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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Mazda MX-5 Miata Spec Series Is The Result Of Their Challenging Spirit


After a nearly two-year delay, Mazda Philippines’s dream of having a local one-make race series featuring its venerable MX-5 is happening. It’s a project filled with various delays and setbacks, but just as the Hiroshima-based carmaker showed resilience by re-starting production just four months after the dropping of the atom bomb, the start of the Miata Spec Series is the result of the same challenging spirit.

“It became deeply personal to me,” recalls Steven Tan, President and CEO of Mazda Philippines. “We were ready to start in 2020, until the pandemic happened.”

Work on the Miata Spec Series started way back in 2018 (we attended a media preview in 2019, and got to drive car as well). At the time, Mazda Philippines explored the possibility of coming up with their own one-make racing series, where they would supply identical MX-5s and a third party would organize the races alongside the Miata Cup. When the pandemic struck in 2020, the entire program was put on pause, just like the rest of the world.

In 2021, organization of the racing series took on a different flavor when the Manila Sports Car Club or MSCC came in. Wanting a racing series to call their own, the MSCC partnered with Mazda Philippines to come up with what’s to become the Miata Spec Series that’ll be raced starting this year.

The club-organized race will use identical MX-5s—six plucked from the original 2020 batch, and 14 from 2021 and 2022 model year cars. Regardless, there’s no real machine advantage since the engine and drivetrain are kept completely stock. Ultimately, it’s a racing series that’ll reward driving and setup skills (drivers are allowed to tweak certain characteristics like camper, toe-in, and dampers to suit their driving style). All are road legal and are meant to be driven to and from the track.

The Mazda-MSCC partnership is perfect. As a platform, the MX-5 needed little introduction. It’s the most raced car in the world. In the United States alone, more than 2,500 MX-5 are currently running through various motorsports disciplines from track to gymkhanas. It is truly all about grassroots racing all with the single goal of celebrating driving. Meanwhile, for MSCC members, the MX-5 is considered a bonafide sportscar, and ownership of one can grant its owner membership into the highly exclusive club.

True enough, the Miata Spec Series doesn’t exist because someone wanted a big budget marketing event. Instead, it’s done on the grounds of genuine passion, and it’s something you see and feel in everyone—from the participants to the sponsors to the very people that cover them. There’s this genuine authenticity to the series. It’s also one where ultimately, the reward isn’t about money. It’s all about deepening the bond between car and driver, driver with fellow driver. The shiny trophy just comes as an unexpected bonus.

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