It’s been quite the bumpy road on the way to making my car competitive in C Street Prepared. I started the project at the end of 2013 not really having the intent of ending up where I am now. I definitely remember telling myself I wasn’t going to cut the fenders on this car. As you can probably tell by the feature image on this post, I didn’t listen to my own advice.

At the end of 2013 I picked up a lightly used NB2 engine to swap into my 1996 NA. This was all towards building a car that would dominate the “Street Tire” classes at some of the local clubs that didn’t follow SCCA classing. The car was insanely fun, but quickly realized I wanted to go faster. So, half way through 2014 I ordered my first set of Hankook Z214 r-comps. Hooked.

I also did my first ever SCCA event, and got 10th in PAX. That’s when I realized I might as well finish what I’ve started.

Over the 2015 winter break, I did some of the bigger CSP prep items to the car; removing the soft top and adding aero. I wasn’t mentally (or financially) prepared to cut the fenders yet and go to big boy tires, so I stuck with the Hankooks. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face after that first run with aero. It just didn’t make sense. The car seemed to defy physics as just when you thought you’d gotten everything out if it, there was still more left in it. 2015 had some huge pluses, though, like getting 4th overall in PAX at the Devens Championship Tour, 8th in PAX for the year at NER and class championships at Renegade Miata and Boston BMW.

But, most of the year I was plagued with engine issues that killed many events. With the help of a few great people (Leafy and Bob), the endless issues seem to have mostly gone away. At mostly random points, the Megasquirt ECU would lose sync of the engine, which would cause it just misfire badly, or just shut off. We went through everything over and over and nothing seemed to fix it. Finally, I gave in and decided to replace the cam shaft. That turned into an absolute nightmare. Mazdaspeed did not have the right camshaft in stock and it would have been over a month to wait for them to get it. So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and order a rebuilt cylinder head. I had planned on doing this over the winter anyway, so I figured doing it now would save me some money. Wrong. The cylinder head I received ended up being bad…likely some sort of debris between the cam journals and the cam that caused the intake cam to seize in the freshly built head. The company that supplied it refused to do anything about it, and that was the end of the season.

By the time that was over with, Mazdaspeed had the right cam in stock. Over the 2016 winter I had my original cylinder head rebuilt and the new cam installed with all new valve springs so I could “safely” (read: more confidently) up the rev limiter. At this point, I also had brand new sets of 15×10 and 15×11 949 6UL’s, and 949 Xida’s to replace the old Koni and Ground Control setup. I also swapped to an NB front sub frame and steering rack.

Current details of the car and setup:

  • 1996 Mazda Miata
  • Engine
    • ’01 VVT engine ’99 intake manifold
    • Megasquirt MS3 ECU
    • Flyin’ Miata 36-2 trigger wheel (which solved many of the engine issues)
  • Suspension
    • 949 Xida’s with 800lb front springs, 500lb rear springs
    • Small Fortune Racing speedway style front sway bar
    • No rear sway bar
    • NB front subframe and steering rack
  • Wheels/Tires
    • 15×10 and 15×11 949 6UL’s
    • 15×10 original Spinwerks
    • 275/35/15 Hoosier A7’s

At the DC Pro Solo, the car weighed 2079lbs. There’s still some weight to be removed in the exhaust (heaviest Racing Beat option), and I also have a full size battery. So there’s a fairly easy 20-30lbs or more yet to be removed. Among the future upgrades will also be switching to E85 from normal 93 octane pump gas. That should help a bit in the power department.

Stay tuned for future updates and event recaps.