Getting Started in MX-5 Racing
MX-5s are a common sight at race events around Australia, and indeed around the world, because they offer a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive well-balanced package. The MX-5 is track capable out of the showroom with decent suspension and brakes, and an engine that can be competitive with only minor modifications.
The information presented here has been compiled to help the budding MX-5 racer navigate the maze of racing opportunities and regulatory requirements.
Please independently verify the requirments for your car and driver.
This page is intended as a guide only and we take no responsibility for its accuracy or currency. It is essential you confirm for yourself what is required of you and your vehicle by the event organiser and appropriate licencing bodies in order to compete. YOU MUST satisfy their requirements to compete. It is equally important YOU are satisfied with your preparedness and level of safety protection. If you are in doubt or have any questions, ASK!
There are two primary licencing bodies for circuit racing in Australia.
CAMS has better recognition, offers greater flexibility, and is the Australian representative of the FIA (the International Motoring Body). AASA offers an alternate to CAMS at select events that are run under a AASA permit. AASA Licences are not recognised at events run under a CAMS permit.
CAMS have made their licences more accessible. A budding MX-5 Racer can choose between a Provisional Circuit (PC) and a Provisional Clubman Circuit (PCC) licence.
Either licence will require a Circuit Racing Licence Lecture to be completed (can be online) and an Observed Licence Test (OLT) to be undertaken, along with a comprehensive medical examination. The OLT is not necessary if you have competed in five CAMS Multi-Car Sprint (supersprint) or Regularity events OR competed in two CAMS Tarmac Rally events within the last 24 months.
A CAMS PC Licence costs $490 per annum, and allows participation in racing to a National Series level
A CAMS PCC Licence costs $310 per annum, and enables participation in racing up to a State Championship and Historics level (sufficient for Prod Sports racing)
A PC or PCC licence can be used indefinitely (provided you compete at least once every 4 years). Upgrading to a National Circuit or National Clubman Circuit then requires competing in 3 CAMS races within the previous 2 years, and spending a day as a trackside official at a race event.
AASA events require either a National Race Licence or "approved equivalent". An AASA National Licence can be obtained at a cost of $150 per annum, and requires a comprehensive medical examination. Unless you have previously held an AASA or CAMS racing licence you will need to have participated in a minimum of three sprint format events.
Car Logbook / Passport
For CAMS race and rally events, all competing vehicles must be presented with a Logbook, which enables identification of the vehicle competing. A CAMS Logbook costs $105.
For AASA race and rally events, a vehicle Passport is required as a cost of $50. This pertains to your particular vehicle, and records identifying features such as type of vehicle, colour and VIN. The passport must be submitted at scrutineering for all race events.
You should always ensure your maximum safety is provided for, and that of other competitors. You can do so by complying with all mandated safety standards, and should endeavour to exceed them where ever possible. DO conduct your own research to determine ways in which you can maximise your safety. DO NOT skimp on safety equipment, this should be where your dollars are directed first and foremost.
Prerequisites to your safe participation in a race event are adequate preparation and thorough pre-race checks of the vehicle and driver's equipment. Develop a rigorous pre-race routine to ensure you are always prepared.
The safety requirements common to both CAMS and AASA race events are:
- Roll cage (CAMS) or Rollover Protection (AASA) – minimum required is compliant half-cage
- Race seat
- Safety harness
- Stickers identifying battery location, tow points, race number
- Tow hooks (or tow strap hook)
- Battery isolation or kill switch to isolate the battery and electrical circuit
- Two separate means of securing the bonnet (bonnet pins)
- Race suit (minimum two layer suit of FIA 1986 standard)
- Gloves and footwear - must be FIA standard
- Flame-retardant underwear and balaclava are not mandatory but are recommended
- Helmet – minimum AS1698. Note this includes motorbike helmets, and open face helmets. Unlike motor-racing helmets, motorbike helmets are generally not flame resistant. A full face helmet is recommended, as is an "A" level helmet designed specifically for motorsport.
- Frontal head restraint is not mandatory but an FIA standard device is recommended
There are a number of racing series available for MX-5s to compete in. Which series you choose will ultimately determine what race licence is required. Note that whilst AASA events generally accept a CAMS licence of a comparable level, CAMS events do not accept AASA licences.
Events available for MX-5s to compete in include:
The MX-5 CUP has been created to provide an annual competition featuring low-cost, competitive, good spirited MX-5 racing. It is intended to foster the development of MX-5 racing and encourage new entrants to the sport. Newcomers will be provided support and assistance, and competitors will be expected to adopt a gentlemanly approach to them under race conditions. There are five different classes in the competition based on laptimes achieved by the drivers. Most rounds are organised by Motor Racing Australia (MRA) and starting in 2017, two rounds are organised by the MX-5 Club of NSW included in our track day program. Either a AASA National Racing Licence and Vehicle Passport or CAMS Circuit Racing Licence and CAMS log book is required. Website Link
Wakefield Park NSW
|$230 or $260 per round|
"Production" or "Marque" sports cars are the basis for the Prod Sports series which is run under the auspices of CAMS. Development of the modern production sports car has seen exciting cars like Mazda MX-5, Toyota MR2, Nissan 200SX, Lotus Elise, BMW Z3, MGF, Honda S2000, join established stars from Alfa Romeo, Austin Healey, Datsun, Triumph, Lotus, MG, Jaguar and Porsche. PSCRAA grids feature pure sports cars of greatly varied marques. The inclusion of low volume production sports cars has further enhanced variety and competition. Prod Sports hold a series of four national enduros, and four NSW based sprint rounds each year. A CAMS licence and logbook is required. Website Link
Phillip Island VIC
|$380 upwards per round|
Motor Racing Australia (MRA) was formed in 2005 to create a cost effective route to racing for all types of Minis. Since then, MRA has introduced Super TTs (previously Combined Sedans), Sports Sedans and a variety of other categories including MX-5s, Superkarts, and the latest category additions of Excels and Pulsars. MRA continues to operate cost effective and friendly motorsport, whilst maintaining a high level of safety and communication with competitors. The events generally consist of three sprint races per category in one day, although some events such as the AASA championships comprise a full weekend of racing. MX-5s compete in the Super TT races and the MX-5 races. Website Link
|AASA or CAMS||Wakefield Park NSW||$230 per round|
|The FoSC was originally founded to promote "serious amateur" sports car competition but soon broadened to include drivers of all classes of competition cars interested in enjoying their motor sport rather than win-at-all-costs motor racing. Their aim has always been "to occupy the space between car-club supersprinters at one end and well-heeled elitists at the other". FoSC events now include races for Historic & Invited Racing Cars, Historic & Invited Touring Cars and Historic & Invited Sports Cars, Sidecars and Regularity events. Many of the competitors – cars and drivers – are historic and there is an expectation of a more gentlemanly approach to the racing. FOSC meetings comprise one day and full weekend events. Website Link|
|AASA or CAMS||Wakefield Park NSW
Sydney Motorsport Park NSW
|from $180 for one day meetings|
The racing series that MX-5s can compete in predominantly use the CAMS vehicle classifications as the basis for categorising and classifying competing vehicles. MX-5s fall into the Sports Car category and generally compete as Group 2B or Group 2F vehicles. It is important to appreciate that these classes are very different to the supersprint classes.
Group 2F Production Sports Cars
The 2F class provides less freedom, limiting mechanicals largely to those available on production MX-5s. Within these parameters there is the ability to make some changes to running gear and suspension, and change such components as intakes and exhausts, cams, ECU, perform some headwork, and use treaded tyres such as semi-slicks.
Group 2B Marque Sports Cars
2B cars are allowed to use componentry from any vehicle in the Mazda line up, and run aeros and slicks. Notwithstanding the requirement to use as the foundation a Mazda engine block, there is more freedom to alter equipment and use peripherals from other manufacturers.
Group 2A Sports Cars, Open and Closed / Sports Cars, Closed
Those MX-5s which fall outside of the requirements for Group 2F and Group 2B, are usually classified in Group 2A, which allow a broader range of modifications.
It is essential you take the time to read and understand the regulations for each class, which can be found on the CAMS website. Cars must comply with the General Requirements for Automobiles, including Schedules A, B and, in races, C (refer to "General Requirements for Cars and Drivers" in the CAMS Manual of Motor Sport) as well as the Specific Requirements for each group.
NOTE that unless it is specifically listed as being "free" from constraints, a component must remain unaltered from that of the production vehicle - "Any aspect relating to the construction, modification and/or preparation of the vehicle, which is not specifically authorised in the present regulations, is forbidden" (CAMS Manual).
Classes for the MX-5 CUP race series are time based. Time based classes have been successfully used in a number of race series and remove the need for the development and administration of complex classing definitions. This structure also eliminates the need for costly and time consuming compliance with these classes by competitors. Policing of classes is greatly simplified and the need for a complex penalty and appeals process removed. The time based classes to be used are based on Wakefield Park lap times as follows:
|A||1:04 - 1:07|
|B||1:07.01 - 1:09|
|C||1:09.01 - 1:11|
|D||1:11.01 - 1:13|
|E||1:13.01 - 1:16|