New Entry Point For Vintage Racers Expands To Seven SVRA Weekends
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) and Mazda, one of the most formidable manufacturer brands in all motorsports, announced that the popular Mazda Miata Heritage Cup championship will return for a second season in 2018. The cars are first generation 1.6 to 1.8-liter spec Miatas of 1990 to 1997 vintage and will compete in a six-race points championship with an additional non-championship event at the October 5-7 “Slaying the Dragon” Hill Climb in Robbinsville, North Carolina.
“We are thrilled to continue to grow this strategic relationship with Mazda,” said Tony Parella, SVRA President and CEO. “It was clear to me this year that the Miata drivers were all about prepping their cars to car show quality, but also racing them hard. The Mazda Miata Heritage Cup is working exactly as we hoped by opening vintage racing to young drivers with a price point more affordable than just about any category of serious auto racing.”
Parella, who competed in the April SVRA Miata race at Auto Club Speedway, stresses how racy and fun the Miatas are. He also notes that numerous vintage garages across America offer aspiring drivers car rental and crew service agreements as low as $2,000 for a weekend.
The six-race Heritage Cup championship will take place at Savannah’s Roebling Road (Feb. 16-18), Road Atlanta (March 28-31), Auto Club Speedway (April 27-29), Road America (May 17-20), Mid-Ohio (June 21-24), and Virginia International Raceway (20-23). SVRA officials see the Roebling Road weekend as particularly strategic as it includes a driver’s school where new competitors – such as the Miata drivers – can accelerate the process of earning their licenses and quickly move into wheel-to-wheel competition.
“We are pleased to support SVRA again in 2018,” said John Doonan, director for Mazda North American Operations. “Mazda Motorsports has a long history dating back to the 1960’s, so it is only fitting that the Miata has a special championship in America’s premier vintage series. The Miata is a well-proven, time-tested racing platform and cars are widely available as well as parts. The racing this year was terrific and the drivers really enjoyed it.”
The Miata races were well received by SVRA racers in 2017. The Mid-Ohio and VIR events had more than 20 entries and SVRA officials expect even larger fields in 2018. Mazda Miatas run their own standalone races, not mixing with other classes. The competition is intense and tight, but in the five 2017 races there was never any contact between the racers. There was only one yellow for a mechanical problem. Mazda Motorsports will provide the Heritage Cup trophy for the 2018 season championship, as they did this year. The company is also extending an entry fee discount for the races.
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the Global MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.