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Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Concept car heralds new Mazda MX-5 Global Cup races

At the SEMA automotive show, Mazda announced a global series of races for its new MX-5 Miata roadster, showing off a concept that will lead to a spec car.

Mazda MX-5 Global Cup concept car
Mazda unveiled its MX-5 Global Cup concept, giving an idea of what its Global Cup racing series cars will look like. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Mazda has been generating excitement around the fourth generation of its MX-5 model, known in the US as the Miata, all year. CNET got a look at the new MX-5 , which goes on sale next year as a 2016 model, at a special event in September. Now, at the SEMA aftermarket auto parts show in Las Vegas, Mazda announced a race series for the new car.

To highlight the announcement, Mazda showed off a concept, the MX-5 Global Cup car, as an early look at the cars that will race in the series.

The MX-5 model will be offered with a variety of engines around the world, but Mazda confirmed that the MX-5 Global Cup cars will use the two-liter, four-cylinder, direct-injection SkyActiv engine, similar to what will be offered in the production MX-5 in the US. Mazda has not yet specified other equipment, such as tires and suspension components, for the Global Cup cars. They will, of course, come with safety equipment, such as a roll cage.

A spokesperson said that Mazda will specify a single supplier from which racing hopefuls, from amateur to professional, can buy the MX-5 Global Cup cars.

The MX-5 Global Cup races will take place in Europe, Asia and North America. The final race, a shoot-out between winners in the series, will be held at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in California.

Mazda MX-5 Global Cup concept car
The MX-5 Global Cup cars will all be built to the same spec, making the races a contest against drivers. Wayne Cunningham/CNET