– Pontiac, Michigan

Mazda knows a thing, or a million things, about racing. Having sold a lightweight, rear-drive convertible for the last few decades helps, as everyone and their sister has seemingly enjoyed the experience of tracking a Miata.

While any MX-5, from the cheeky NA to the all-new, edgier-than-ever ND, is something I heartily encourage you drive on a track, having one-purpose built for that occupation completely changes the game.

Here, I speak from robust 10 laps or so of experience. A few weeks ago, Mazda was kind enough to invite me (and several other, slower journalists), to drive the newest iteration of the Global MX-5 Cup Race Car at the lovely new M1 Concourse track in Pontiac, Michigan. Constructed as a turn-key entrant in the one-make series of the same name, the Cup Car is Miata distilled into the purest possible form. A lightweight car is stripped of its interior, modified with a racing suspension, a roll cage, a bit more power, and tires so good I’d like to hang one from my office wall.

You can click on the video above to watch me smile my shaggy head while driving the charming Mazda, and get the full story. But the essence of the experience is this: Supreme connection to the road; more grip than I have skill to use up on any of the corners around the track. The Cup Car is stiff, unflappable, perfectly mechanical in feel, and so easy to drive that you’ll hardly remember you’re not in a street car. (Unless you’re as tall as I am, in which case you’ll remember when you try to move your helmet in any direction… but I digress.)

If you’re thinking about getting into MX-5 spec racing or a fan of the Miata road cars, the few minutes spent following along on my brief track adventure should be time well spent. You might also take this time to subscribe to the Motor1 Youtube channel, where the rest of our great video content lives.

Gallery: 2017 Mazda MX-5 Cup Car M1 Concourse Gallery

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Engine 2.0-Liter I4
Output 170 Horsepower (est.)
Transmission 6-Speed Manual
Weight 2,330 Pounds (est.)
Base Price $58,900
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