MX-5 Cup at Daytona Was Outrageous As Usual

mx5 cup cars racing at daytona 2024 race one
MX-5 Cup at Daytona Was Outrageous As Usual IMSA on NBC

With the Rolex 24 at Daytona set to kick off yet another season of the IMSA SportsCar Championship this weekend, there’s already plenty of motorsports festivities underway. Take the 2024 Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup series for example, which started its year off with a back-and-forth 11-car battle for the lead around Daytona’s famous high banks.

MX-5 Cup is a single make spec series centered around the Mazda Miata, with current race cars being based on the ND2 generation road car. The vehicles are built on the standard assembly line in Hiroshima, before being sent to Flis Performance in Daytona Beach, Florida for race prep. Over 250 bespoke motorsports parts are installed, including a full cage with door bars, FIA-approved buckets and harnesses, upgraded cooling components, a six-speed SADEV sequential gearbox, and a Bosch-supplied motorsports ECU among others. While BFGoodrich has supplied tires for the series in the past, Michelin has stepped up to supply the series with slicks this year.

The series made its first appearance at Daytona back in 2021, and has made for exciting racing in Florida ever since. This year’s first race started with a pack of 28 cars, but the race would ultimately break up into two major groups. By the time the final laps approached, a group of 11 cars found themselves tied together in a train. Driver’s Tyler Gonzalez, Gresham Wagner, Jeremy Fletcher, and Julian DaCosta led the fight for first, bump drafting and switching places with regularity through the final lap. DaCosta led coming out of the Le Mans Chicane, but the rookie quickly found two trains of drivers behind ready to strike. With the finish line closing in, Wagner would get a good push from Gonzalez, securing the win by just 0.060-second. Fletcher would round out the top three, but keep your eyes on the madness taking place behind him.

Spec racing is an awesome display of driver talent, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than the MX-5 Cup series. There’s a reason that the Miata is the most raced vehicle in the world after all.

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