The 25th anniversary of Mazda’s iconic Miata roadster is as good a reason as any to reflect on this car’s impact on the grassroots motorsports community. The MX-5 Miata is entering its fourth generation, and even though each previous generation of the Miata has its own sub-crowd of devoted fans, the cumulative effect on grassroots racing is huge. The new 2016 Mazda MX-5 was recently launched at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and it’s easy to see how each new version of the Miata improved upon its predecessor. That’s a specialty of the Mazda Racing Development team, as John Doonan, the Director of Mazda Motorsports North America, explained to Autobytel. Supporting grassroots racing is great for the racing community, but it also helps Mazda figure out ways to improve their cars by testing the cars in an intense environment that can’t be matched. Watching and studying the cars on the racetrack has actually inspired design and engineering changes that were implemented on the Miata’s production lines in Japan, resulting in better cars for consumers around the world. The MAZDASPEED development program also offers parts and technical support to grassroots and amateur race car drivers, as well as providing opportunities to help further and support racers’ careers. Mazda Motorsports also sponsors math and science programs to help educate the next generation of automotive engineers.