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When Mazda organized the Global MX-5 Cup series, it wanted to give grassroots racers with limited budgets a way to break into competition—without breaking the bank. The MX-5 Cup, based on the standard MX-5 Miata road car, was designed with cost in mind, coming in at a very reasonable (for a racecar) $53,000.

Some people might think that’s a lot for a Miata, but this latest one take from Matt Farah at The Smoking Tire proves the MX-5 Cup is totally worth the price.

In addition to the roll cage, the MX-5 Cup receives a race-ready suspension package, racing slicks, upgraded pads and rotors, and beefed up 3rd and 4th gear ratios designed specifically for heavy track use.

The engine is totally stock, and makes the exact same 155 horsepower as the street-legal MX-5—for cost savings, but also to ensure reliability through a full-on race.

Farah got the chance to compare the MX-5 Cup to its street-legal Miata RF sibling, and discovered just how much the race car’s suspension upgrades and sticky tires improve the Miata’s handling on track. Watch for yourself.

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