Great writeup in the Sports Extra section of Autosport yesterday about the new Exocet Race Car and dedicated UK race series for 2012.
Organizers of the successful Ma5da championship have announced a new spaceframe category based on the Mazda MX5, set to launch next season. The MX150R utilizes kit car manufacturer MEV’s Exocet, which runs the 1800cc MX5 engine, tuned to produce 150bhp. Ma5da boss Jonathan Blake, who gave the car its race debut in the Nippon Challenge at Castle Combe last month, described the car as a “cross between a Caterham, a Westfield and an Ariel Atom”.
The plan is that the 850kg car will provide a quicker alternative to the Mk1 (which uses the 1600cc engine) and Mk3 (two-liter) MX5 races Blake already runs.
“We don’t use the 1800cc MX5 engine but there are a lot of donor cars out there,” said Blake, who confirmed the basic kit will cost around 3000 + VAT. Including the donor car, the final cost could be around 6000, and the series will use the same control parts as the Mk1 MX5 series.
“There was an opportunity to produce a spaceframe car, which is lighter and faster, and you don’t have to find an MX5 body,” added Blake. “There’s a big market out there for spaceframe cars and it fits the economic climate.”
Blake believes the series will provide a home for MX5 Mk1 competitors, particularly when parts become scarce for the Japanese sports car. “We thought the Mk1 entries had peaked last year, but it’s just growing and growing in popularity and we have 120 registered competitors this year,” said Blake.
“Eventually there will be a shortage of Mk1s – I think in the next five or six years. If that’s going to deplete and you haven’t got a something to take its place you’ve missed the boat. Everything is expanding. You can’t just rest on your laurels and I think there’s room for a third series, something a bit different. We have 25 people keen and interested, some of whom are Mk1 racers.”
Blake will continue to develop the car in the Nippon Challenge this year, and MX5 frontrunners Tom Roche and ROb Boston are likely to drive too. Blake also plans to run two examples in the 12-hour enduro at Snetterton in November “to demonstrate its reliability.”
Having raced the car, Blake believes the MX150R will provide good competition. “It drives exactly like an MX5 Mk1, but faster,” he said. “It’ll be very close racing. It’s very easy to control and to work on.”
Because Ma5da already has championship status for its MX5 series, the MX150Rs could be run as a sub-class, with separate grids, to enable drivers to compete for points straight away. Blake believes 20-25 entries is a reasonable goal for the field next season.
Originally published June 9, 2011 by [Autosport]