Mazda's Grassroots Racing Program

Most professional race car drivers get their start in racing at the grassroots level. In essence, grassroots motorsports is any form of racing that is organized and controlled by the participants. This structure provides anyone with an interest in racing the ability to become involved and minimizes the costs for participants. Although cheaper than racing at the professional level, anyone who has participated in grassroots motorsports knows that footing the bill for parts, equipment, and transportation can add up quickly. Helping to reduce this cost and move enthusiasts from the stadium to the starting grid is Mazda's MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development program.

Mazda has been supporting grassroots racing programs since the early 1990s and has arguably the best team support program of any major manufacturer. "Grassroots motorsports embodies the culture of Mazda. We love cars and we like to compete," said Jim Jordan, head of Mazda's Enthusiast and Motorsports Marketing.

To help make racing more affordable, Mazda offers heavy discounts on parts and easy access to information through their Team Support Program. One simply needs to pick up the phone or log onto their website to purchase all the parts needed, including both OEM and aftermarket, to build a competitive race car. To qualify, an enthusiast simply needs to be a member of a qualified sanctioning body (i.e. SCCA) and either submit photos of the construction of their Mazda powered race car or submit results from a recent event. To remain in the program, participants must compete in at least two events a year and provide race results.

As an added bonus, Team Support members had the exclusive privilege of being able to purchase the Miata Club Sports package before it was offered to the public. This unique package deletes options such as power steering, the audio system, air conditioning, and other parts normally removed when the Miata is prepared for racing. Buyers get to choose from a soft top or a hard top with the soft top removed. To further its appeal, this special Miata has a suggested retail price that is appreciably lower than the normal base model.

The excellent performance and affordable price of the Mazda Miata and the Mazda Protegé have made them a popular choice among grassroots racers. Since its inception, the Spec Miata division has remained the fastest growing series in the SCCA. According to Steve Sanders, Manager of MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, almost 700 of the nearly 7000 Team Support members are participating in the Spec Miata class. "As the Spec RX-7 cars age and parts become more difficult to locate…many drivers are moving to the Spec Miata," said Sanders.

According to Jordan, the Protegé is quickly gaining popularity among the touring car set. Roger Foo and other drivers are currently campaigning the Protegé in the extremely competitive Speed World Challenge touring class.

Mazda increases the appeal of their marque by offering thousands of dollars in prize money through their MAZDASPEED Contingency Program. Whether your passion is drag racing, Solo 2, or Club Racing, there's contingency money up for grabs. When it's time to kick it up a notch, sponsored Pro Racing events include American Le Mans, SCCA Pro Rally, and World Challenge. According to Sanders, "Showroom Stock B is one of our most competitive classes."

With its recent release in Japan, the RX-8 has quickly gained popularity there. MAZDASPEED already offers specialty performance parts for it in Japan and Jordan says that interest is high here in the U.S. as well. Look for parts for the upcoming RX-8 to appear soon in the MAZDASPEED Competition Parts Catalog. With a sporting heritage and a base price of $26,680 for the 247 horsepower manual transmission model, it's clear that the RX-8 will prove popular with the grassroots set.

Mazda, the only Japanese company to ever win the 24 hours of Le Mans, is unquestionably behind its racing efforts at all levels. From the pros to those of us wrenching away in our garages, Mazda stands behind its products and offers grassroots motorsports enthusiasts an unsurpassed level of support.

Contact Info:
IRVINE, CA 92614
Phone: 800-435-2508