Playboy Joins Mazda Mx-5 Cup Program
Using the largest motorsports trade show in the world as the venue, the world’s most popular sports car has joined forces with one of the world’s most popular brands, as Playboy becomes the title sponsor for the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. The MX-5 Cup saw thirty-percent growth in 2007 and is projected to become the number one spec professional series in the world. The series is also an integral part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder that promotes champions of Mazda series to the next level of their career.
“This is a great way for us to grow the series and reach an audience of enthusiasts who may not have had the chance to see an MX-5 Cup race in person,” noted Jim Jordan, Alternative Marketing Manager, Mazda North American Operations.
“We are excited to be working with Mazda on this program and can’t wait for the season to begin,” said Playboy Vice President and Publisher Lou Mohn. “We look forward to putting all of Playboy’s brand assets into high gear to leverage this initiative and reach racing enthusiasts and Playboy fans alike.”
SCCA Pro Racing President and CEO Robert Wildberger remarked “We’re excited to have such an established brand associated with what is quickly becoming one of the most exciting new series.”
The most raced car in the world is the Mazda MX-5 Miata. On any given weekend, half of the cars competing in SCCA Club Racing events are Mazda-brand vehicles, while thousands more autocross their daily driver Mazdas.
The MX-5 can be raced in a variety of configurations within many different clubs, with classes for every vintage of Mazda from showroom stock to all-out racer. For those looking to try their hand in professional racing, the MX-5 Cup is the ideal place. The cars are affordable, the racing is close, the venues are fantastic, and the races are televised.
The MX-5 Cup champion also receives a Mazda-supported ride in the following year’s SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship. This prize is valued at $250,000. 2007 MX-5 Cup Champion Jason Saini will be racing in the 2008 SPEED World Challenge in a MAZDA6.
The 2008 SCCA Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup schedule is a great balance of North American locations. The season begins with the Houston Grand Prix and concludes six months later at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
April 25-27, 2008
Houston Grand Prix, Houston, Texas
(with ALMS, Champ Car, Champ Car Atlantic, Star Mazda)
May 2-4, 2008
Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia
(with HSR Mitty)
May 17-19, 2008
(with Canadian Touring Cars)
June 20-22, 2008
Cleveland Grand Prix, Cleveland, Ohio
(with Champ Car, Champ Car Atlantic, Star Mazda)
July 25-27, 2008
Portland Grand Prix
(with Champ Car, Champ Car Atlantic, Star Mazda)
Sept. 19-21, 2008
Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah
(with Grand Am, Champ Car Atlantic)
Oct. 17-19, 2008
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, California
(with ALMS, Star Mazda, IMSA Lites)
One additional race will be added to complete an eight race series.
Improved Kumho Tire for 2008
“We’re excited to be back with the Mazda MX-5 Cup series,” said Rudy Consolacion, Motorsports Manager for Kumho Tires U.S.A. “This series features some of the closest racing in the U.S., and we’ve made some improvements to the ECSTA V710 that should help make the races even tighter. We simply tweaked the compound and construction to improve the tire’s performance.”
Competitors will run an improved Kumho ECSTA V710 in the dry and the Kumho Victoracer in the wet.
The Ideal Entry-level Pro Series
The MX-5 Cup is a series where a good club racer can succeed without having been born rich.
Drivers with no club racing experience can attend courses and advanced lapping days at the Skip Barber Racing School in similarly equipped MX-5s to obtain a provisional license.
Club racers with suitable licenses can contract a car on a race-by-race basis from one of several multi-car teams, including Alara Racing, Hale Motorsports, Hooverspeed and Motorsports Enterprises Racing (MER).
On December 12th, nine national champions from club racing will gather at the Buttonwillow race track north of Los Angeles, Calif. They will be competing to win a brand-new MX-5 Cup car and the MAZDASPEED parts to prepare for the 2008 season. The 2006 SCCA Spec Miata Club Champion, Andrew Caddell, won the previous shootout and went on to win two MX-5 Cup races in 2007, finishing second in points.
Skip Barber Regional MX-5 Cup races
New for 2008 will be regional series for Skip Barber MX-5 Cup cars. Successful graduates of the Skip Barber MX-5 Cup school will be able to gain useful racecraft experience at an affordable price. Regional series will be based out of the schools at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta. Additional locations are under study and will be added based upon customer demand.
Great TV this December:
While it may be too cold to race in most parts of the country, the action is hot on the SPEED channel this month. Each of the eight races from the 2007 MX-5 Cup is being shown in an edited 30-minute format, with races shown in pairs for four consecutive Saturdays. Six of the eight races have yet to air.
Race/Broadcast time (EST)
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca & Portland
Saturday, December 8 @ 2:00 PM
Saturday, December 15 @ 2:00 PM
Trois-Rivieres & Miller Motorsports Park
Saturday, December 22 @ 4:00 PM
Mazda is the brand of choice for road-racers across North America. More than 9,000 grassroots racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Racers who are years away from earning a driver’s license can now begin their professional motorsports careers in the Mazda family. A driver can begin in karts and progress through the Skip Barber series, Club Racing Formula Mazda, professional Star Mazda and finally to Formula Atlantic, ALL with Mazda. No other car company has ever connected the dots this way.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you’ll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America’s racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda’s involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world’s premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
About Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
Playboy Enterprises is a brand-driven, international multimedia entertainment company that publishes editions of Playboy magazine around the world; operates television networks and distributes programming globally; owns Playboy.com, a leading men’s lifestyle and entertainment web site; and licenses the Playboy trademark internationally for a range of consumer products and services.
About SCCA Pro Racing
A wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Car Club of America, Inc., SCCA Pro Racing Inc. is a leading sanctioning body for motorsports events in the United States. A member of the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS), SCCA Pro Racing owns, operates and sanctions the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championships and the SCCA Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, as well as provides sanctioning and various operational services for other series. For more information, please visit www.sccapro.com.
# # #
For more information on Mazda products, visit the online Mazda media center at www.MazdaUSAmedia.com
For more information on MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, visit www.MAZDASPEEDMotorsports.com
For more information on the MX-5 Cup series, visit www.mx-5cup.com
For more information on Skip Barber Racing School, visit www.skipbarber.com
For more information on Playboy, visit www.playboy.com
For more information on the Kumho Tire Co, visit www.kumhotire.com
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