DETROIT — Mazda Motor Corp. wants to turn the racing series for its MX-5 race cars, which can be purchased for less than $60,000, into a truly global competition.
John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations, said the first official Global MX-5 Cup series outside the United States started in April in Japan. The goal, he said, is to emulate the U.S. series, which started in 2006.
"Our hope is now to do the same in Europe and Australia and ultimately have a season-ending cup for drivers from around the world to come together for one championship," he told media at an event last week at the M1 Concourse in suburban Pontiac, Mich.
Mazda, through partner Long Road Racing, has sold about 150 of the race cars since they went on sale in October 2015. Before then, the company sold kits to turn the production roadster into a non-street-legal racer.
The cars are shipped from Mazda's production plant in Hiroshima, Japan, to Long Road Racing in North Carolina. It takes 15 to 17 days to turn the street-legal car into a racer. Work includes disassembly of the production car, welding and paint of a full roll cage and interior, and assembly of the race car, adding more than 250 motorsports-specific parts.
Other components of the car, including the Mazda Skyactiv 2.0-liter engine, are sealed to ensure even competition and a cost-effective platform.