|Country United States
Drivers' champion Nathanial Sparks
|Inaugural season 2006|
Tyre suppliers BFGoodrich
|Category One-make racing by Mazda|
The Global MX-5 Cup is the professional Spec Miata series sanctioned by the SCCA in the United States of America. The pro Spec Miata series has its roots in 2003, but a unified national championship was launched in 2006.
The first generation Mazda MX-5 or Mazda Miata was launched in the US market in May 1989 (model year 1990). The Sports Car Club of America placed the car in the Showroom Stock C class for production vehicles with a 1.600cc engine. The rules allowed the car to be entered in races when the model was one year old, in 1991. As production and popularity of the sports car grew the SCCA developed a separate class for the car. After an exhibition race at Road Atlanta in 1999 an SCCA regional class was launched in 2000. In professional autosport the Miata's were entered in the SCCA World Challenge, but without major results.
Mazdaspeed Miata Cup
The Mazdaspeed Miata Cup was launched for 2003 with a Pacific and an Atlantic championship. The series first race was run at BeaveRun Motorsports Complex on May 3rd and 4th 2003. Chip Herr and Niki Coello won the two races over the weekend. Niki Coello went on to win the Atlantic Tour championship. Bobby Carter won the inaugural Pacific Tour.
Mazda MX-5 Cup
The introduction of the third generation Mazda MX-5 came also the national pro series in 2006. The inaugural season started at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. A total of 22 racers started the inaugural race which was won by Chip Herr, from pole position. The series was support event for the Rolex Sports Car Series at Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio and Miller Motorsports Park. The series also supported events of CASCAR, ChampCar, American Le Mans Series and the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières. Jim Daniels clinched the championship with one round remaining. The 2007 season started at the Grand Prix of Houston with the series first night race. Jason Saini won five out of eight races to clinch the championship. Saini was promoted to the 2008 SCCA World Challenge with Mazda. The 2008 season started with a Mazda Miata shootout. Brad Rampelberg won the race between SCCA and NASA champions to receive a fully funded drive in the 2008 regular season. Rampelberg finished sixth in the season standings winning races at Portland and Miller Motorsports Park. Eric Foss won the championship winning two races but finishing all eight races.
Todd Lamb dominated the 2009 season. Lamb won eight out of ten races, consecutive. Marc Miller and Lyonel Kent won the remaining two races. NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis also competed in the series. Rampelberg continued in the series winning the 2010 series. In 2010 the series had its first standing start, at New Jersey Motorsports Park, previously only using a roling start. The 2011 season was a tough season for the series. The final rounds of the series saw only 16 entrants. Michael Cooper won the series as Rampelberg moved into the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
For 2012 Todd Snyder was appointed as the director of competition. Snyder left the series at the end of the season to join the IMSA. The series created a partnership with the Skip Barber Racing School for young racers. Bryan Hixon was the first driver to win the class. The regular championship was won by Stevan MacAleer. Former single-seater racer Christian Szymczak won the 2013 series championship. Kenton Koch, winner of the 2013 Skip Barber class, won the 2014 overall championship. This was the first back to back championship win for Alara Racing and team principal Ken Murillo. In November 2014 Mazda unveiled the new Global MX-5 Cup at the SEMA tradeshow. The final season of the third generation car was won by John Dean II with a 13 point margin on Patrick Gallagher.
Global MX-5 Cup
For 2016 the Global MX-5 Cup was launched. The series featured the new fourth generation Mazda MX-5, and a new prize package. The winner of the series was invited to test a Mazda powered Lola B08/80 prepared by Mazda Motorsports. Last seasons championship contenders Dean II and Gallagher again competed at the front of the pack. Gallagher won the first race after Dean II started from pole position. The championship was won by 26-year old Nathaniel Sparks. Sparks won a $200.000 scholarship to advance his racing career. The season culminated with a new shootout format. The Mazda MX-5 Cup Global Invitational debuted with nineteen drivers from eight different countries. The inaugural edition was won by American racer Robby Foley. Former FIA GT1 racer Gabriele Gardel also competed in the race.
For 2017 sanctioning of the series was taken over from SCCA Pro Racing to INDYCAR. Promotion of the series was taken over by Andersen Promotions. Andersen Promotions, headed by Dan Andersen, also promotes and runs all series of the Mazda Road to Indy (USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights). The Global MX-5 Series joined the IndyCar Series at the Grand Prix of Alabama, Kohler Grand Prix, Honda Indy Toronto and the Grand Prix at The Glen.
In the early Mazdaspeed Miata Cup accepted first- and second generation Mazda MX-5's. The series followed Spec Miata rules as issued by the SCCA, NASA and Midwestern Council. Tires from the labels Toyo, Kumho and Hankook were allowed. Three types of MX-5's were allowed to run in the series. The edition of the MX-5 built from 1990 through 1993 featured a 1.600cc engine. The car had a minimum weight of 2.300lbs. The second type allowed were cars built from 1994 through 1998. The car featured a 1.800cc engine and had a minimum weight of 2.350lbs. Lastly cars built from 1999 through 2005 featured a 1.800cc engine and had a minimum weight of 2.400lbs.
Between 2006 and 2015 the series used the third generation Mazda MX-5. The car featured a 2.0L 200hp engine prepared by Mazdaspeed. Through the years model years 2006 through 2014 were accepted. The engine featured modifications by Mazdaspeed such as a modified cold air intake. The gearbox was a stock 6-speed manual out of the Sport Package. The suspension and shocks were also provided by Mazdaspeed. Tyres were provided by Hankook in 2006 and 2007. Between 2008 and 2009 the tyres were provided by Kumho. As of 2010 the tires are provided by BFGoodrich.
For the 2016 season Mazda introduced the fourth generation Mazda MX-5. The car is built at the Hiroshima Mazda factory. The MX-5 Cup version is developed by Mazda North American Operations and Long Road Racing. The engine is a 2.0L SkyActiv. The ECU is provided by General Engine Management Systems. Tom Long was the testdriver during the development phase.