an incredible fit so far. The lightweight nimble chassis design, along with its increased power-to-weight ratio, makes this new platform balanced and a real thrill to drive," said Long. "Taking the key elements that made the original MX-5 chassis so popular and successful, has come back to its roots in a reborn look."

Mazda Motorsports will freeze the vehicle specs and announce the price later this summer. The 2016 race program will encompass global markets, with the first true world champion decided by a season finale at Mazda Raceway. The winner will go on to drive Mazda's prototype Skyactiv racer in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship series.

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