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Video Test Drive: Andy Pilgrim Flat-Out in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Race Car

You don’t have to spend millions to compete in an actual race car against intense competition.

Funny enough, Pro Racer's Take has never featured an actual race car during our two seasons to date, but that all changes now. Championship-winning sports-car driver Andy Pilgrim recently welcomed a 2019 Mazda Global MX-5 Cup race car to NCM Motorsports Park, and what a blast it is to pilot something like this Miata around a challenging road course.

If you follow motorsports at all, you've likely heard of The Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich Tires. Yes, it's a mouthful, but as racer's know, everything else is a moot point if there are no sponsors supporting the endeavor. The series is the first rung on Mazda's Road to 24 ladder, which searches for rising drivers to take from grassroots to the top of U.S. sports car racing: the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

One of those young drivers, 22-year-old Indiana native Jared Thomas, was kind enough to loan us his Global MX-5 Cup car for this episode. The recent graduate of Purdue University Indianapolis—where he earned his degree in motorsports engineering, natch—won last December's Mazda Road to 24 Shootout scholarship worth $100,000. The prize enables him to compete in the 2020 season of the Global MX-5 Cup series, presently scheduled to begin at Road America on July 23-24.

If you know drivers, and even if you don't, you won't find it a surprise to hear that getting them to share their race cars—especially cars they had to purchase themselves—can be akin to miracle work. Our big thanks, then, to Jared Thomas Racing for being down with us for a bit of fun, and for trusting our driver to keep it all in one piece. After all, a little bit of faith is always necessary, no matter the credentials of the driver you decide to put behind the wheel of your race car.

Not that we ever want or plan to crash any of the cars we test, but one upside of the Global MX-5 Cup series is that it's perhaps the most affordable way to enter professional American sports-car racing while still providing extremely close and intense competition. Learn more here.

"Push" the play button now for a taste of what the series and its cars are all about, and we'll see you next Tuesday for another installment of Pro Racer's Take. Between now and then, be sure to make a stop at www.proracerstake.com for all previous episodes, onboard videos, and lap times.