Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
2/4/15 11:21 a.m.

Racing takes time and effort. Lots of time and effort. Continuous time and effort. Though our $500 Miata has seen its fair share of action on track, lately we've been busy making magazines and messing with other projects. The Miata, in contrast, just sat under a car cover. We even scrounged a few parts off of it. Urgent to-dos for this car that we scribbled down at the track were lost to the wind.

We needed some motivation to set this race car straight. So we signed up for a race that's just three days away. We'll (hopefully) be competing in the 24 Hours of LeMons 'Shine Country Classic at Barber Motorsports Park. Sound familiar? It should. We raced there last year but had a less-than-impressive showing.

Honestly, we didn't know how to run a proper race team back then. After all, we're car enthusiasts and journalists–not crew chiefs. Luckily, we know someone who is: Wayne Presley of Very Cool Parts volunteered to show us how the (semi-)pros do it. He spends his days working on race cars and is a veteran of a few competitive ChumpCar teams. He also has a lifetime of SCCA racing under his belt.

So we drug our little lemon up to Enterprise, Alabama, and let Wayne work his magic. We identified a few main things that needed attention: Our seat was only barely safe enough, our roll cage was too short for our larger drivers, our "fire system" would likely let us burn to a crisp, our battery was held down poorly, and our suspension needed work.

The photos and captions tell the whole story, but we have to thank our sponsors. The following companies were kind enough to send us products for this update:

Very Cool Parts
MPT Industries
Red Line Synthetic Oil
SPA Technique

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Klayfish UltraDork
2/4/15 11:34 a.m.

We'll be there too, driving the repainted truck in my avatar. I'll try not to hold you up too much...

2/7/15 9:56 a.m.

Something I don't see mentioned often is raising your idle for racing. My '96 miata takes to it rather well. Simple as turning the idle control screw on the side of the throttle body. A (miata) motor is far more responsive at 2000 rpm than at 750. Also helps prevent stalling if you have a "doh" moment. I've found rev matching, throttle blips, heel-toe all much easier and faster with the idle set high. For the '96 to set it back, put the timing pin (fancy paperclip) in the jumper under the hood and lower the idle, then remove the pin. My '00 miata reset procedure is a bit more specific to not throw a CEL but not too hard. -Good luck!

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