1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda Miata: Racing

April 8, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart

Sometimes I think I'd like to go racing. Get a dual-duty car, a sturdy daily driver that can handle a monthly track day. Buy some dedicated wheels and tires, have Mike Monticello show me the best line around a track, then ignore his advice entirely. Work my way up to the Porsche Club and start embarrassing all the teeth cleaners and plastic surgeons (a tip from experience: if your dentist likes to go racing, find another dentist). The cars, the champagne, the trophy wives: it all looks like a fun time.

Then I drive the Miata and realize how difficult it is to achieve that balance. The Miata still has all you need for daily duty: A/C, heat, radio, power mirrors and windows, intoxicating blower whine. But Project Miata demands concession. It's loud, harsh and stiff. The trans tunnel butts up against the new seat's thigh bolster and prevents me from getting as close to the pedals as I'd like. To reach the power window switches on the center console, I swing my left arm across my body while steering with the right.

Why? Because race car, as the meme goes. It's then I realize I already have an expensive beer habit. And a fondness for Telecasters and old drums doesn't leave much else for slicks, parts and gas. As it is, I gotta keep my kid's forehand in shape, keep her on track for that Stanford tennis scholarship. For now, I confine my racing impulses to the couch with some Green Flash IPA and encourage Kimi in his F1 spoiler campaign.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

Comments

  • Love this entry, Dan! Well said!

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Get thee to a kart track good sir. You can go wheel-to-wheel racing without risk of smashing up your daily driver, and it is cheaper too. Cal Speed at Auto Club Speedway has a pretty fantastic arrive-and-drive program, $125 gets you full kart and equipment rental, 10 minute practice session, GWC qualifying, 2 10 lap heats, and a 15 lap main. Its competitive too. I lap people (twice, often) at my local indoor track, but only wound up 80 out of 100 last time I went out at Cal Speed.

  • I identify with this post completely. My "project miata" currently receiving a new rear subframe, rear upright, rear upper control arm, front upper control arm, inner tie rod, wheel, and diff housing from my last off at an HPDE. An estimate for a "race car paintjob" is forthcoming... I wasn't even racing...

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