Mazda and Honda form B-Spec Showroom Stock racing series

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]
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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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