Sep 11, 2009 update to the Mazda Miata Turbo project car

Live From Solo Nationals

We hit the road to Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday morning. You may recognize the distinctive green wheels that we borrowed from our editorial director's collection.
Our project car was quite a sight to see on the road. We got lots of thumbs-up from fellow motorists; these young ladies were particularly enthused by our car's visual theme.
We arrived at Lincoln Air Park late on Sunday. After a quick nap, we were on site bright and early Monday to prepare the magazine sales booth and get the car ready for competition.
For competition, we used a fresh set of Hoosier A6 tires in a monstrous 275/35R15 size.
We weren't the only ones in the SSM class with giant tires. This Porsche went with an even larger wheel and tire package.
Our strongest competitors were also Mazdas; RX-7s have dominated the SSM class from its inception.
Here's our national championship entry in grid. Also visible is fellow Miata driver Chris Swearingen's car; Chris was very helpful throughout the event and gave us some pointers for future development.

Our time at the SCCA Solo Nationals has been successful so far. The car behaved beautifully during the 1500-mile trek from GRM headquarters in Florida. Our current suspension offers the flexibility to work well as both a daily driver and autocrosser, so we didn’t even have sore backs when we arrived at the championship event in Lincoln, Neb.

Over two days of competition, our daily driven underdog mixed it up with some of the country’s fastest cars in the Super Street Modified class. While we didn’t have any expectation of an overall win, we were eager to see exactly how our project would stack up against the more serious entries.

We posted some fairly competitive times, but at the end of the first day we had only managed to place 17th out of the 23 entries. The second day of competition went better, and thanks to some bad weather we climbed two places to finish 15th in class. This result was about where we had hoped to be. We were even ahead of some extremely powerful cars, including a Dodge Viper, a Ferrari F430 Scuderia and a couple of turbocharged Porsche 911s.

Despite the “Street” part of our class’s name, we weren’t surprised to see that we were the only ones in SSM who had driven their car to the event. As such, we were a bit overweight and underpowered compared to the other cars, making our mid-pack finish a bit sweeter than it would have been otherwise. Our conservative driving technique may have left some time on course, but we made it through the competition without hitting a single cone.

Just because the Miata is finished, however, doesn’t mean that our Solo Nationals adventure is over. Thursday and Friday, Tech Editor Per Schroeder and GRM reader Joe Gonzalez will test their mettle in the B Modified class; they’re co-driving Joe’s LeGrand Sports Racer. Wish them luck as they chase a trophy!

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View comments on the GRM forums
thatsnowinnebago Dork
9/11/09 11:07 p.m.

wow, a canoe comment. Didn't think that would happen. On a more serious note, I was unaware you could fit 275s on a miata. Are those the 15X9 6ULs?

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
9/12/09 10:29 p.m.

Yep, you nailed our wheel and tire setup exactly. It fits the car well after a rolling the fenders, although we discovered a little bit of rubbing on the upper shock mounts at nationals. When we use these wheels with the 225/45R15 Nittos, there's no rub at all.

Our Fat Cat Variant coilovers help; they have a narrower spring diameter than some setups. We think we can fix the rubbing by grinding a teensy bit from the mount.

We could also eliminate the rub by going to fender flares and a small wheel spacer, but after installing the wrap I don't plan to go that route anytime soon.

Jaxmadine Dork
11/11/09 8:36 p.m.

gunna bring it to deland in november to woop my butt?

3/20/10 9:11 a.m.

How do you like the FCM coilover setup? So far I am hearing good things about it.

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