This past week was a fun one for me. We had a final test for the Mazda Global MX-5 Cup as we prepare for the start of the 2020 Battery Tender MX-5 Cup season, and it was a chance to test the brand-new Sadev sequential gearbox. This gearbox update will be a required performance enhancement for the ND2 class this season.

The primary goal of our test was to confirm the car’s final package to ensure that it operates as designed with both functionality and reliability. With two full days of on-track testing at Roebling Road, we got everything dialed in and I’m really excited about the upcoming season that starts at Barber Motorsports Park next month.

Because of the nature of Roebling Road, which is very open and flowing, we chose to incorporate additional chicanes to substantially increase the number of shifts per lap. Confirming things such as the shift response on upshift and downshift, the amount of throttle blip the downshifts require, and the ergonomics from the driver’s standpoint were all part of our test goals for the Sadev gearbox.

This new gearbox will feature an auto-cut upshift, which allows the driver to keep their foot fully on the throttle. The driver shifts to the next gear with just the pull of the shifter, without having to engage the clutch. There’s a similar output for the downshift, and the engine automatically blips the throttle to accept the lower gear without needing to use the clutch. Once the car is rolling, the clutch isn’t necessary at any point on the track.

With this new advancement, not only has reliability increased, but also performance, so competitors can expect a 1- to 2-second advantage depending on the circuit. The intent of this upgrade, although it is a higher initial cost, is to improve the longevity and reliability of the gearbox. In the long run, it will actually save racers money.

When the season starts next month, it will be exiting to see the full field of Global MX-5 Cup cars utilizing this exciting technology!