Jul 3, 2007 update to the Mazda STS2 Miata project car

Strong STS2 competition in the Heartland

Our Miata diggin’ Peru’s amazingly grippy concrete
Proper motivation is key at the start line

It was another week, and another National Series win for our Miata. While it sounds very “ho-hum”, it was anything but as the competition was fierce this time. Indy region member Geoff Chambers used his local knowledge of the site and the course designer’s tendencies to put up a strong fight in his Miata, as did Ian Baker whose CRX prowess is well-known. After the first day, only a tenth of a second separated each of the top three places.

The second day’s course provided a more of a technical challenge, but still retained the sweeper-oriented flavor of the previous day. It also presented a setup choice for us, as the first section featured some quick sections where we’d run out of gear on our 15” Bridgestones, but the back half of the course was full of slower corners that we’d need the shorter tires to dig out of. In the end, the trade-off seemed worth it, and we just banged the rev limiter a bunch on the first half. The other big challenge was getting used to the amazing level of grip provided by the Peru surface. We never pushed the car hard enough the first day, and only on our second run of the second day did we finally find the limits consistently. Doing so, we pulled out to a half-second lead which is where it ended.

The other setup note is that we did not initially run our normal concrete setup (more rear bar) because the car felt great during the Test and Tune runs on Friday. Given the sweeper-oriented nature of the competition courses, we should have gone back to those settings. It was only when we finally found the limits of the surface during competition that the dreaded steady-state understeer reared its head. For our final run on the second day we hooked the rear bar back up and dropped another tenth on the clock. More importantly, the car felt a LOT better. That one will go in the setup notebook for future reference.

Next up is Milwaukee for another National Tour against some of the same competitors. But this time its on medium grip asphalt and at a site that we struggled at last year. Hopefully, this will not be a repeat of San Diego…

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