Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Races into Barber
 April 18, 2018| 
  • Series News
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Birmingham, Ala. (18 April, 2018) -  Some prove to be a bust, while others improve on the original, leaving movie buffs to constantly debate the merits of sequels.  

This weekend, the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires will look to follow up a blockbuster opening event at the Circuit of the Americas with another display of remarkable racing as the series stages rounds three and four at Barber Motorsports Park. 

The visit to Barber marks the second of six double-header event weekends for the 2018 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup championship season for the Mazda-owned series, and is the first of four to be staged as part of Verizon IndyCar Series events. 

Both races will be streamed live. Friday’s stream will start at 1:00pm central, (April 20th) with the premiere of a look at Global Mazda MX-5 Cup life and one of its stars, immediately followed by the green flag at Barber https://youtu.be/OL5CdUOut18. Saturday’s stream will start at 9:45 AM Central, and will be hosted at https://youtu.be/UWytWF2mam0

Utilizing the hugely popular and cost-effective Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car as the competition centerpiece, the large field of racers will fight for the $200,000 scholarship prize from Mazda that will go to the series champion, while the leading rookie racer will earn $75,000 in support from Mazda for the accomplishment. 

Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) had an impressive 2017 campaign, coming home second in the rookie standings with multiple strong runs and podium results. The Puerto Rican racer opened the 2018 season with authority, claiming his career-first victory at COTA and then followed that up with a scrappy run to second place in the rain to emerge with the championship lead as he looks to continue his strong run of form to open the year.

“It felt great to start the year with a win because it will carry the momentum for the rest of the year and have everyone on the team on the same page,” said Ortiz. “Barber is a beautiful track with amazing facilities. Last year we were ok on it but I got hit while running third in the first race and then I made a couple of mistakes that I had to settle for fifth. I think the COTA weekend gave us a lot of confidence and we are ready to take on this championship. The competition is really strong and we saw that at COTA, too, so hopefully we can keep going well at Barber!”

Leading the chase for Ortiz will be Selin Rollan (No. 87 Sick Sideways Racing), who won the second race at COTA in just his first-ever appearance in Global Mazda MX-5 Cup competition. The victory was the second big victory for Rollan, who in November won the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout to capture a $100,000 package from Mazda towards his 2018 program in the No. 87 Mazda Road to 24 Sick Sideways entry.

“I really just want to stay consistent, get as many podiums as we can and maybe some more wins,” said Rollan. “The Sick Sideways guys have done an awesome job and hopefully we can keep that going at Barber.” 

New for the 2018 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season is an updated race format that will see two classes of competition at every race with the launch of the Challenger class presented by Monticello Motor Club. Charlie Belluardo (No. 73 Flatout Motorsports) had a double-win weekend in the Challenger Class at COTA and will look to extend his advantage this weekend at Barber. 

The Barber entry list features 32 drivers, including ten rookies, many of whom took advantage of the series-staged “Spring Training” event at the 2.3-mile Alabama track in March.

Also new for this season is the inclusion of a Masters category for drivers 40 and over, with Keith Jensen (No. 53 Slipstream Performance) having secured the advantage in COTA with two strong race performances. 

Having just missed out on the rookie award in 2017, Ortiz was asked what advice he would give this year’s rookie field.

“Just to be consistent and pick your battles, it's a long season and a lot of things can happen!” 

So get your popcorn ready.

Updates will be available via https://twitter.com/GlobalMX5Cup, with results to be posted with news and updated photos at https://mx-5cup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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