Project Track Miata: Intro
Mazda created the modern roadster market when they released the 1990 Miata in the US market. Not since the early 1970s had there been a need or demand for a this kind of convertible, and then it was ruled by the Brits. Over the last 18 years the popularity of the Miata has grown, and Mazda's success has paved the way for BMW (Z3/Z4), Honda (S2000) and Pontiac (Solstice) to provide more variations on the sporty, compact convertible. Mazda's formula for success was simple: Build a light weight, compact, reliable and, most importantly, great handling roadster that anyone could afford. And build they did; Mazda has sold 400,000+ Miatas in the US since the release (and, approaching 800,000 world wide).
The 50/50 weight distribution, four-wheel independent suspension and rear-wheel drive power train layout instantly made the Miata a driver's reality car (there was no need to dream with a $13,000 sticker price!). While the 90-93 Miata came with a 1.6L, 110hp four-banger, most Miata owners will tell you it's not about the how fast you go in a straight line, it's about the speed you can carry through the corners. The Miata quickly found its way into various forms of grass roots motorsports. The Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) SOLO2 (autocross) program offered many Miata owners a venue to display theirs and their car's prowess between the cones. Miatas became the car to have in several classes and their drivers have won many national titles. To this day there are several autocross classes that you pretty much must have a Miata to be competitive in.
The enormous number of Miatas that were taken to the race track for track days gave way to one of the most popular & successful entry level racing classes that is offered today: Spec Miata (SM). SM allows drivers of many experience levels to compete in closely prepared Miatas. SM cars are limited in the modifications that can be made and this makes for extremely close competition that too often results in lots of beat up cars (and this has earned the class the unflattering moniker "Wreck Pinata"). The carnage not withstanding, SM makes for exciting, and relatively inexpensive wheel to wheel racing opportunities for anyone with the know how and budget.
If you have any questions or comments please send me an email.
Read on to find out what I've done and am going to do with my 1993 Mazda Miata!
Table of Contents:
- Let's Go Shopping: Shopping for a Suitable Miata.
- Upping the Fun Factor: The Four Keys to Cornering.
- Where's the Beef(ier Sways)?: Eibach Swaybars are Great.
- Power Hungry: All About the Flow
- Gauging Interest: Getting a Read On My Oil
- Where it Really Matters: Shaking it Down On the Track
- Back Blast Area: Dulcet Tones
- Bigger Is Better: 200cc Never Looked so Good