Birmingham, AL (5 March 2017) - The 2017 Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires season got off to a productive start as the INDYCAR-sanctioned series staged two days of Spring Training testing at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend.
Over 50 car and driver combinations took to the 2.38-mile circuit behind the wheel of the Global MX-5 Cup machine to make the most of the significant running time on offer, which generated over 3,300 completed laps of testing through the two-day test.
The drivers will hope to apply the lessons learned into quick lap times when the Global MX-5 Cup returns to the picturesque Alabama circuit on April 21-23 to stage a double-header race weekend as part of the Verizon IndyCar event.
Every driver competing in the series utilizes the same Global MX-5 Cup machine that was built to a homologated spec by Long Road Racing. With a uniformly-sourced car, the drivers’ efforts are the difference maker and the time sheets once again reflected that, with a different driver ending up atop the session in each of the five practice sessions.
Justin Piscitell, Tim Barber, Nikko Reger, Patrick Wilmont, Nathan Sparks and Mark Drennan each closed out a session atop the timesheet, with Reger’s 1:40.0932-seconds flyer setting the benchmark for the weekend.
The test not only provided the chance for the drivers and teams to prepare for the 2017 season, but it was also the first to be run under the new partnership for the Mazda-owned series that will see Andersen Promotions manage the series, with sanctioning and support from INDYCAR.
2016 Global MX-Cup champion Nathanial Sparks was in action as he looks to convert the $200,000 scholarship that he earned with the title last year into a successful title defense. Making his first official appearance was Matt Cresci, who won the 2016 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout and will be among the large crop of rookies who will do battle for the $50,000 scholarship on offer for the highest finishing rookie in 2017.
“We’ve had a lot of planning meetings and conference calls through the off-season to prepare for the 2017 season, and it was great to continue to develop this new partnership wth Andersen and INDYCAR in person this weekend,” said David Cook, Manager, Mazda Motorsports Business Development. “We had an outstanding launch season with the Global MX-5 Cup car last year, so there is a lot of momentum and excitement heading into this season, and this Spring Training was a great way to get things kicked off.”
In addition to a range of media activities and driver briefings led by INDYCAR’s Vince Kremer, who will be the Race Director for the series, the weekend also included a meet and greet reception hosted by the series on Saturday evening as the drivers and crew members had the chance to spend time with INDYCAR, Andersen Promotions, and Motorsports representatives on hand.
“This was a great way for us to kick off the season and our drivers made the most out of the opportunity to test here ahead of the race weekend so it was very productive,” said Keith Dalton, Global MX-5 Cup Series Manager. “It was also a very good way for us to welcome our new crop of rookie drivers, prepare for the season, and continue to develop our working relationships with Andersen and INDYCAR and everyone is looking forward to getting back here next month to start the championship!”
The Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires season will open at Barber Motorsports Park on April 21-23.