Tested, Mazda’s Global ND MX-5 Cup Car


I finally get belted in but unfortunately, I am very uncomfortable and can't see or reach the controls very well.  In my younger active racer days, I had shared cars in enduros like this so I give it a shot.  Since I don't want to be THAT GUY who wads a car at a press event, I am going to have to be very careful and drive 7/10ths picking the turns to feel the car out in carefully. 
Pulling out of the pits, I noticed that the engine has a decent amount of torque, a decently wide power band, adequate power yet it runs out of breath early compared to other 4 cylinders.  The power is enough to be entertaining but to drive the car quickly is going to take a lot of skill and the ability to maintain momentum.  In equal spec cars like this, you make a mistake, it's going to cost you.
The chassis more than makes up for the lack of excitement under the hood.  The ND MX-5 Cup Car is now my new favorite handling car, surpassing my old favorites the AP2 S2000 and the Porsche Cayman.  The car turns in almost telepathically like a go kart, with very little steering input needed. The steering has decent feedback and there is no understeer unless you try to induce it. With lift throttle or trail braking, the car rotates nicely while remaining very easy to catch. Like the street version of the ND, the Cup Car exhibits a decent amount of body roll and dive for a race car but it does not detract from the cars wonderful feel or capability.  The ride is very smooth as well even for a race car.
The brakes are 4 piston brembos.  Nice stuff but on my car they had a long squishy pedal. I actually liked the NC brakes better. This was probably due to the car having been run hard for several hours before I got in it.  I am sure that with a quick bleeding they would firm right up.  I also noticed that the brake pads used seemed to have low initial bite.  Perhaps that was also due to hours of journalist hard driving before my turn.  The BFG R1 tires should provide long lasting and predictable grip across many heat cycles.
The Cup Car comes with a full data system and the car was being checked and monitored by Long Racing Engineers during the event.
Getting out of this car was almost as bad as getting in.
I really liked the ND MX-5 Cup Car a lot.  If I had one where everything was adjusted to fit me and I could see where I was going, I feel like I could really have a lot of fun in it and put down a decent lap time without much frustration.  I am complaining a lot about the difficulty of getting in and out but really if you don't have my arthritis and old back injuries, you should be fine unless you are obese or really tall.  

The ND Global MX-5 cup car is selling for a special introductory price of $53,000. This is a bargain considering that you are getting a brand new MX-5 in the process.  You would be hard put to duplicate this car at the price. 

What you don't see and can't duplicate are the thousands of test miles and hundreds of hours of testing that Mazda Motorsports has put into the development and refinement of these car to ensure that they will be reliable and inexpensive to operate.  You won't have typical new race car developmental blues if you purchase one of these.  This is an important factor to consider when looking at the overall cost. That the car could easily withstand being driven hard from sun up to sun down for two days in 100 degree plus heat by journalists is a good testimony to how bulletproof it is. 

Another plus is that the MX-5 Cup is the first step in Mazda's “Road to 24” ladder for driver advancement program which helps to promote aspiring racers to the highest levels of pro driving. Being a global series, the 2016 series will culminate in a race at Mazda Raceway where the winner will be declared the world champion and receive a $200,000 scholarship to advance to the next highest level of pro diving including a one day test in the IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship SKYACTIV prototype race car!

These benefits make the Global MX-5 Cup Car a racing bargain!


You can pre order your car here!


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