July 10, 2017 —
While the cars are as similar as possible, the tracks on the 2017 Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires schedule are very different. For the first time in series history, the Global MX-5 Cup championship will take to the streets of Toronto as part of the huge Verizon IndyCar Series race event this weekend.
After opening the season at Barber Motorsports Park, a custom-built natural terrain road circuit in Alabama, the series moved to the most famous circuit in the world – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. From there, it was up to Wisconsin to race at one of the highest speed natural terrain tracks in the country at Road America.
Global MX-5 Cup will add yet another new challenge this weekend as the series makes a debut appearance on the streets of Toronto.
Racing with cars that start on showroom floors, it is the driver that makes the difference thanks to the incredible parity in Global MX-5 Cup. That close competition is underscored by the race-winning margins so far this season, with the largest margin of victory 2.0-seconds, and the smallest being just .0263-seconds. Through six rounds of racing, the average margin of victory is .4132-seconds.
While most of the racers in the Global MX-5 field had the advantage of previous experience at Barber and Road America, the visit to Toronto is the first for many.
“I’ve never been to Toronto – not even as a spectator,” said points leader Patrick Gallagher. “That one is going to be fun. The Toronto event is one that I’m probably looking forward to the most out of all of our races this year. I love street circuits. You have a short amount of practice time and it’s all about consequence and reward.”
While Gallagher enjoys a points advantage in the championship, he is chased by a hungry field of racers, including the 2016 Global MX-5 Champion Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks, who has shown remarkable upward mobility during the races.
“It was great to get the Battery Tender award, and of course I was happy to win the $1,000 for me, and $1,000 for my crew chief that goes along with it,” said Sparks after taking the Battery Tender Hard Charger Award at Road America. “But hopefully I can have a better qualifying in Toronto and start closer to the front. Pat (Gallagher) has a big lead in the points, but I’ve got to just keep being consistent and hopefully that will get me another championship.”
With the Toronto circuit being a new addition to the schedule as part of the Andersen Promotions and INDYCAR partnership, the race marks another opportunity to entertain a large crowd of enthusiastic fans.
“It’ll be interesting to see who gets on top of the track first,” said Gallagher. “It’s about pushing it to the limit, getting within inches of the walls. Guys that get on top of the track fast – hopefully I can do that. I’ve done St. Pete, Baltimore, and Houston. Toronto is one of the street courses I haven’t done yet, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s cool to be a part of the same events where IndyCar is racing. They’re doing a great job with the series. We are getting more exposure, and it’s been a lot of fun so far.”
While the field of Global MX-5 Cup machines might not bring the same sound and speed that the fans will expect from the Verizon IndyCar Series racers, one thing that the passionate Canadian fans can certainly count on is some highly competitive racing from the full field of Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires machines.