Sep 21, 2011 update to the Mazda MX-5 Miata project car

Project STR Scores Wood at Solo Nats

Chris Harvey sweeps through the showcase turn on the fast East course.
The corner worker's raised hand confirms Project STR is plus one pylon on this run. Bummer.
Pre-race prep: Removing the trailer hitch and OE muffler took some work, but it saved nearly 40 pounds of excess weight.
Picture perfect!

Whew, that was tough. STR was the largest class at the 2011 Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals, with 64 drivers going head to head. Man, oh man, was it a battle.

On day one we drove on the faster East course, designed by GRM’s Andy Hollis. His course contained a mix of transitions and fast sections that had us hitting the rev limiter in three places. The S2000s ruled the day, holding down most of the top spots. Our project driver,s John Rogers and Chris Harvey, finished the day just 0.046 seconds apart in 17th and 18th place, respectively.

On day two we moved over to the West course, which featured endless slaloms and narrow transitions. The powerful S2000s again led the way, with Robert Thorne edging out class newcomer Nicholas Bargato on his final run by a scant 0.002 second. Rogers was able to use the nimble handling of our MX-5 to haul himself up to 13th place and in the trophies, making it the second-fastest MX-5 at the event. Harvey was not quite in sync with the car on this day; he slipped to 22nd, just 0.7 secons behind Rogers.

Amazingly, after the first 30 drivers had each racked up 2 minutes’ worth of course time, they were separated by less than 3 seconds—just 2 percent of their total times. Autocross is a game of inches, and the tight STR-class finishing order really proves it. Complete results for the Street Touring Roadster class can be found here.

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