IMSA and Mazda Motorsports have reached an agreement for the U.S sports car racing organizing body to sanction the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series starting next year.
It means Mazda’s nationwide single-make championship, which forms part of the manufacturer’s Mazda Road to 24 talent program, will join the IMSA racing bill for its 15th season in 2021.
Mazda-powered grassroots champions earn a Mazda scholarship to advance their career, while the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 USD scholarship.
The series will run as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event package during the Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend on Jan. 28-31, and during the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Next year’s complete Global MX-5 Cup schedule will be unveiled in the near future.
“For Mazda, our core mission is to uplift people, and one of the ways we do that is through motorsports,” said Nelson Cosgrove, director of Mazda Motorsports.
“Our long-term alliance with IMSA has proven we share enthusiasm for sportscar racing and commitment to uplift our teams and fans.
“Adding the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series to the IMSA event schedule will allow those fans to gain a deeper understanding of the brand.”
Andersen Promotions, which grew its operations to manage the championship on behalf of Mazda starting with the 2017 season, has also reached an extended agreement to continue to oversee the one-make category.
The weekend format will continue to feature two practice sessions, a qualifying session and two races. No major changes to the rulebook are expected at this time.
Ahead of the move to IMSA sanctioning in 2021, the 2020 season is set for another thrilling championship showdown with a double-header season finale weekend set to take place as part of the St. Pete GP in St. Petersburg, FL on Oct. 23-25.
“One of the key ideals on which IMSA was founded upon over five decades ago is having a platform of various race series that allows passionate and aspiring drivers, mechanics, engineers and race teams the opportunity to enter the highest levels of sports car racing in a cost-effective manner,” said IMSA President John Doonan.
“There is no question that the Global MX-5 Cup Championship aligns with that primary IMSA goal.
“The nonstop racing action in MX-5 Cup is some of the most exciting anywhere in the world and is a tremendous stepping stone for the next generation of sports car racing talent.
“Based on the significant value for partners and manufacturers on-site or during race broadcasts, MX-5 Cup and IMSA provide a perfect venue to grow brands, entertain clients and guests, and realize massive return on investment.”