Inside MX-5 Cup with Tom Long: Drivers Can Expect a Challenge at Laguna Seca
 August 27, 2021| 
  • Series News

The Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as the season draws near its end, with only two more weekends on the calendar. Mazda’s history at this circuit is a storied one, with lots of success in IMSA competition. The track has also been home to the Mazda Scholarship Shootouts as well as the MX-5 Cup Global Challenge finale.


Personally, I have a strong attachment to Laguna Seca because of all the Mazda success I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of there. I’ve gotten race wins, podium finishes, and even pole positions at Laguna Seca. For the MX-5 Cup drivers who have also had success at this track in the past, they will have a great advantage heading into this race weekend because they already know the unique aspects of the circuit.


The dramatic elevation changes, including the infamous Corkscrew, make Laguna Seca visually demanding as the drivers navigate the literal ups and downs of the second half of the circuit. The unique landscape results in Laguna Seca having a slippery surface because of the sand that borders the track. With the combination of elevation changes and sand, car handling is compromised, and teams have to adjust their setup accordingly. Despite these challenges, Mazdas traditionally do well at Laguna Seca because their superior handling is ideally suited for this kind of layout.


Although the car setups will need to change for Laguna Seca, the top drivers’ strategies will not. With the championship drawing near its conclusion, the points leaders will need to stay in true form, continuing their podium performances in order to fight to the end. Strategies and approaches don’t need to change just because the season finale is looming closer. Mentally, it will be important for the drivers to realize that the steps that have gotten them this far can carry them to the end. Whatever happens, we can guarantee it’s going to be an intensely close fight down to the wire and a great show at Laguna Seca!


Tom Long is an accomplished sports car driver with a number of top honors to his name. His storied career with Mazda Motorsports includes his current role in the Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Series as a test driver, coach and race official. You can keep up with Tom on his blog at or on Facebook.



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