Project Turbo Miata: Track Testing

Update by Tom Suddard to the Mazda Miata project car
Feb 13, 2018

Why do we keep losing races? Simple: Our car always explodes. Why does our car explode? Also simple: We usually skip over the most important part of racing: Testing. Sure, we’ve been to a few test days, but they always ended in failure. Then, we’d spend so much time fixing that failure that we wouldn’t have another chance to test the car, which would keep us from finding the rest of the car’s failures until we were in the middle of a race.

This time, we were going to do things differently. After installing our new engine, we put the car on the Very Cool Parts dyno for a while. It didn’t blow up! So, we loaded up the trailer and headed to Talladega Gran Prix. This beautiful 1.40-mile track has a ton of run-off area, so it’s fast enough to really stress a car, but safe enough to avoid any big risks right before a big race. Even better: It’s affordable, and the track is happy to rent to a group of friends.

We started out by doing a few 3/4-speed laps, then pulled into the paddock to look the car over. The verdict? Success! No leaks or noises. So we went back out on track, running continuously at race pace for nearly an hour. For the first time since our very first race with the turbo, things went well. No breakdowns, no funny smells, and no increased coolant temps: We saw a consistent 195 degrees on the temp gauge.

We’d solved our gross mechanical issues, so now we could move onto the next item on our to-do list: Suspension tuning. We’ll tackle that in the next update.

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