Started in mid-2017 by longtime Mazda racer and specialist Ric Shaw, the production car RX8 Cup one-make category has been a series from 2018 onwards. The New Zealand Series, which is also exclusive for RX8 race cars, competes on the country's South Island.
Mazda RX8 Cup category manager Shaw and Mazda Pro8 representative Ash McConchie have come up with the Trans-Tasman programme. They have both competed in each other's categories and are expecting the drivers to comfortably adapt to the cars, while also learning new circuits.
“The cars are quite similar – they both run Nankang control tyres so the drivers will adapt easily, and new racetracks are always fantastic,” said Shaw.
“Ash raced in an RX8 Cup round early last year and he enjoyed himself so much, he's coming back to compete in our 2024 season opener at Phillip Island.
“Our 2022 champ, Tom Shaw also competed in the Pro8 Series at Highlands, and that's where we started talks about creating an official relationship between the two categories.
“Offering the prize will be a great opportunity for both the Australian and New Zealand champions, but we're also aiming to encourage as many competitors as possible from both countries to do a round or two across the Tasman.”
McConchie is also enthusiastic about the opportunities. “Our plan is simple, to aid the drivers in experiencing as much RX8 racing at as many tracks as possible and with the ease of international team support.
“Other than the winner's prize, the drivers from both series can travel during the season and race each other's cars, as part of a simple and cost effective driver exchange programme.”
The 2024 RX8 Cup Series kicks off at Phillip Island on February 10-11.