Mazda has, for many years, verified and improved the potential of its MX-5 to problem the giants and function the proverbial David within the cliche that it typically finds itself in compared by value and, in fact, measurement. Its zippy angle and unparalleled maneuverability have locked it into a distinct segment—and value level—that its prospects are snug with whereas Mazda’s R&D division quietly dials it in nearer to perfection. However what about an MX-5 that has the identical energy, prices practically $70Ok, and cannot be pushed on public roads?
Appears like a crock at first blush, actually. However, as you knew there can be, there is a catch that not solely qualifies the MX-5 Cup ND2 as a worthwhile purchase but additionally as a profession alternative for drivers behind the wheel of 1 on any given race weekend.
The ND2 variant is seen as a major step up compared to the ND1, the latter serving as the only selection for the International MX-5 Cup collection till 2019 (the 2 now run side-by-side in separate courses). Tom Lengthy, proprietor of Lengthy Highway Racing and builder of each MX-5 Cup automotive on the grid, gave The Drive a fast run-through of the automotive this weekend at Circuit of the Americas the place over 30 entries hit the three.Four-mile monitor for the 2019 season-opener.
First, Lengthy defined the headliner improve lies inside the 2.Zero-liter powerplant which now makes 181 horsepower in ND2 type, a 26-hp bump over its entry-level sibling. It has an elevated rev vary that tops out at 7,500 rpm, optimizing the automotive’s capacity to make the most of energy throughout the circuit without having to upshift or downshift as regularly.
“Much more than the additional horsepower, [the 800 rpm-increase] makes an enormous distinction so far as drivability on the race monitor,” Lengthy famous. “Both you’ve got bought loads of corners the place you are within the low finish of this gear, or needing to shift consistently, and now you can carry no matter gear you are in into the following nook with out having to upshift.”
Managing the fine-tuned powerplant is a Bosch ECU, which Lengthy claims to be a marginal enchancment over the ND1’s pc. Along with smoother and extra environment friendly working, it is stated to be extremely tamper-proof, a should in a collection of spec racers that are required to run with similar tools.
Rounding out the engine tweaks is a beefed-up cooling package deal which merely permits the automotive to run extra reliably whereas taking in additional air. Small, however important for the well being of the facility unit because it spends most of its time close to the heightened redline.
These collective modifications, together with different mods corresponding to a strengthened transmission, add as much as a $10Ok premium over the ND1. That being stated, the International MX-5 Cup collection awards over $375,000 in scholarships yearly for profitable drivers, serving to them to step up the ladder towards whichever route they resolve to take: sports activities vehicles or open-wheel.
Mazda’s unwavering dedication to grassroots racing has introduced many drivers from the underside to the highest, and for a fraction of the worth of different nationwide collection, you’ll be able to have your individual seat in what’s develop into one of the crucial aggressive leagues in American motorsport.