1997 Mazda Miata: sharpening the
Mazda did a great job on the basic package. The average driver
doesn't use this car to it's full potential even in stock form.
But what happens when the driver is an ex-racer used to spending
his time at the sharp end of the stick? To quote Duntov, the car
needs to be "crisp." That's where we come in.
Part 1: Suspension
There is a fair amount of aftermarket support for the Miata, but
to the novice that can be as much of a curse as a blessing... it's
easy to make the wrong decisions. These cars are a delicate balancing
act of chassis and suspension stiffness, and we've seen Miatas out
there with so much spring that the suspension barely moves. If you're
driving a fully caged racecar on a smooth track that's great, but
if not, what's absorbing the bumps? Those squeaks you hear are the
This is not going to be an all-out race car. The owner has been
there, done that, and doesn't want it again. It will see the occasional
autocross, but it's primary mission is to be an everyday play toy.
We're building a car that works on the "real" streets
we encounter here in So Cal: that means using wheel travel efficiently
to absorb road imperfections instead of richocheting off them.
Looks pretty standard, but there's more here than meets the eye.
What's up with that sway bar link? That's one our our little secret
weapons (patent pending) to reduce the Miata's roll-oversteer issues.
These are not available anywhere else: contact
us if you'd like a set for your car.
Two more items you can't see are trick shock tops from the nice
folks at Flyin' Miata, and our own custom-tuned bumpstops. Together
these give the car quite a bit more bump travel before the stops
come into play: not only does this contribute to reducing the roll-oversteer
issue, it also improves ride comfort.
To keep a uniform increase in spring rate all around, we're using
a mix-and-match of Racing Beat Street and Race springs front and
rear. We've used KYB shocks many times over the years with good
results: their AGX shocks are a great choice with our spring package.
These are fun little cars... if you've never driven one, you should.
Stay tuned for Part 2...
where we prove once again that more power is always better!