We Are the Champions

Update by John Rogers to the Mazda MX-5 Miata project car
Aug 9, 2010

Project STR makes its way to another win.
The KW coil-overs and Hotchkis anti-roll bars help get maximum cornering power from the Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec tires.

It’s been a busy two weeks for Project STR.

Our first outing took us to Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the CENDIV Divisional Championship. This area has been a hotbed for street tire competition, so plenty of fast drivers were on hand to help us gauge our performance. GRM/Tire Rack drivers Chris Harvey and John Rogers traded fast times both days, with Chris pulling out the win with really quick times on his fourth and fifth runs.

Fast-forward one week to the Great Lakes Divisional Championship in Peru, Indiana. This site is the best simulation of the Nationals course surface we can find east of the Mississippi. We faced plenty of stiff competition from Midwest STR class regulars Nick Jackson and Andy Hohl as well as a few surprise faces. New-school “alien” Tom O’Gorman jumped into the class driving Geoff Chambers’s STS-prepped NA Miata. Even autocross legend Jim McKamey jumped into Kevin Taylor’s Pontiac Solstice to try his hand at racing on “street” tires.

The battle was tight all weekend, with Chris Harvey out in front after day one by just 0.060 second. The course on day two was fast and hard to visualize in a few spots, but that didn’t slow down Project STR. John Rogers threw down a crushing second run that no one could match, but it wasn’t enough to make up for his deficit from day one. Chris Harvey was the second quickest at 0.4 second back, while Jim McKamey was less than a tenth behind. Nick Jackson experimented with a wing on his S2000 and ultimately went faster without it.

After two days, the three trophy spots were covered by a scant 0.078 second, with Chris Harvey, Nick Jackson and John Rogers finishing first through third, respectively. STRL driver Angie Rogers also got her first taste of the MX-5 this season, winning the Ladies championship and getting primed for Nationals next month.

If the competition at the Tire Rack SCCA Pro Solo Finale and Solo National Championship in Lincoln, Nebraska, next month is this tight, it’s going to be a heck of a battle to see which combination of driver, car and tire comes out on top. We think we’re ready for the challenge.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Bobzilla PowerDork
8/12/10 9:38 a.m.

You guys looked amazing out there both days. Car looked, sounded and performed great! Good luck!

nderwater PowerDork
8/12/10 11:09 a.m.

Awesome to see the new MX-5 so competitive. Props to Chris and John!

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