The field of 17 Mazda MX5 race cars highlight a new level of competition that underlines the premier Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship weekend of racing at Manfeild.
MX5 Racing NZ is a one make series for first generation Mazda MX5s (1989-1994) with 1.6 litre engines.
Class front-runner Markku Braid says the series showcases skill over vehicle performance: “All cars run Hankook Ventus RS4 tyres, standard 1600cc engines, adjustable suspension and full roll cages. Modifications are limited and car setup is very important. Most of all, the series aims to develop and reward driver skill.
“The class has been running for 10 years (first season 2012/13) and is a very affordable way to go racing.
“Our summer series runs across all North Island tracks and we’re working on growing the series in the South Island.
“Our winter championship is very strong, with 4 rounds at the Manawatu Car Club’s winter series at Manfeild. This year we had 30 different drivers compete in the winter series.
Drafting plays a huge part in our racing. The exposed roll cage “punches a big hole” in the air, creating perfect conditions for an aerodynamic slingshot. Sometimes the drivers use Nascar-style bump drafting on the straights which can give two cars a big advantage in straight line speed.
The cars have a Saturday morning practice session that’s followed by qualifying. They have an eight-lap race in the afternoon and a second eight-lap race on Sunday afternoon.