Not all racing events are created equal, and in the case of Mazda Philippines and Manila Sports Car Club’s (MSCC) Miata Spec Series, it manages to stand out among other races. The Miata Cup is more than just another race, because what lies behind the curtain of this local racing event is what drives Mazda as a company in the first place.
It all began on June 23, 1991. On that day, the number 55 Mazda 787B crossed the finish line at the Le Mans 24 Hour race to mark a unique achievement—they had become the first Japanese manufacturer to win the world’s most famous endurance race. Not only that, Mazda did it with a totally unique engine that not only captivated fans at the track with its ear-piercing soundtrack but had become a symbol for Mazda’s “never stop challenging spirit”—the rotary engine.
Unknown to many, the 787B’s victory in 1991 was the culmination of 13 years of effort to develop the rotary engine for motorsports. Even before it hit the track, it also guaranteed Mazda’s place on the automotive map. Lured by the promise of simplicity, smoothness, compactness, high RPMs, and high power-to-weight ratio, countless carmakers wanted to use the rotary engine, but only Mazda came up with a design that proved to be reliable.
In the rotary engine’s ultimate form in the 787B, it just required fuel, tires, and one oil top up to lap the Circuit de la Sarthe 362 times faultlessly proving the reliability, efficiency and performance of Mazda’s unique rotary engine technology.
Even as Mazda faced countless hardships in developing the rotary, they continued to focus on the target. This is their “never stop challenging spirit”—that continues to define Mazda and its motorsports activities today.
Mazda remains dedicated to building cars that allow their drivers to celebrate driving, to control them to their heart’s desires, resulting in the MX-5 as the most-raced car in the world. In the Philippines, that ultimate connection between car and driver is experienced in the Manila Sports Car Club (MSCC) Miata Spec Series and the Miata Cup.
Organized by the Manila Sports Car Club, the MSCC Miata Spec Series provides a true turnkey racing experience. With all cars being identical, it becomes a real test of driving skill in a two-heat, ten-lap race. This series uses the fourth-generation MX-5. Using a showroom stock engine and transmission, the suspension and chassis have been modified to extract more grip.
What truly sets apart the Miata Spec Series it represents how Mazda is as an automaker. More than just a way to market cars, the Miata Spec Series celebrates the love for driving. It’s also a representation of the fact that all Mazdas have been built in such a way–from its SUVs to the MX-5 Miata–to be driver’s cars. More importantly, it represents Mazda’s “never stop challenging” spirit, and this is reflected in some of its newest cars, such as the Mazda CX-60 rear-wheel drive (RWD) premium SUV and the continued rebirth of the rotary engine for use in its MX-30 ranger extender electric SUV.
Also celebrating the MX-5 is the Miata Cup, the country’s longest-running sports car racing championship. Organized by the Miata Club of the Philippines (MCP), it brings all four generations of the nimble, lightweight roadster on the track. The Miata Cup splits the grid into five classes based on how fast they can go around the track, ensuring a more level playing field while keeping costs low.
“There are a variety of ways for drivers to interact, to enjoy cars, and to take on the challenge to achieve even more. We, at Mazda Philippines, support a variety of desires that people wish to achieve through their cars,” shares Steven Tan, President and CEO of Mazda Philippines. “Whether it be as a hobby, a source of pride, a way to interact with family, or even realize their dreams, motorsports show the ‘never stop challenging spirit’ of people who celebrate driving.”