Almost as frequently as we’re asked about Cavalier engine swaps and Tempo fender fl ares, we’re opening letters from readers wanting to get started in competitive racing, but unsure how to begin. For those of you who have to fund yourselves (us), the easiest way is through club racing in an organization like SCCA or NASA, or competitive driving schools like Skip Barber’s. And while clubs exist for nearly every popular platform (sorry, Cavy and Tempo owners), many would agree the most convenient car to begin in is a Mazda; specifi cally, an MX-5 Miata. Recently, 2NR was invited to stand in on MAZDASPEED’s annual MX-5 Cup Shootout, an invite-only battle among eight of the aforementioned sanctioning bodies’ winningest amateur racers, for full-ride corporate Mazda backing in the 2009 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup—a roughly $50,000 value, not to mention, an event that feeds directly into professional ranks. The event was simple: contestants were invited to CA’s


 Buttonwillow Raceway, not only to prove their mettle around a track, but also to demonstrate how well they can receive and apply criticism from professional data-acquisitionists, survive interviews by a panel of champion drivers and corporate big-wigs, and assemble a winning sponsorship proposal or business plan. This year’s applicants ranged in age from 14 to 56 years old, represented professions from competitive surfi ng to mechanical engineering, and hailed from all across the country. To say the competition was fi erce wouldn’t even scratch the surface—these were the best of the best amateur racers, each looking (fi ghting) for their “big break”. At the end of a long, cold day in the California desert, after completing dozens of laps around a shortened Buttonwillow Raceway circuit, and graded on PR skills, experience level, technical knowledge (do you know what scrub radius is?), familiarity with the latest technology, and fi nally, driving ability, each competitor was sent away unknowing which was the winner. After hours of crunching numbers and deliberating, 2008 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Champion and Rookie of the Year, Justin Piscitell, was given the green fl ag. Come mid-2009, he’ll be fi ghting for a win again... only this time, one that’ll likely land him in the pro ranks. To fi nd out more about club racing, check the offi cial SCCA site: Visit to fi nd out what it takes to build a spec MX-5, then hit up to get started.

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