Pirelli World Challenge is kicking off its 2016 season at Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas. This series, which comprises of 500-plus horsepower exotic supercars, 100 horsepower econoboxes, and everything in between, pits the world’s largest auto manufacturers against each other among seven different racecar classes. This weekend, the Touring Car (TC), Touring Car A (TCA) and Touring Car B (TCB) categories bring BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Mini, Nissan, and Porsche to the fight. However, Mazda delivers a huge presence this weekend with 24 drivers entered among these three touring car classes. Seeing that the new Mazda MX-5 Cup series this year utilizes the latest ND model MX-5, many owners of the previous generation MX-5 Cup cars have found a new home with Pirelli World Challenge in the TCA class. With 50 cars total filling the touring car classes, this will certainly make for some exciting racing. Tune in to Pirelli World Challenge this weekend to see how the results play out.
Text by Cameron Parsons // Photos courtesy of Mazda
Twenty-four Mazda race cars are ready for the season opening rounds of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, on March 3-5. Independent Mazda racers will be challenging for drivers championships in the Touring Car (TC), Touring Car A (TCA) and Touring Car B (TCB) classes.
John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations said, “Thanks to great customer support, our Mazda entries have doubled since last year. With the launch of our new Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, for the fourth generation MX-5, the TCA class looks to be the ideal place to race the third-generation MX-5 Cup cars.”
Notes from the Mazda paddock include:
• With 24 entries in the three touring car classes, Mazda outnumbers competitors BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Kia, Mini, Nissan and Porsche.
• 2015 PWC race winners Ernie Francis Jr., Adam Poland and Joey Jordan are returning, each with an eye on the TC Drivers Championship.
• Adam Poland and his family team have moved their shop to Dallas and have rebranded the EASTex Motorsports team as Doghouse Performance.
• Led by the husband-and-wife team of John and Dinah Weisberg, BERG Racing has grown to a three-car effort with the addition of driver Dr. Jay Salinsky.
• Former PWC TC Championship-winning team Atlanta Motorsports Group returns to the series full-time for 2016 with former Mazda Road to 24 Shootout winners Joey Bickers and Patrick Gallagher in the TCA class.
• After scoring the final five TCB wins in 2015, Joey Jordan is moving up to the TC class with Hale Motorsports.
• The youngest driver in the field will be 15-year-old rookie Henry Morse.
• Former Teen Mazda Challenge racer Will Rodgers will be making his professional race debut with Hale Motorsports.
• Several of the Mazda race cars at COTA will be carrying artwork for the Austin Humane Society. Thanks to Roger Beasley Mazda, the Austin Humane Society (AHS) will be raffling off a 2016 Mazda MX-5. Additionally, the AHS will have shelter staff at the track selling tickets. www.austinhumanesociety.org.
• The 2016 season will conclude at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Car # (Class) Driver/Hometown Team/Car/Sponsor
# 5 (TC) John A Weisberg BERG Racing Mazda MX-5 Power Brake / REDCOM /
Webster, NY Red Line Oil / Powerflex / Mann’s / MCS
# 14 (TCB) Henry Morse Hale Motorsports Mazda2
Redondo Beach, CA MorseGPS powered by CalAmp / Rolling Hills Prep School
# 16 (TCA) Jay Salinsky BERG Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup
Miami, FL Fuse Lenses/Regenexx Cayman/Red Line Oil/REDCOM
# 17 (TC) Randy Hale Hale Motorsports Mazda MX-5
Haddam, CT TransAero, inc
# 21 (TCA) Drake Kemper Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup
Toluca Lake, CA Parliament Dallas
# 22 (TCA) Kevin Anderson Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup
Huntington NY Tech Sport Racing COTA
# 23 (TCA) Eric Powell Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup
Orlando, FL Tech Sport Racing
# 33 (TC) Adam Poland Doghouse Performance Mazda MX-5
Ft. Worth, TX Edge Addicts / Majestic Pet Products
# 36 (TCA) Daniel Williams S.A.C racing Mazda MX-5 Cup
Scottsbluff, NE Daniel Williams
# 37 (TCB) Blake Thompson Black Armor Helmets Mazda 2
# 47 (TC) Joey Jordan Hale Motorsports Mazda MX-5
Fallbrook,CA TransAero, inc
# 49 (TCA) Joey Bickers Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5 Cup
# 50 (TC) Dinah Weisberg BERG Racing Mazda MX-5
Webster NY REDCOM Laboratories/Red Line Oil/Power Brake
# 54 (TC) Patrick Gallagher Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5
Thornville, OH Howard Concrete Pumping
# 55 (TCB) James Wilson Black Armor Helmets Mazda 2
Kyle, TX Black Armor Helmets
# 64 (TC) Austin Snader Snader Racing Mazda MX-5
Fulshear, TX Mazdaspeed/SR Enterprises
# 65 (TCB) Will Rodgers Hale Motorsports Mazda2
Murrieta, CA Solvang Brewing Co. / Kelly Benefit Strategies / Family 1
# 68 (TCB) Ted Hough Breathless Racing Mazda 2
# 69 (TC) Anthony Geraci S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5
Glen Head, NY S.A.C. Racing / European Granite & Marble Group, Inc.
# 70 (TCA) Elivan Goulart S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup
Shelton, CT S.A.C. Racing / SCDA1.com
# 73 (TC) Daniel Moen S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5
Rindge, NH S.A.C. Racing
# 74 (TCA) Matthew Fassnacht S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup
Madison, NJ S.A.C. Racing / Equity Residences
# 75 (TCB) Steve Taake Black Armor Helmets Mazda 2
# 98 (TC) Ernie Francis, Jr. Breathless Racing Mazda MX-5
The 2016 Pirelli Wold Challenge (TC/TCA/TCB) Race Schedule:
March 3-5 Circuit of The Americas Austin, Texas
May 19-22 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
June 23-26 Road America Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
July 29-30 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio
Aug 12-14 Utah Motorsports Campus Tooele, Utah
Oct 7-9 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey, California
Each event is a double-header, with two races per weekend, for a 12-race season.
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports and MAZDASPEED
Mazda Motorsports and MAZDASPEED boasts the most comprehensive racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder which culminates in the Mazda Prototype team that races in the top level of IMSA sports car racing in North America. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar system in open-wheel racing, which includes USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights racing categories with Mazda power. The new Global MX-5 Cup car makes its debut in 2016, with affordable, turnkey race cars. In the grassroots categories, more Mazdas road race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Since 2000, Mazda has been the title sponsor of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the only racetrack operated as a non-profit in support of local charities and civic organizations.
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com Motorsports information can be found at www.mazdamotorsports.com – See more at: http://www.mazdamotorsports.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/DisplayRacerStoryView?source=STORY&uniqueId=8457&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&button=y#sthash.Vy5nDtf7.dpuf