CYPRESS, Calif.—The organizers of the Mazda Spec MX-5 Challenge racing series have named Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. the "presenting partner" and nominated the Toyo Proxes RR DOT competition tire as the series' specified tire.
Toyo replaces Yokohama Tire Corp. as the tire supplier for the series, which was launched in early 2018 by ATL Speedwerks and Winding Road Racing as a platform designed to bridge the gap between amateur and professional racing.
The series, as it was promoted then, was for older-generation Skip Barber Racing-prepared MX-5/Miata roadsters, Toyo said. In the meantime, Mazda Motorsports has become more directly involved with this series and has created an actual Spec MX5 chassis based on 2006-15 MX-5 models.
All the existing "Spec MX-5" cars in this series will be upgraded to the new specification, which also is sanctioned by North American Speed Association and Sports Car Club of America for competitive use in their ST and STL classes in this new spec trim.
As such, the revamped Spec MX-5 series will continue to exist in addition to the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, which is supported by Mazda North American Operations, sanctioned by IndyCar L.L.C. and has BFGoodrich Tires as its presenting sponsor.
Mazda Motorsports targeted the 2006-15 MX-5 (also known as the NC-generation Miata) because it's a chassis that's readily available and is known for its affordability and handling characteristics.
Mazda Motorsports offers "kits" in various forms, whether converting an OE street car, or converting a race car already built to meet an existing race class for a specific sanctioning body. The Spec MX-5 will be able to compete in NASA's ST5 class and SCCA's STL class, the Spec MX-5 series organizers said.
Toyo will supply competitors in the Spec MX-5 series with its two-groove Proxes RR competition tire in size 235/40ZR17, which offers a 4/32nds-inch tread depth.
"We have enjoyed working with the Mazda Motorsports team throughout the development of this exciting new platform and are confident that our Proxes RR two-groove DOT race tire is the ideal choice, delivering fast lap times while providing great value," Marc Sanzenbacher, senior manager, motorsports, Toyo Tire, said. "We look forward to the growth of this new spec series in the coming years."
David Cook, business development manager, Mazda Motorsports, added: "Racers look for reliability, consistency, affordability, and products that make vehicles fun to drive.
"Toyo's offering and support best met these pillars, offering racers an unbeatable value. This partnership with Toyo on Spec MX-5 …is a big win for the future of the motorsport industry and for Mazda.
The Spec MX-5 Challenge presented by Toyo Tires will have a series of marquee events run in coordination with both NASA and SCCA, Toyo said. The preliminary 2020 racing schedule and event structure will lead to both regional and overall championships.
Other opportunities to compete in the Spec MX-5 Challenge include series such as the World Racing League—GP3; ChampCar Endurance Series—EC; and American Endurance Racing.