In the United States, Mazda may be facing steep losses and announced a plan to trim its United States workforce earlier this month, but over in the United Kingdom, Mazda has invested money into motor sport and announced their iconic MX-5 roadster will enter the British GT Championship in 2012 as the MX-5 GT.
The car will race in the GT4 class against well-established competitors such as Lotus, Aston Martin, Ginetta, and Nissan. The Mazda MX-5 GT race car weighs only 1 000 kg (with a 150 kg ballast) and has a power output of 231 kW from its 2.0-litre engine, which is mated to a paddle shift sequential 6-speed gearbox. 0 – 100 km/h takes only 3 seconds, while the top speed is 256 km/h.
The Mazda team is not entirely new to British GT racing. It participated in several races last season in order to gather data about its race car. The MX-5 GT’s competitiveness earned it fifth place overall in 2011, because while it’s less powerful than many of its competitors, it uses less fuel and is easier on tyres, which helps reduce the amount of time it spends in the pits.
Although the company lacks the experience that many of its competitors have gained over the past couple of years, it is confident that it will be able to come out on top at the end of the season. “We are looking forward to taking on the supercar brands this year and winning,” commented Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director for Mazda UK. “Last year was a valuable development year when we established the strengths of the car and then developed the power and handling to best exploit those strengths. We are excited and optimistic about our first year in British GT and fully expect the Mazda MX-5 to upset a few established marques.”
The 2012 Championship conists of 9 rounds and will begin on April 7th at Oulton Park.