Knife to a Gun Fight

Update by John Rogers to the Mazda MX-5 Miata project car
Mar 22, 2010

Check out that body roll.

With just over 600 miles on its odometer, it was time to stretch our Mazda MX-5’s legs. The Tire Rack’s Chris Harvey and John Rogers flew down from Indiana and ran the car in the Tire Rack SCCA Solo Dixie National Tour in southern Georgia.

The GRM/Tire Rack MX-5 was the proverbial knife at this gun fight. While the competition included fully prepped S2000s and MR-2 Spyders, our car had nothing but an autocross-friendly alignment to maximize negative camber. That’s right, our suspension, tires and wheels were bone stock. Even the owner’s manual was still in the glove box.

After a cone-fest on day one—ahem, for one of the drivers—day two was an improvement. Chris and John finished eighth and 11th, respectively, out of 13 drivers. They were just over 8 seconds behind the winner.

This was the first National Tour of the year, and S2000s claimed the top three spots; MR-2 Spyders took the next three. While the S2000s looked dominant on this high-speed course, the jury is still out on which car will dominate the class. We expect proper tires and wheels plus other vehicle prep over the summer to help close the gap between the leaders.

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View comments on the GRM forums
3/27/10 12:13 a.m.

This looks like a fun project. I love Miatas

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/31/10 8:31 a.m.

What class was it running in?

superblackser New Reader
7/26/10 11:31 a.m.

As a subscriber (with the 10 year plan, highly recommend it!) I find that the information online for this project is so scant as to be sort of interesting...but not really. What would really tighten up this Project for me is a) not having to go back to the magazine for info when I read online b) telling us more about the things you do at the events, changes, setup, etc. other than "we added KW variants and our time got better".

For example, with stock suspension what were the handling characteristics that you feel made the car less competitive? What tire pressures did you run with and how were the tire temps with those pressures? I am guessing like me you scribble down, record, or in some way keep a lot of information for your autocross events. Temp, conditions, surface, tires, air pressures, suspension tweaks if any done for the course, course layout (tight, open, fast, heavy on slalom, etc).

I think a lot of your readers are like myself, they can relate to this kind of information because they also compete (or plan to) at some level in motorsports. Technical information is great stuff, tech coupled to outcomes even better, even if some of that is speculation as to why things changed. And event coverage and results, minimize that in the magazine, it's online well before the next issue.

Keep up the good work, yours is one of the few I truly look forward to reading each month!

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