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Racing is a rich man's sport, no question about it. Sure, there are some ways to get into a bit of wheel-to-wheel that cost less than others, such as the 24 Hours of LeMons, but even that is more expensive than you might think. But regardless of the cost, some people still need to scratch that racing itch. One way to keep costs down is to get into spec racing – everyone uses the same type of car and they are typically kept showroom stock minus the addition of safety features such as a roll cage, harness and racing bucket. Mazda and Honda understand this and the two automakers have decided to roll out a B-Spec racing series that utilizes the Mazda2 and Honda Fit.

If the thought of tossing either of these two cars around a track doesn't sound fun, then you clearly have never driven either one. Though they are both down on power, they offer high levels of tossable excitement. Turn them into race-ready hoon machines and the volume knob twists to 11.

A spec series presents an even playing field for the competitors because the engines and chassis remain stock for all cars. Driving skill is what will win in an event like this, and every ounce of that behind-the-wheel prowess will be tested in these low-powered hatchbacks. Hop the jump to read the full press release.

[Sources: Mazda, Honda]
Show full PR text
Mazda & Honda Unveil B-Spec Racers
SCCA & NASA Adopt "Freeshare" Rules

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 9, 2010) – With the goal of providing close racing in affordable cars from a variety of manufacturers, Honda and Mazda jointly announce the formation of "B-Spec" Showroom Stock racing. Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; and MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, the performance division of Mazda North American Operations, today unveiled their entries for the proposed new low-cost B-Spec, developed from the MAZDA2 and Honda Fit. Both cars will be on display at the annual Performance Racing Industry trade show in front of 40,000 racing insiders.

B-Spec refers to all cars meeting a common set of rules that can be adopted by any race circuit or sanctioning organization. Together, Honda and Mazda solicited an independent body to develop a set of vehicle specifications that will be available for all to use – the motorsports equivalent of "freeware." The final rules should be ready for release within 60 days.
One of the fastest-growing segments of the automobile business, B-segment cars are among the most affordable, and enjoy great support from younger demographics. In addition to the MAZDA2 and the Honda Fit, the category includes the Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris.

Two prototypes for the class – a MAZDASPEED-run MAZDA2 and a Honda Fit, prepared and entered by Team Honda Research-West – debuted at last weekend's 25 Hours of Thunderhill season-ending NASA endurance racing contest in Willows, CA.

Designed to be an entry-level category, B-Spec cars will feature showroom stock racing cars utilizing stock engines and chassis, fitted with a competition roll cage, racing seat and other safety equipment; and manufacturer-approved suspension components, tires and wheels. Weight distribution will be used to balance performance among competing manufacturers.

The manufacturers will use an independent third party to homologate competing cars and provide equalized specifications to any interested sanctioning bodies or race tracks. A racer who builds a B-Spec car will be able to race the same car across multiple sanctioning bodies by simply changing the sanctioning-body decals. Only homologated OEM models will be eligible within the rules.

This is intended to be a grassroots class of racing, and at present, there are no plans for a B-Spec professional series.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      And this is why I drive a Mazda (mazdaspeed6) and the wife drives a Honda (Fit)!

      It's my 3rd Mazda and I know "zoom-zoom" isn't just a marketing slogan. It's the wife's 2nd Fit and Honda sure knows how to came a small, fun and practical car. These are 2 car companies that just "get it" IMO.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @FitFan, see the part about a "level playing field." All the other B-segment cars sold in the U.S. make ~100 hp. The Fit is an exception, with 117, which probably means there will be a restrictor plate.

      Also, I get the impression these will be sold by Honda and Mazda as turn-key race cars (which I hope means the engines and transmissions will be sealed). If that's true, $30K will be cheap. A Spec Racer Ford costs more. A FF costs a LOT more...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kudos to Mazda for continuing to promote accessible racing. For a smaller manufacturer, they do a huge amount for racing and you get the feeling that they really want their cars to be raced. Heck, if you compete in an Mazda car (even in local autcross or drag racing) they will give you parts at a steep discount. I am a big supporter of what they do, even though I don't like the smiley-face designs as well as the previous ones.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It does take immense talent to go go fast in a 1000hp car race car and manage to come out alive after going WOT.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Stupid comment system. That was meant for Orin O'Neill.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is awesome! Would love to get me a b-spec car and race it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      There is no reason why, for little money, the manufacturers couldn't give them more power for relatively little money. Its been done lots of times in the past.

      Come to think of it, why don't these two cars have upscale engine options for the street anyway? Like a turbo or a bigger engine. Why have an obvious weakness that most people see as the main drawback to getting these cars?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Two great companies standing up for the little man.
      • 4 Years Ago
      this is a very good thing, perhaps it will lead to small cars with a lower roof line (to lower center of gravity) and higher performance but not price. racing improves the breed no matter what it is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would be nice to see more cars to join this series, especially the MINI and the Fiesta. This could be real good and entertaining.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Just remember that the Fiesta is pretty much the same as the Mazda 2 save for sheet metal and a few tweaks here and there by Ford. But I agree still wouldnt mind seeing it in the series would be great promotional piece for the dealers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Clavius: the cars feel very different from each other though (Mazda2 and Fiesta).

        The Fiesta is a feature-packed car while the Mazda2 is more bare-bones and driver focused.
      • 4 Years Ago
      god damn
      i was asking for exactly this

      b spec racing would be crazy fun to watch and participate in. new generation of race car drivers incoming! stoked!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mazdaspeed2 anybody? Id like that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A whole bunch of really good race drivers (Parker Johnstone comes to mind) came out of the Renault Cup, which was contested in cars with engines that made all of 48 horsepower.

      It takes no talent at all to go fast with 1000 horsepower. It takes real talent to go fast with ~100 horsepower.
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