Skip Barber announces 2009 MAZDASPEED Challenge schedule, car upgrades

Wednesday, December 03, 2008 LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Skip Barber Racing School LLC today announced its 2009 MAZDASPEED Challenge schedule, a 12-race championship that begins in early May. All races in the MAZDASPEED Challenge will be contested in newly-upgraded Skip Barber Mazda MX-5 Cup racecars.

“In addition to a better variety of tracks in the series, there will be some pretty significant improvements to our Mazda MX-5 Cup racecars” said Skip Barber vice president of racing Todd Snyder. “The goal is to get the performance level closer to the MX-5 racecars run in the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup professional series while retaining their utility as a teaching tool,” Snyder added.

Upgrades slated for 2009 include an improved Mazda 6-speed transmission with internal reinforcements in critical areas, Sachs four-way adjustable coil-over dampers wrapped with higher-rate Eibach springs, plus stronger front hubs with larger bearing radii to handle the increased wheel loads. These changes, along with a switch to BFGoodrich g-Force R1 DOT street-legal racing tires, will allow Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge MX-5s to run similar lap times to those cars that compete in the professional Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup.

A further upgrade of the Mazdaspeed Challenge MX-5 is the addition of an AiM Sports MXL race data acquisition system in all racecars. The AiM dash provides in-car real and predictive lap timing, road and engine speed, plus shift lights. In addition, the system logs lap times, rpm’s, gear position, lateral G’s, wheel speed, and inputs from up to eight additional sensors. This data can then be overlaid on a track map for coaching purposes and can even be downloaded and reviewed at home using AiM’s no-cost Race Studio software.

The 2009 MAZDASPEED Challenge opens at Virginia International Raceway in early May and concludes at Lime Rock Park in October with the inaugural Skip Barber Festival of Speed where it will join the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda and the Skip Barber F2000 Summer Race Series for their respective season finales.

In between are events at historic tracks like Watkins Glen International Raceway and Road America. All six Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge race weekends include two races per weekend, plus practice, qualifying, Skip Barber coaching and hospitality services. The series offers both a Championship group and a Masters group for drivers over 40 years old. The winner of the Championship group will receive an invitation from Mazda USA to compete in its MX-5 Cup Shoot-out, whose winner will receive a factory-supported ride in the 2009 Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, valued at $50,000.

The MAZDASPEED Challenge, launched in 2007, is patterned after the Skip Barber F2000 Race Series, which is the largest and oldest continuously operating “arrive and drive” amateur championship in North America.

2009 Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge Summer Series schedule
Six double-race weekends

Rounds 1 & 2, May 2-3, Virginia International Raceway
Rounds 3 & 4, May 23-24, Watkins Glen International Raceway
Rounds 5 & 6, June 12-13, Lime Rock Park
Rounds 7 & 8, July 4-5, Road America
Rounds 9 & 10, August 22-23, Road America
Rounds 11 & 12, October 9-10, Lime Rock Park (with BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda and Skip Barber F2000 Summer Series)

Skip Barber Racing

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