With the release of the 2011 Season One schedule (now available in the iRacing.com Staff Announcements forum on the iRacing member site), iRacing announced that the former Jetta TDI Cup D-Class series will now be the Class D Jetta MX-5/Roadster Series, featuring the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and the Mazda MX-5/Roadster.  This will be a full 12-week schedule of online racing, which should be of interest to you MX-5/Roadster fans who are tired of Laguna Seca and Lime Rock as your only options outside of hosted sessions.

The Volkswagen Jetta TDIs will have someone new to race with this season...

This is what the new 2001 Season 1 Class D Jetta MX-5/Roadster schedule will look like:

Class D Jetta MX-5/Roadster 2011 Season One Schedule

Week 1 Summit Point (Full) – 25 minutes
Week 2 Mid-Ohio (Full) – 30 minutes
Week 3 Sebring (Club) – 30 minutes
Week 4 Watkins Glen (Boot) – 30 minutes
Week 5 Lime Rock – 20 minutes
Week 6 Barber Motorsports Park (Full) – 30 minutes
Week 7 Zandvoort – 30 minutes
Week 8 Road Atlanta (Short) – 25 minutes
Week 9 Silverstone International – 30 minutes
Week 10 Mosport – 30 minutes
Week 11 Sebring (Modified) – 30 minutes
Week 12 Spa – 45 minutes

Every 2 hours at 0:15 past the hour-even
Tue, Thurs, Sat GMT
Time race – units = minutes

Rookies who enjoy the MX-5/Roadster will already be familiar with Lime Rock as a “base content” track that is a standby on the MX-5/Roadster Rookie schedule, but Laguna Seca (the other “base content” MX-5/Roadster Rookie series track) wasn’t invited to the party. In addition to Lime Rock, Summit Point Full also appears as another free “base content” track. Additionally, Silverstone — which is the new “purchased” track for the inRacingNews Challenge SRF/Solstice Advanced Rookie series — also appears on the schedule, and those iRacers who already own Watkins Glen (which was last season’s Advanced Rookie “purchased” track) will benefit from that as well, thus helping to further reduce the buy-in cost to step up to the D-Class level with the MX-5/Roadster.

as will the Mazda MX-5/Roadsters!

Despite the lack of “base content,” the buy-in cost for this series will still be pretty affordable, making this an ideal “next rung” up the career ladder to the D-Class level:

Jetta @ $11.95 (required multiclass purchase — users must own the Jetta in order to race the MX-5/Roadster, regardless of license level)

MX-5/Roadster — no cost

Summit Point Full — no cost
Lime Rock — no cost

Sebring @ $14.95 (“value” purchase, two variants used — one purchase = 2 weeks of racing with this schedule)

4 other tracks of your choice @ $14.95 each ($59.80 total)

Full cost to participate in an 8-week championship: $11.95 + $14.95 + $59.80 = $86.70 total

If you make all those purchases at once you can take advantage of the 20% discount — that would trim $17.34 off the total, which means it would only cost $69.36 to run a full 8-week season.

This works out to be fairly affordable if you want to race the MX-5/Roadster on advanced tracks, given the alternative (e.g., Lime Rock, Laguna Seca, Lime Rock, Laguna Seca . . .). Plus, as an extra bonus:  if you get tired of racing the MX-5/Roadster on these new tracks, you’ll always be able to hop in the Jetta to experience the joy of all that glorious turbodiesel horsepower and torque that enables the Jetta drivers to pull away from the MX-5/Roadsters on those long straights.

Competition-wise, the Jetta and the MX-5/Roadster look to be fairly evenly matched, with the Jetta having more horsepower, torque, and a higher top speed, and the MX-5/Roadster having better handling characteristics, which makes it potentially faster on shorter “handling” tracks.  In a recent hosted session at Summit Point Raceway, the fastest Jetta driver put in a 1:23.xxx lap, with the rest of the fast Jettas running in the 1:24.xxx range, while the MX-5/Roadster drivers were running in the 1:24 – 1:25 range. On tracks with long straights like Summit Point Raceway, the fast Jetta drivers will out-shine all but the fastest MX-5/Roadster drivers, and on shorter tracks where the Jetta’s top-speed advantage isn’t as much of a factor, the fast MX-5/Roadster drivers will be faster than the fastest Jetta drivers, with the slower MX-5/Roadster and Jetta drivers mixing it up in the back of the pack in most cases. In short, the Jetta-MX-5/Roadster combination should make for an interesting mix.

Although full scoring details have not yet been announced, this will be staged as a standard multiclass series (rather than a multicar, single-class series), with the Jettas and MX-5/Roadsters being scored separately (and the Jetta drivers competing against the other Jetta drivers for Jetta championship points, and the MX-5/Roadster drivers competing with other MX-5/Roadster drivers for MX-5/Roadster championship points).  There is a chance that iRacing could stage this as a single-class series, with the Jettas and MX-5/Roadsters in contention for a single series championship.  We’ll know more on that when iRacing publishes the full details, which should occur near the end of Week 13.

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