Mazda MX-5 Cup To Be Sanctioned By IMSA Starting In 2021

News, Racing I By Winding Road Staff I October 22, 2020


After careful evaluation, Mazda Motorsports has selected the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) as the sanctioning body partner for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series. The championship is set to celebrate its 15th season in 2021.

"For Mazda, our core mission is to uplift people, and one of the ways we do that is through motorsports," Director of Mazda Motorsports Nelson Cosgrove said. "Our long-term alliance with IMSA has proven we share enthusiasm for sportscar racing and commitment to uplift our teams and fans. Adding the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series to the IMSA event schedule will allow those fans to gain a deeper understanding of the brand."

The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series is the signature spec series for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24). Mazda-powered grassroots champions earn a Mazda scholarship to advance their career. The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship.

The integration of Global Mazda MX-5 Cup into the IMSA events promises to provide race fans with the opportunity to see the Mazda Road to 24 in action. The first opportunity to do that will be as part of 59th Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend that opens the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season on Jan. 28-31, 2021.

The 2021 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season will end as part of another iconic endurance racing weekend, at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta alongside the WeatherTech Championship’s annual Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 6-9. The complete 2021 Global MX-5 Cup schedule will be unveiled in the near future.

"One of the key ideals on which IMSA was founded upon over five decades ago is having a platform of various race series that allows passionate and aspiring drivers, mechanics, engineers and race teams the opportunity to enter the highest levels of sports car racing in a cost-effective manner," said IMSA President John Doonan. "There is no question that the Global MX-5 Cup Championship aligns with that primary IMSA goal.

"The nonstop racing action in MX-5 Cup is some of the most exciting anywhere in the world and is a tremendous steppingstone for the next generation of sports car racing talent. Based on the significant value for partners and manufacturers on site or during race broadcasts, MX-5 Cup and IMSA provide a perfect venue to grow brands, entertain clients and guests, and realize massive return on investment."

Andersen Promotions, which grew its operations to manage the championship on behalf of Mazda starting with the 2017 season, has also reached an extended agreement to continue to oversee the one-make category.

The weekend format will continue to feature two practice sessions, a qualifying session and then two races. No major changes to the rulebook are expected at this time.

Ahead of the move to IMSA sanctioning in 2021, the 2020 season is set for another thrilling championship showdown with a double-header season finale weekend set to take place as part of the St. Pete GP in St. Petersburg, FL (October 23-25).

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