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SEMA LIVE: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Cup car

by Byron Hurd

Mazda\'s spec series goes global for 2016.

Mazda unveiled its 2016 MX-5 Cup race car at SEMA on Tuesday and with it announced plans to take the U.S.-based race program global in 2016.

The 2015 Global MX-5 Cup program will support racing in North America, Europe and Asia. Competitors worldwide will drive cars built to identical specifications, and for the first time in its history, the series will have a true world champion determined by a season-ending, global shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterrey, California. The winner will have the opportunity to test in Mazda's prototype SKYACTIV racecar in the TUDOR United States SportsCar Championship series.

"Since the first Mazda MX-5 Miata took the green flag back in 1990, the car has been the ideal platform for both veterans and rookies alike," noted John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American operations. "Because the MX-5 is inherently such a good car to drive, it is an ideal platform to learn basic and advanced race-craft, and this has made the professional MX-5 Cup series very successful to date."

The full details of participating countries and series rules will be finalized next year.

Also up in the air are the exact technical specifications of the new MX-5 Cup car. Mazda has only confirmed that all Cup cars will be equipped with its 2.0L SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine. Other equipment (tires, suspension, powertrain, safety gear, etc.) will be determined during a development period that will begin this winter.

2015 will be the final year for the third-generation ("NC") Miata in the MX-5 Cup series under its new title sponsor, Battery Tender. Starting in 2016, the NC MX-5 Cup Car will be eligible only for club racing only as determined by each independent sanctioning body.

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