Project STR Trophies at the Peru National Tour

Update by John Rogers to the Mazda MX-5 Miata project car
Jul 7, 2010

Chris Harvey powers around the final turn at the Peru National Tour

What makes the MX-5 go faster? To find out, we’ve been hard at work installing and testing suspension components as well as different wheel-and-tire combinations. To put our efforts to the test we competed in the Tire Rack SCCA National Tour in Peru, Indiana, this past weekend. Fifteen drivers showed up in an array of vehicles, including a Honda S2000, Pontiac Solstice, BMW Z3 and our Mazda MX-5.

Day one saw Mike Lillejord jump out to a half-second lead in his Pontiac Solstice over Matt Glagola in his S2000. Our MX-5 was less than .2 second farther back with Chris Harvey at the wheel, while John Rogers was just another .1 second behind in fourth place. Sunday dawned a new day with a revised course layout that featured a six-cone slalom and several fast, decreasing-radius turns. Chris and John tweaked the tire pressures and shock settings to help the MX-5 better put down power when driving off the corners.

Chris and John used this to their advantage, posting the two quickest times of the day in the STR class. When the dust settled, the margin Mike and Matt gained on day one was too much for our MX-5 to overcome. Chris and John took home third and fourth, respectively, about 0.5 second behind the winner.

As a reference point for how the project is progressing, this weekend second-place Matt Glagola was driving the car that won the Dixie Tour earlier in the year, where we were over 8 seconds behind. At least on this day, on this course, we closed the gap between his car and ours to a scant 0.015-second margin. We still need to figure out how to chase down Mike and his Solstice. I guess we have a little more work to do.

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View comments on the GRM forums
mustclime New Reader
7/12/10 9:57 a.m.

up your spring rates and go back to the stock sways.

8/1/10 2:00 p.m.

So wheels/tires, coilovers, and sway bars made the car 8 seconds faster? that is quite a lot..I wonder how much of it is from seat time and driver improvement and learning the car.

8/3/10 4:11 p.m.

I'm sure our seat time has helped us learn what the driver can do to help the car go faster. But Chris and I both feel the car has changed quite a bit since we ran it bone stock at the Dixie Tour.

We've been documenting the performance change each step of the way, with the tire and wheel information featured in the October issue that hits news stands any day now. You'll be surprised how much of that 8 seconds comes from finding the right combination of tires and wheels...

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