TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 11, 2008) – Brad Rampelberg, the Sports Car Club of America 2007 Spec Miata National Champion, has won the Mazda MX-5 Cup shootout and will receive a new MX-5 and parts necessary to compete in the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup.
Rampelberg, who beat defending SM Champion and 2007 MX-5 Cup runner-up Andrew Caddell to the 2007 SM title, was one of nine SCCA and NASA Champions invited to participate in the shootout, part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder program. For a full day, the drivers’ on-track abilities, technical feedback and business skills were tested to determine which of the nine best demonstrated the skills and commitment required to succeed in professional racing. A panel of six judges selected Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., as the winner. He has chosen to enter the 2008 MX-5 Cup with the Hooverspeed team.
“Having been a Mazda racer for the last five years, I’ve come to admire the way Mazda takes care of us, the club racing driver,” Rampelberg said. “I’m so thankful to Mazda to be invited to participate in their motorsports ladder and I hope to repay their investment in me in 2008 and beyond. I know the Hooverspeed team will prepare a fast and reliable car, thus I can devote my off-track time to seeking sponsorship dollars and making sure our partners receive the best possible return on their investment.”
Rampelberg’s prize package includes a 2008 Mazda MX-5, the entire MAZDASPEED parts kit needed to prepare the car for MX-5 Cup competition, a Sparco suit and helmet, eight sets of Kumho tires courtesy of Kumho and entry fee waivers for all eight rounds of the 2008 SCCA Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, courtesy of SCCA Pro Racing.
“The core of the MAZDASPEED business is our club racing customer,” Robert Davis, Senior VP of Production Development and Quality at Mazda North American Operations said. “This program is at the heart of what we strive for, making motorsports accessible to as many people as possible. Brad has worked hard to get to this point in his career, and Mazda is happy to help him make the jump to the professional level.”
“We are proud to be a pivotal part of Mazda’s ladder program,” SCCA Pro Racing President and CEO Bob Wildberger said. “The promotion of such talented drivers into SCCA Pro Racing makes our races increasingly competitive and entertaining for our fans. I wish Brad the best of luck in 2008.”
This is the second year Mazda has operated a shootout to place a Club Racing driver in MX-5 Cup, the first rung on the program’s ladder to a professional sports car racing career. The ladder continues with the advancement of the MX-5 Cup Champion to the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship, which is where the 2007 MX-5 Cup Champion Jason Saini will be racing this year.
Rampelberg’s first event will be the SCCA Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup season opener at the Grand Prix of Houston, April 25 – 27. For more information visit www.mx-5cup.com