Jul 17, 2017 update to the Mazda Miata project car

Project Turbo Miata: A Fresh Engine for Our Endurance Racer

After our disastrous Daytona outing with the ChumpCar World Series presented by RVA Graphics & Wraps, we knew that we needed a better plan for our low-buck Mazda Miata endurance racer. No, our car’s blown head gasket wasn’t the used engine’s fault, but we suspect that a fresher engine might have withstood some mild overheating a tad better than our 200,000-mile unit. If nothing else, we figured the prospect was at least worth investigating.

Wow, were we ever shortsighted. While used 1.8-liter engines are worth about $700, Treasure Coast Miata offers completely refreshed short blocks for $1500, with rebuilt heads available for $550. We weren’t about to throw away another weekend’s worth of gas, race entry, hotels and time over a $1300 difference, so we had Treasure Coast Miata build us a 1.8-liter Miata engine to stock specs.

Our goal? Not big power, but big reliability. We did perhaps go a tad overboard, though: Thanks to our friends at ARP Fasteners, our new engine sports significantly stronger nuts and bolts. Add a little extra expense for a new timing belt and water pump set, too. Why? Call it all insurance for the turbo: Yes, despite a few reliability issues, we’re going to keep trying to make our junkyard WRX turbocharger reliable in an endurance race.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/18/17 12:13 a.m.

The $500 limit?

ross2004
ross2004 Reader
7/18/17 8:24 a.m.
Jerry From LA wrote: The $500 limit?

Irrelevant for ChumpCar; Lemons might raise an eyebrow.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
7/18/17 8:32 a.m.

Correct. ChumpCar is points-based, meaning a brand new stock engine is worth exactly as much as a 200,000 mile core.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
7/18/17 3:28 p.m.

Y'all should put a couple more GRM stickers on the car. I can't quite tell that it's your car yet

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