Mazda has announced a new virtual online race series with the chance to drive in a real-world event as a prize. Only open to contestants in Japan, the Mazda Spirit Racing GT Cup is a collaboration with Polyphony Digital and its Gran-Turismo game for Playstation.
Starting at the end of October, the 2022 Mazda Spirit Racing GT Cup is a five-race online series held across five Japanese tracks. All rounds see competitors use virtual Mazda vehicles, with the Mazda RX-Vision GT3 used for rounds two and five, the Gr.4 Mazda6 for round three and the Mazda MX-5 Roadster NR-A for rounds one and four. There’s also an under-18 time trial event.
Each of the top 20 drivers in the over 18s category with a valid driver’s licence will be invited to a real-world racing challenge with Mazda in early 2023. Details of this event are yet to be released, but Mazda Japan’s stated aim of the program is to “fulfil drivers’ dreams” and “expand the base and develop the culture of motorsports”.
Players will be able to purchase the cars in special Mazda Spirit liveries, although with a free choice of liveries and styles in the event there’s a lot of opportunity for creativity for gamers involved.
The full schedule for the series is as follows, with the best four rounds counting towards players’ scores:
Mazda Spirit Racing GT Cup (18+)
- Round 1 – October 30 – Mazda Roadster NR-A – Tsukuba Circuit
- Round 2 – November 13 – Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept – Suzuka Circuit
- Round 3 – November 20 – Mazda Atenza Gr.4 – Fuji Speedway
- Round 4 – December 4 – Mazda Roadster NR-A – Autopolis
- Round 5 – December 11 – Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept – Trial Mountain
Mazda Spirit Racing GT Cup (6-17)
- Online Time Trial – October 30-November 30 – Mazda Roadster NR-A – Tsukuba Circuit