At last week’s Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando, Florida, both Honda and Mazda pitched a new low-cost, B-Spec Showroom Stock race series, designed to appeal to budget-conscious, grassroots racers.
“The B-Spec category provides a relatively low-cost means for the prospective racer to enter the sport,” Marc Sours, general manager of Honda Performance Development, said in a prepared statement. “These are inexpensive, great-handling cars that should provide both excellent competition and help grow the sport at the entry level.”
Interestingly, neither automaker claims a sizable stake in the B-Spec idea. Instead, the class rules and organizational instructions were developed in a manner akin to freeware, feasibly allowing any track or sanctioning body (i.e. SCCA, NASA, etc.) to adopt and host an event. Further, the proposed regulations also allow owners of similar vehicles, including the Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris, to compete in these events.
“Road racing remains a highly popular activity, but affordability is a huge challenge,” said John Doonan, manager of motorsports development at Mazdaspeed. “The easy way to race the Mazda2 would have been to create a spec class [similar to the Spec Miata class], but we feel cooperation and multi-manufacturer competition can grow the sport for everyone.”
B-Spec cars, like the Mazda2 and Fit concepts shown at the PRI show, will be essentially showroom stock, save for the addition of a roll cage, racing seat, harness, and OEM-approved suspension components, tires, and wheels. Engines will remain in their original form, but weight distribution is being proposed as a means to balance performance between makes.
Finalized rules and regulations will be published within the next sixty days. Following that, an independent third party will be charged with providing specifications to interested tracks, along with homologating cars for competition. Both Mazda and Honda envision the B-Spec class as a grassroots series, and have no plans for a spin-off professional series.
Source: Honda, Mazda