Doubleheader race weekend set during IMSA Michelin Encore
When summer turns to fall and temperatures start to drop, people start to think of reasons to head south.
This November, Mazda is offering 50,000 reasons to head south to Sebring International Raceway as the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich officials have announced the 2018 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge, which will take place on November 9-11 as part of the IMSA Michelin Encore.
The event marks the third consecutive season that the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup has hosted a special post-championship race weekend. The tradition of big payouts for these events will continue, as the driver with the two best combined results will walk away with $50,000 from Mazda. The event podium will be full of smiles, as the runner-up will score $20,000 with third place snatching $10,000.
The weekend has already attracted international interest, with the top two finishers in the Japanese Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship slated to compete in the two-race race weekend. Tickets to the Michelin Encore will go on sale later this month.
The 2017 edition attracted a wide range of racers, from IndyCar driver and Mazda Scholarship winner Kyle Kaiser, previous series champions Kenton Koch, John Dean II, and Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks as well as 2017 series champion Patrick Gallagher, who closed his incredible season by claiming the top prize last year.
“When we envisioned the Global MX-5 Cup concept back in 2014, it was critical for all of us at Mazda that a global gathering of the most talented MX-5 Cup drivers in the world would cap off the end of each racing season,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “To now be able to run the 2018 Global event at such a historic venue as Sebring International Raceway gives all the drivers and teams a very special opportunity. Knowing that the top two finishers in the Global MX-5 Cup Japan are already confirmed to attend, we cannot wait to see who comes out on top.”
The 3.74-mile Sebring circuit has hosted the Mazda MX-5 Cup series in the past, but the 2018 Challenge event marks the first-ever appearance at the track for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup specification, which was introduced for the 2016 season.
The Long Road Racing-built Global Mazda MX-5 Cup machine has been an incredible success, with 181 cars sold. With every driver using the exact same SKYACTIV 2.0-liter engine as the MX-5 that you can buy at a Mazda dealer, the cars are then race-prepared at Long Road Racing in Statesville, North Carolina with safety equipment including a roll cage as well as over 200 motorsports-specific parts.