Mazda has announced it will create a club-level factory-backed race team comprised of kart racers who will compete in a two-car Teen Mazda Challenge Spec MX-5 team on the West Coast for the 2021 season.

Mazda Motorsports and NASA are excited to announce the creation of Mazda’s first factory club racing team to run in Teen Mazda Challenge within the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series in 2021.

On Tuesday, October 6, Mazda Motorsports will announce a list of kart racers who will be nominated to compete in Spec MX-5 race cars alongside the club racers who will be competing in Global Mazda MX-5 Cup race cars at the annual Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout. These two competitions, running simultaneously, will help catapult racers into their respective next levels.

Two go-karters will be selected from a two-day Shootout to become Mazda’s first club racing factory team. The two recipients will be supported and groomed by a Mazda-designated race team, Mazda’s Prototype driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class Jonathan Bomarito and the Mazda Motorsports team. As part of the support, the factory drivers will pilot the Mazda factory team cars, receive all parts consumables, including Toyo Tires for each event, have their entry fees covered, receive a $2,500 travel budget a $5,000 parts support budget for potential unexpected needs.

“I am very excited and honored to have the opportunity to help some of the best up and coming drivers through Mazda’s sports car ladder system,” Bomarito said. “Racing is a unique industry, so having someone in your corner who can give advice on and off the track is something I wish I had at the start of my career. Mazda’s continued support to help young racers achieve of their dreams of becoming professional racecar drivers is unmatched in the industry and I can’t wait to get started in selecting the next group of future stars.”

The factory racers will compete in the West Coast regional series comprised of three marquee regular season events before moving to the post-season event(s). Each of the regular season Spec MX-5 Challenge Series events will pay thousands of dollars in contingency awards, and culminate with an expected $100,000 prize pool at the championship event. The Spec MX-5 National Champion will earn a $50,000 race fund and an automatic nomination for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout.

The Path to Becoming a Mazda Club Racing Factory Team Driver

To help select the karters who are talented on and off track, and represent Mazda and all the partners, Mazda has developed a process consistent with the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout.

Selecting the nominees: Mazda turned to several prominent industry professionals – eKarting News, Max Papis, Buddy Rice, Chris Wheeler, Jared Thomas, and others. Go-karters will become nominees for the Shootout either by winning a select championship or as an at-large bid. The nominee list is final, and will be announced Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

Selecting the finalists: Nominees will be evaluated through a virtual process to determine top six to nine karters who will move on to the Shootout to be held at a racetrack to be announced.

Selecting the scholarship recipients: During the Shootout, each karter will be interviewed by a panel of industry pros, as well as compete on track in Spec MX-5s. At the conclusion of these two days, Mazda’s first two-car club racing factory team will be created.

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