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 |  Jun 25 2012, 5:15 PM

Mazda enthusiasts attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed will get to see the street-legal MX-5 GT running the hill as Mazda uses the event to gauge consumer reaction to the hotter version of its popular sports car.

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 |  Mar 23 2012, 7:45 AM

Mazda announced that it will field its iconic MX-5 roadster for its first year in the British GT Championship.

Last year, the Mazda MX-5 GT first ran a campaign in the Britcar Production GTN Championship as a developmental year. Demonstrating its strength instantly, the MX-5 battled hard during the final race of the season at Brands Hatch. Placing fifth overall, the tiny Mazda traded places with more powerful Porsches, Ferraris, and Lotus through the race.

For 2012, the Mazda MX-5 GT is ready to move up to the British GT Championship GT4 class, fully prepared to race against the likes of Lotus, Aston Martin, Ginetta, and Nissan. In terms of hardware, the Mazda MX-5 GT packs a 2.0-liter engine producing 315 hp, mated to a paddle shift sequential six-speed Hewland gearbox.

A package weighting just over 2,200 lbs, carrying about 330 lbs of ballast, the Mazda MX-5 GT is capable of running from 0-60 mph in three seconds and to achieve a top speed of 160 mph. While it isn’t as powerful as its rivals, the MX-5 is a favorite among drivers thanks to its handling and stability under all loads, its fuel efficiency, and its mercy on tires. This keeps the MX-5 racing through the field rather than spend time in the pits for refuel and tire change.

“We are looking forward to taking on the supercar brands this year and winning,” Mazda UK Managing Director Jeremy Thomson says. “Last year was a valuable development year when we established the strengths of the car and then developed the power and handling too best exploit those strengths. We are excited and optimistic about our first year in British GT and fully expect the Mazda MX-5 to upset a few established marques.”

The British GT Championship series holds nine rounds over seven weekends. The first race will be held at Oulton Park of Cheshire on Easter weekend, April 7 and 9.

GALLERY: Mazda MX-5 GT

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