2016 Miata will arrive at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Willie Grace | 7/7/2014, 3:44 p.m. | Updated on 7/7/2014, 3:44 p.m.
On the weekend of September 5th, more than 1,000 Miatas of every age, generation and condition will pull into the infield at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. They will be joined by exactly one more: the one Miata that not a single obsessive, fanatic fanboy has ever seen.
Mazda today confirmed that the 2016 MX-5 Miata will make its worldwide debut in Monterey, Calif, on September 3rd. It will be unveiled at Mazda's own racetrack, as part of three simultaneous events around the world, the other two taking place in Japan and Spain. Immediately after, it will head to the event on September 5-7, Miatas at Mazda Raceway, surrounded by adoring and eager fans.
It's a shrewd move. It's an unveil calculated to introduce the Miata to as many of its aficionados as humanly possible, and the dedicated attendees will be among the first to see it. The September date precedes the "formal" start of auto show season: the next show after September will be in Paris exactly a month later. If the Miata doesn't make its auto show appearance there, we'll be genuinely surprised.
This isn't the first time Mazda unveiled one of its most significant vehicles far away from any auto show. You'll recall the unveil of the Mazda 3, which debuted last June amidst much fanfare on, of all places, the Xbox LIVE network. Three months later, it went to Frankfurt.
Race car driver Rick Weldon organized the first Miatas at Mazda Raceway in 2009, picking up on the Miata's 20th anniversary when Mazda itself nearly forgot. That year, he expected just 200 people to show up for a track day. Instead, 500 people beat down the gates. Every year since, the grassroots event has grown larger, the support from Mazda North America even greater: the company has brought out more rare concept cars, more early prototypes, and more special guests like Derek Jenkins and Tom Matano, the Miata's de facto father. This year, Weldon and Mazda PR wizard Jeremy Barnes thought that they might have a go at breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of Miatas.
The current record was set in the Netherlands last year, with exactly 683 cars. A month after Weldon opened the metaphorical phone lines, a thousand Miata owners had signed up. Hot laps around the raceway sold out in just 15 minutes.
The event had originally been scheduled for April, but the dates mysteriously moved to September. Now we know why. Weldon now has his sights set on the largest Miata gathering in the world, owing to the chaos of 1,000 Miatas in a row; he wants 1,600 cars to sign up. If they all do, the Miata record will be well and truly smashed -- and those 1,000 owners now have a very, very good reason not to miss it.
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