# FriendsOfMX5 Or how to go from testing a Mazda MX-5 Cup to signing the 1 million Miata

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Castellolí again, again the Mazda MX-5 Cup 2016, the racing version of the Mazda MX-5, lightened, with a new set-up, roll cage … you know, you already know it, we have talked to you thoroughly about this Miata with extra wasabi, but … What do we do again behind your wheel? Mazda has called us up, at stake the possibility of running in Laguna Seca. Wow. No, it won’t be easy, but along the way we’ll stop our signature on the 1 millionth unit of the Mazda MX-5.

“Friends of MX-5”. This initiative is responsible for being boarded on a plane on the way to Barcelona this Friday. “What is this” Friends of MX-5? “ A program that Mazda has prepared to reward the loyal followers and owners of the Mazda MX-5 with activities of all kinds. Activities among which is this face to face with the Mazda MX-5 Cup, this possibility of winning a ticket to run the Mazda MX-5 Cup in Laguna Seca. To achieve this we will have to face a series of tests, competing on the track, in the simulator and even putting our physique to the test outside the circuit, facing pilots from different European Mazda MX-5 cups, against pilots selected by the brand. against other journalists …

Dinner at the foot of the port of Barcelona, ​​the sun sets between the yachts, tomorrow a hard day awaits us.

We meet again with the Mazda MX-5 Cup but this time the meeting is less friendly, there is a great prize at stake:


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7 in the morning. The phone in the room rings like an alarm clock. A light breakfast and I head to Castellolí. As I get on the bus, I take a look at the other participants. Helmet bags, Alpinestars boots … a good level is palpable. Travel with me Dani Cuadrado, surely you have read him in Highway.

Divided into groups they await us a series of tests where we will be scored by instructors of the brand. It is not just about being fast with the racing car, we also have to face the simulator, physical tests, drift …

I fear for the physical examination and for the simulator, the rest do not concern me, in fact I consider them as a good way to compensate for the aforementioned tests. Castellolí burns, it is first thing in the morning, they invite us to store our belongings in lockers. This begins.

A British journalist, another from the Netherlands … We start with the drift. The standard car, controls disabled, a good handful of cones delineating a series of curves in which to put the Miata sideways and a slick, polished floor.


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Gas stroke, steering, looking far away to face the next turn …

Three examiners evaluate us. From the car and located in one of the curves. The Miata behaves perfectly. He lets himself be guided, he reacts really well.

A few laps later, after having all passed through the slippery track and without knowing our scores, with a drone hovering over us, in charge of recording everything, we headed to the next point, a small circuit where we will roll again with the street car.

The main course, the Mazda MX-5 Cup, awaits us at the end of the day … But before and after having sentenced the test with the street car, we have to sweat the fat drop, with a reflex test first and with a career then. We change, we put on a sports shirt with a “Friends of MX-5” engraved on the chest and we go for a run in the Castellolí sun …

I put up with the guy, that way, in the physical tests and indeed, as expected, I make a test disaster in the simulator. I can’t get involved as if I was really racing a real car, realistic as the simulator is … Hopefully I hope to make up for this with the real Mazda MX-5 Cup. Yes, the time has come to hit the track.


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I still have quite “fresh” references. It’s only been a few months since I last rode on this track and to top it off I did a Miata too. Even so, the organization gives us a first lap with an instructor at the wheel, giving us indications of the ideal gear for each area, of which curve to sacrifice …

My turn comes. I put on a helmet and gloves and settle into the Miata’s bucket. Next to me an “examiner” again, we exchange a few initial greetings and I jump on the track.

From the exhaust comes a delicious melody. A hum without any filter that I would like to see in the Mazda MX-5 street. “Brrrrrrrrrm”… second, brake, right hand drive, full throttle …


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Again that feeling. The feeling of immediate communion with the car. The same that you find in the street car, taken, of course, to a new level. The rumbling of the exhaust fills the entire cabin, a cabin that is perfectly framed by the roll cage. One more curve …

Road car rocking is non-existent on this variant, biting the curve with a devilish firmness to the blow of a direction that feels really firm, which transmits confidence and practically everything that happens when our slicks, a key piece, these slicks, in the commendable performance improvement of this car compared to the street one.

15, 20 horses. Some time ago one of the technicians in charge of the development of this car told me that the racing Miata gained up to 20 horses with the changes introduced, an increase in power that is totally overshadowed by the good work of its chassis, by the good distribution of weights … More power? Of course it would not be bad, but without a doubt much of the philosophy of this car would be lost, that docility …


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First laps, return to the pits and jump to the rear car to repeat the operation, a new succession of laps, in the eyes of a new examiner. I sharpen the straight.

Excellent gear feel, good brake work … It is a great school car for those who are thinking of racing, I admit that I would love to see a national edition of the Mazda MX-5 Cup or at least some unit racing through our circuits …

I feel that I have improved substantially compared to the first laps and although they are not timing us I feel much faster. From Mazda they have told us that They are going to look at our way of drawing, in our attitude towards the controls of the car not in our times.

Car change, monitor change, we repeat the process a few more times, just over 20 laps of the track …


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I would not get off the MX-5 Cup … but I have to. A quick soda to regain strength and quell the heat and exchange some impressions with Daniel. We are both convinced of our good role on the circuit, will the rest of the tests have penalized us a lot?

A bus picks us up. I fall asleep on the way to the hotel. At night a dinner awaits us with all the participants in which the first chosen ones will be revealed.

No, we did not win the “jackpot” but instead we planted our signature on the 1 millionth Mazda MX-5 unit


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The Mazda Space welcomes us again and I say come back because it has become the main stage in which the latest presentations to the press of the brand have been articulated. The Mazda2, the Mazda CX-3, the Mazda MX-5 … Inside we are welcomed this time by the three previous generations of the Mazda MX-5 in addition to meeting the Mazda Koeru Concept. They serve us champagne and … what is that in the middle?

Mazda wanted to put the icing on the cake to this meeting by bringing the one millionth unit of the Mazda MX-5 between the tables where, later, we will dine. Wow. Also tell me that we will be able to sign it. Yes, plant our signature at unit one million. As the owner of a first-generation Mazda MX-5, you can imagine how excited I am.

They call us from the stage. It’s the time for the truth. Mazda is going to name the 10 finalists that, tomorrow Sunday, they will meet in a final classification to go to Laguna Seca. Little by little the list is being completed and effectively, neither Dani nor I will be in the tests tomorrow …


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It was not a bad plan to go to Laguna Seca to race with a Mazda MX-5 Cup, but the level was very high and although our work on the track, both with the street MX-5 and with the MX-5 Cup, it was good we were penalized by the physical tests and the simulator.

We sentenced dinner. Anecdotes with the rest of the guests and back to the hotel … tomorrow morning it’s time to go home. Before time yes, but of course the experience could not be better. I have been able to get back at the controls of the MX-5 Cup and my signature is planted in an important piece of the history of the brand.

A good consolation prize …

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