One of New Zealand’s longest established club categories is upping the stakes this coming season with a brand new title sponsor and plans for televising at least three of the seven rounds of its series, which will run as part of the Speed Works Events Motorsport Championship next season.

DTM Wheel and Tyre have stepped in to provide title sponsorship for the series – which has been on the bill at New Zealand racing meetings for 27 years – and it will now be known as the NEXEN TYRE Mazda Pro7 Racing series. As Club President John Jackson explained, there are major benefits for competitors on and off the track.

“It’s fantastic to have NEXEN TYRE on board with the Mazda Pro7 class,” he explained. “This now allows us to televise at least three rounds of our championship run by Speed Works Events. This gives our class and competitors a much higher profile in the sport and we are all stoked about that. The other key benefits are tyre pricing and all round tyre performance in both dry and wet conditions.”

With the new sponsor on board, and with increased numbers in its field, the NEXEN TYRE Mazda Pro7 series will televise three of its meetings including its New Zealand Championship round at the New Zealand Grand Prix at Circuit Chris Amon, Manfeild between February 9-11 and the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand Motor Cup round at Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park between January 26-28. There is also the possibility of including the Toyota round at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, over the weekend of January 12-14.

These are good times for the Mazda racers, with new classes for cars within the series proving to be very popular.

“The RX8 category has been a winner for us,” added Jackson. “We have grown from 4 to 15+ RX-8s in the past two years and looks like we will continue this growth trend for a few years to come. This has been due to the affordability of the class, meaning your average Kiwi can go racing on a reasonable budget, at a decent pace. And that is the feedback we continually get, that the series is fantastic bang for buck.”

A changing of the guard as the RX8s are developed by their drivers and engineers could also be on the cards, as Jackson explained.

“Yes it will be very interesting to see how the RX-8s and Pro7 Plus cars compete throughout the year. Last year the front three RX-8 cars, Roger Beuvink, Leo Bult and Andrew Jackson, were knocking on the door of the front end of the field. This continued improvement will definitely make for a great spectacle.

“With the addition of many more RX8s this season and the inclusion of more seasoned drivers this will continue to mark the series as a great place for club racers of all levels to come and compete. We have classes and cars to suit all budgets and we will have a high profile series moving forward.”