The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Cup race car was unveiled in November 2014, ushering in a new generation of beefed-up MX-5 racers that we’ll be seeing a whole lot of in the coming years. Most units of the MX-5 Cup, including the batch that will compete in the 2016 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup, have been stocked with full racing gear. But at least one of them will serve a different purpose, specifically the MX-5 Cup Pace Car that will oversee racing competitions held at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Mazda Motorsports launched the MX-5 Cup Pace Car at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in the weekend of August 15-16, 2015. With its unveiling, the MX-5 Cup Pace Car will follow in a long history of Mazda models that have patrolled the track at Laguna Seca. The Mazda6 has served in this capacity in the past, as has the RX-8, CX-5, and not surprisingly, the previous-generation MX-5.

The new MX-5 Cup now gets that honor, and to mark the occasion, Mazda fitted the plucky little racer with all the necessary digs of a bonafide pace car, including the standard roll cage, racing bucket seats and emergency lights.

Those interested to see the new MX-5 Cup Pace Car in action will get the opportunity when the 2015 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca racing season kicks off on September 11-13, 2015 with the Mazda Road to Indy, and Pirelli World Challenge finals.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda MX-5 Mazda Raceway Pace Car.

  • 2015 Mazda MX-5 Cup Raceway Pace Car
  • Year:
  • Make:
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  • 0-60 time:
    6.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2015 Mazda MX-5 Cup Raceway Pace Car High Resolution Exterior Press Releases
- image 640477

Since the new MX-5 Pace Car was based on the MX-5 Cup racer, the exterior appearance of the pace car received just a handful of modifications to fit its new purpose. Most of the aggressive details were retained from the Cup racer, including the new front splitter and inlets, as well as the side skirts. On the flip side, the center-mounted black hood pins that were so noticeable on the race car have been eliminated.

It’s hard to make out where the emergency lights were put on, but from this particular angle, it does look like they’re sitting on the roll cage. Other than that, most of the changes made to the pace car are of the aesthetic persuasion, most notable the different livery than the stock Cup Racer. In place of all the fancy racing decals, the pace car received prominent graphics detailing it as the “official pace car” of the Laguna Seca raceway.


2015 Mazda MX-5 Cup Racecar Interior
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Note: Interior from 2015 MX-5 Cup Racer shown here.

We don’t see a clear shot of the MX-5 Cup pace car’s interior, but since we know what the car’s official function is, we can surmise that it’s been fully prepped for safety and emergency duties. So don’t expect the cabin to be dressed to the nines like a standard MX-5. Plush amenities like the carpets and the in-dash infotainment system have been taken out, although it does appear to have a passenger seat, unlike the MX-5 Cup racer.

The seats might also be covered in Alcantara, and the custom steering wheel found on the Cup Racer might also be on the pace car version. A first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher should be somewhere in there, same with a control system for the emergency lights and an on-board communications system that’s connected to the circuit’s control tower and paddock to help with instantaneous communication between the pace car driver and the race organizers.


2016 Mazda MX-5 Drivetrain
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Note: Drivetrain from standard 2016 Mazda MX-5 shown here.

Somewhat surprisingly, Mazda Motorsports has yet to unveil the engine specs powering the Mazda MX-5 Cup, so numbers for the MX-5 Pace Car are still a mystery as well. It’s been nine months since the MX-5 Cup was revealed, so it is a little curious that Mazda hasn’t said what the car’s performance numbers are going to be. The only thing we know at this point is that it will use the same 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G high-compression four-cylinder engine found in U.S.-spec models. Whatever the output of the engine is, we do know that all of it will be sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission.


2015 Mazda MX-5 Cup Racecar High Resolution Exterior
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Note: 2015 Mazda MX-5 Cup Racer shown here.

The MX-5 Cup now takes the pace-car mantle, and should be the most race-ready of all the Mazdas that have served as pace cars in Laguna Seca. The car itself looks primed and ready for its duties, and with so many races lined up at Laguna Seca this season, it’ll certainly fit in with all of the race cars competing on the track, at least far more than the old CX-5 pace SUV ever did.

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Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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Press Release

Mazda Motorsports used the annual car-fest known as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to roll out the first production 2016 Mazda MX-5 Cup race car. This particular vehicle is guaranteed to lead races as it will be the newest pace car in the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca fleet of Mazda safety vehicles.

2015 Mazda MX-5 Cup Raceway Pace Car High Resolution Exterior Press Releases
- image 640477

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Cup race car follows a 26-year history of the MX-5 Miata in motorsports. The first race cars to be sold to customers will be used in the 2016 Global MX-5 Cup, known in the U.S. as the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup. With the 2016 racing season still many months away, placing the first production race car into pace car duty allows Mazda to gather additional durability data while showcasing it in front of one of the most influential motorsports crowds of the year.

“For Mazda, this weekend is the perfect blend of past, present, and future,” noted John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations. “We are celebrating our motorsports heritage on the track with our vintage race cars. We are showcasing our current line-up of race-inspired products in our consumer display in the paddock, and with this pace car, we are giving a glimpse into the 2016 racing season when the latest MX-5 Miata will be racing in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

The graphics design was completed at the Mazda Design studio in Irvine, California, and applied by StickyFingers Design.

The 2015 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca racing season will conclude on September 11-13 with the Mazda Road to Indy, and Pirelli World Challenge finales.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at

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