Everything You Wanted to Know About NASA's Teen Mazda Challenge Series
The NASA Teen Mazda Challenge is a unique program designed specifically for young drivers coming out of karting, and other youth motorsports. Drivers between 13 and 20 years old by the time of their regions first race of the season are provided opportunities to help them advance their racing career, such as eligibility to compete in Mazda’s annual MX-5 Cup Shootout, which boasts a grand prize scholarship valued at $110,000 applicable to a season of racing in the professional sports car series Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires®. In addition to this prestigious award, TMC has a number of other generous programs that provide unique benefits to up-and-coming drivers striving to advance their motorsport career. See the Contingency Programs page for additional details.
TMC is a competition for young drivers in NASA Regions throughout the United States. This competition takes places within Spec Miata or Spec MX-5 racing groups where young drivers will the opportunity to battle among some of the best Spec Miata and Spec MX-5 competitors around the country. This fantastically competitive environment provides young drivers with the best opportunity to develop their racing skills. The weekend race schedule includes one to four races set over two days of competition. Each NASA Region schedules five to nine race weekends, which make up a racing season. A typical racing season will include 10 to 18 races where competitors will have the opportunity to gain valuable on-track experience and further develop their race craft. Each TMC race scheduled awards TMC competitors championship points that ultimately decide who becomes each TMC Regional Champion.
Points paid are based solely on the final official Regional Spec Miata or Spec MX-5 results that will include any technical (mechanical) or driving infractions observed by the race and technical directors of the race event that might result in a penalty. At the end of each region’s TMC scheduled season, a champion is named for that region. This champion will then be eligible for a number of generous awards designed to assist each driver with climbing the motorsports ladder. To earn Mazda contingency awards, a TMC Competitor also must finish ahead of at least three TMC competitors who competed in at least four TMC races.
Drivers must be between 13 and 20 years of age at their region’s first Teen Mazda Challenge race of the season. Follow the steps below to participate in the Teen Mazda Challenge Series. Part of this registration process includes a parental release form that must be completed by the parent or legal guardian of anyone under the age of 18.
Links and Resources
*Note that Regional Directors may require drivers to attend 1 or more HPDE weekends prior to being issued a NASA Competition License.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at https://community.drivenasa.com/support/.
The first race of the season typically begins in your regions after March 1st. Finishing the last race in the region prior to October 13th.
The Teen Mazda Challenge Points eligible races runs from Jan 1st, 2022 – December 31, 2022.
A legal, approved, NASA-tech-inspected Spec Miata or Spec MX-5 race car is required. Please read the current NASA competition rules regarding the Spec Miata race class found on the rules page.
Spec Miata race cars can be built from scratch, purchased from existing owners or rented on a race-to-race or season-long basis.
Information about Spec MX-5 race cars and how to purchase or build one can be found on the Spec MX5 website.
Founded in 2012 by Ron Cortez, Teen Mazda Challenge is a place designed to give young drivers a chance to advance from karting and other youth motorsports into racing Spec Miatas and Spec MX-5’s with NASA. The idea behind this unique series is to foster young talent and give them the skills and tools they need to advance in motorsports. Cortez passed away in January 2018, but his legacy lives on in the continuation of this unique program.
Questions and Answers to Feed Your Curiosity
Teen Mazda Challenge is open to all drivers that hold a current NASA competition license and are between ages 13 and 20 by the start of the first race in their region for the current season. Drivers can be up to 20 years old at the completion of the racing season.
Certain racetracks around the country might prohibit drivers younger than 16 from participating. Consult your local NASA Region or the racetracks directly.
You must earn a NASA competition license. The steps to getting that license are explained in the Five Easy Ways to Get Your NASA Competition License section. Kart racers typically have excellent car-control skills and ample experience in wheel-to-wheel racing, but they also need to demonstrate in NASA’s proven HPDE program the ability to operate a full-size motor vehicle at speed. That includes spatial awareness and proficiency with a non-sequential H-pattern manual transmission. Drivers also must demonstrate mature decision-making on the racetrack. Off the track, drivers must be well versed with NASA rules, flags, safety protocols and sportsmanship as written in the NASA Club Codes and Regulations.
The ability to grant a provisional license lies with the Regional Director, who may issue a provisional, recommend a driver attend comp school or spend more time in HPDE before moving up into racing. The first step is to contact the Regional Director of your NASA region.
You can register for the Teen Mazda Challenge at https://form.jotform.com/drivenasa/tmc-program-registration.
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