While Mazda has more than 70 deposits for its factory racecar, right now only two cars exist. The Cup car isn’t at all set up like the street car, which is relatively soft and forgiving. This is a stiff, neutral racer, so when you cheat too high on the corner curbing it gets upset. And then you spin. Then you learn not to do that, and learning is part of the point, here: the MX-5 Cup is intended as a launch pad for drivers to hone their skills and progress to faster machines.
While the MX-5 Cup uses a stock engine and transmission—OK, it has headers and an extremely rambunctious exhaust that makes the LED shift lights superfluous—the roster of changes is comprehensive. Fuel cell, fire suppression system, race gauges, sealed race ECU, adjustable suspension, forged wheels, brake cooling ducts and slotted rotors… one wonders if, even at $53,000, this car is a loss leader. I might’ve overheard somebody mention the number $70,000 as a more accurate estimate of what it might cost to have someone build you a car like this.
The MX-5 Cup is definitely the real thing. Sure, it’s a lot of dough for an MX-5, but go find another turnkey racer with its own series and factory support. It turns out the most expensive Miata is also the biggest bargain.