Mazda launches racing MX-5

Mazda has launched a lightweight race car to challenge the likes of Aston Martin, Porsche, Lotus and BMW at the MSA British Endurance Championship 2011.

Based on the world’s most popular two-seat roadster, the Mazda MX-5, the Mazda MX-5 GT features several important changes to the road-going model.

These include a new lightweight body weighing in at just 850kg thanks to carbon doors and polycarbonate windows, a tweaked suspension, a new six-speed sequential gearbox and a roll cage.

However, Mazda says it will maintain ‘great handling’ and be ‘huge fun to drive’ when it finally takes to the track.

This is in keeping with road-going versions of the Mazda MX-5, which holds the world record for two-seat sports car sales.

The Mazda MX-5 has been on sale for 21 years in various generations and over 900,000 have been sold. The roadster, available as a soft- or hard-top convertible, is particularly popular in the UK, which accounts for one in ten Mazda MX-5 sales.

The launch of the racing Mazda coincides with the introduction of a special edition Mazda MX-5 Kendo in the UK.

Available in ‘Dolphin Grey’ body colour for the first time, the new limited edition comes in 1.8i soft-top or 2.0i roadster coupe variations.

The soft-top version is priced at £19,255 and the roadster coupe costs £22,320. Both arrived in UK Mazda dealerships at the beginning of March 2011.

“Special Edition models of Mazda MX-5 have always been eagerly received by UK consumers and I’m sure the two new Kendo models will trigger a strong wave of fresh interest in our long-running star performer,” said Mark Cameron, Sales Director, Mazda UK, after the launch of the new models.

Unfortunately, the racing version will not be joining the Kendo on sale in the UK, but it will race in nine events between March and November, starting at Silverstone on 26 March.