1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda Miata: Thanks

March 21, 2013

1997 Mazda Miata

Now, a word of thanks.

A lot of people did their part, and did them very well, to make this whole road trip/track day/dream come true happen.

Our Miata has been flawless. It's proven that you can actually run a dual purpose car on a budget. During the course of the weekend, I used every bit of this car, from the air conditioning, cruise control, defroster to the anti-lock brakes. I remember there being some doubt as to why Jay had decided to leave the conveniences of this car intact, but he was right to do so. On the road, it behaved like a road car and on the track, like a track car. What more could you want?

Of course any 1997 Miata could have done what this one did, but ours is a little special. Starting from the front, and its Kraftwerks supercharger kit. It wasn't a rocket ship, but it was never lacking for punch. The whoosh from the waste gate on every upshift does wonders for your ego, too.

Part of the handling thanks goes to the Hankook Ventus RS3s. They're not rain tires but they were never, ever spooky. And I drove hard through some of the heaviest rain you're likely to see in California. They look damn good stretched over the 949 Racing 6ULs, too. If you have a Miata, you need to buy these wheels.

Fat Cat Suspension gets the rest of the handling thanks. How this car sits so low, but rides and handles so well is beyond me. I'll just chalk it up to black magic. Don't half-ass your suspension, by this stuff too.

Blackbird Fabworx has worked with us on this project since day one. The craftsmanship on the six-point roll bar garnered praise from everyone who saw it. It ties the chassis together, and it doesn't obstruct visibility. Blackbird has also worked to find solutions to our seating concerns. Being over six feet tall and wearing a helmet was never an issue. Not once did my helmet touch the roll bar padding.

Speaking of seats, the Cobra Suzuka is fantastic. I'm on the big end of what this seat can accept, but once I was in the seat just disappeared. It never pinched or failed to support me, either on the highway or the track. And the Schroth belts? Those were equally as invisible once I cinched them down. I'm probably going to buy a set for my personal car.

1997 Mazda Miata

A ton of thanks needs to go to TrackMasters. They ran a great track weekend. No one ever wanted for a better atmosphere, snacks, professionalism or instruction. Thanks, too, to Don, my instructor. You kept me from learning a TON of bad habits and you didn't throw up or hit me once.

And thanks too, to gotbluemilk.com photography. Look, track day photography is not easy. You spend a lot of time outside, running from corner to corner, session to session to try and make ordinary people look like heroes. If you do a track day, do yourself a favor and buy a shot or two of you driving on track. You'll have some new, actually cool, pictures to add to your Facebook page and you'll be supporting someone who works pretty hard for a living. Be cool and pass the photos down to your kids.

1997 Mazda Miata

So, yeah, thanks everybody. Now go and drive on a track.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor

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