The MX5 will take on the might of the supercar brands in the British GT Championship in 2012. Sponsored by SMH Fleet Solutions, Mazda Financial Services and Jota Aviation, the Mazda MX5 GT will compete in the GT4 class against Lotus, Aston Martin, Ginetta and Nissan.
Following a development year in 2011, which saw the Mazda MX5 GT run a successful campaign in the Britcar Production GTN Championship, the competitiveness of the car was forcefully demonstrated at the final race of the season at Brands Hatch. The nimble Mazda finished fifth overall, trading places with the more powerful Porsches, Ferraris and Lotus.
Owen Mildenhall and Mark Ticehurst, Mazda MX5 GT race drivers
The 2012 Mazda MX5 GT4 weighs in at 1,000kg, carrying 150kg of ballast, with a power output of 315bhp from its 2.0-litre engine. The Mazda engine is mated to a paddle shift sequential six-speed Hewland gearbox giving a 0-60mph time of just three seconds with a top speed of 160mph, making this the fastest and most powerful MX-5 in the world.
The outstanding handling that has made the MX5 a favourite amongst drivers looking for an outstanding drive experience has been further developed through the race programme in 2011 with the help of MIRA, the Motor Industry Research Agency. The MX5 GT4 demonstrates high levels of stability under all loads making the car easy and fun to drive, an important feature for the longer endurance races.
The British GT Championship is nine rounds over seven weekends. The first race was at Oulton Park over Easter. For more information about the competition and details of the rest of the series click on the logo:
The latest issue of Auto Express magazine has taken a look into the future of sports cars around the £20,000 price point. They see three major contenders emerging over the next 3 years. Spearheading the group is the fourth generation MX5, with stiff competition from the new Toyota MR2 and the Renault Alpine roadster. There is no word on how the MR2 would look as yet, but the Alpine may make its first appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
Renault Alpine Roadster Concept Car
As these excellent Auto Express images show, the new MX5 will feature the same classic roadster proportions as the current car, but with sharper styling inspired by the Takeri Concept first seen at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2011.
The Alpine’s bold design takes its lead from the Renault DeZir Concept, revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2010, and will feature the most extreme interpretation yet of the new family face.
For all the details on these new sports cars, check out this week’s Auto Express, out on 21 March 2012. You can also take advantage of an introductory subscription offer of 6 issues for a pound by clicking on the logo:
The grass is always greener… Last week I wrote that the Sky coverage of the 2012 F1 season heralded a refreshing change; how wrong can you be? The new boys on the block lack sparkle, enthusiasm and any sense of fun whilst the BBC team are reinvigorated and seem really determined to stay on top. Right from the familiar sounds of Fleetwood Mac, which has stayed with the BBC, the opening credits were streets ahead of Sky and they were followed with a fabulous parody of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues by Jake Humphrey and David Coulthard , which set the scene for the start of the 2012 Formula One season. Just take a look at this:
Congratulations BBC, I am sorry I doubted you. Your coverage so far is absolutely outstanding. Murdoch eat your heart out!
The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy in the world, having been first competed for in 1851 in a race around the Isle of Wight by British and American schooners. Today the competition has become a global event and this time it is being run in huge catamarans.
The race is divided into three phases, firstly an international series in AC45 boats to enable countries to develop the catamarans and learn how to sail them. This will be followed by the Louis Vuitton Trophy competition, also in AC45s, to decide the contestants for the final phase, the America’s Cup event proper, which will be sailed in catamarans twice the size of the AC45.
The British leg of the first international phase was held in Plymouth Sound in September of last year in very heavy weather and this video shows some of the excitement:
The AC45 is a development catamaran, but nonetheless it has phenomenal performance and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. This second film gives some of the statistics about the boat’s performance and size:
The finals of the America’s Cup will be held in San Francisco in 2013, but in real monster catamarans. The AC72 is 72 ft overall with a wing sail height of 130 ft and an eleven man crew. This picture gives an idea of the sheer enormity of the carbon fibre built machine. America’s Cup boats have always been at the forefront of technology but this time they are truly astonishing craft.
If you would like to learn more about the event and see lots more action packed shots, just click on the trophy: