Successful Global Mazda MX-5 Cup debut for rookie Loni Unser
 March 28, 2019| 
  • Team News

Mazda series joined IndyCar weekend at Circuit of the Americas

AUSTIN, Texas (March 26, 2018) – Rookie racer Loni Unser made a successful Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup debut last weekend at the 2019 season opening doubleheader at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

“The racing was definitely amazing, but what got me was how cool the fans were,” said Unser. “I really want to be able to inspire young people, especially other girls, and it was so cool to get that opportunity during the autograph sessions and meet-and-greets in the pits.”

The races this weekend marked a huge milestone for Unser: it was her first professional series competition. The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series joined an exciting weekend program that featured series competition for the NTT IndyCar series, Indy Lights and Stadium Super Trucks.

After a bumpy start that saw Unser forced to sit out the first practice session due to a malfunctioning alternator, the rookie scored a pair of mid-pack finishes in her No. 92 ND-1 class Miata. She managed to avoid a wreck in Race 1 and came away from Race 2 with new knowledge on how to work through traffic in the competitive, 31-car field.

With a background in line-finding sports including ski racing, Unser is a newcomer to auto racing. She started racing cars in 2017 and has shown promise in NASA Rocky Mountain Spec Miata competition. This season she expects to continue her regional campaign while adding as much Global Mazda MX-5 Cup competition to her schedule as funding allows.

“Last week heading into my first big Global Mazda MX-5 Cup race at COTA I was definitely battling some nerves, but once we got out on track everything changed,” said Unser. “I saw that green flag and I instantly remembered just how much I love driving and how amazing it is to get to race like this. I had so much fun.”

The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series features spec racing in two classes, offering an ideal development platform for drivers like Unser, who are getting started in their racing careers. The racing is close as drivers are challenged to maximize their own performance while competing door-to-door in equal vehicles.

The ND-2 class will showcase the new, 181-horsepower Miata unveiled this year for the Global MX-5 Cup, while the ND-1 class that Unser is contesting uses the previous generation race car. This weekend, Unser raced with the championship Sick Sideways organization.

Unser campaigns the number 92, also carried by her grandfather Jerry Unser and father Johnny Unser. Her grandfather was the first of the famous Unsers to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, from then on, the Unser family has won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 nine times and become known as “The First Family” of American auto racing.

The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season takes place over six event weekends, all hosted in conjunction with IndyCar events. The next round takes place in just two weeks at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

The series is a cornerstone of Mazda’s auto racing development ladder. This year, the 2019 ND-2 class champion will receive a $200,000 career advancement scholarship from Mazda, while the ND-1 class champion will receive a $100,000 scholarship that can be applied to the 2020 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup championship.

Currently a student of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder, Unser maintains a strong GPA while balancing the demands of her motorsport schedule. Her racing career is made possible through partnerships with companies that are supporting her early development including Cooper Tire, TRITEC Seals, and AMSOIL.
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