Its been a while since my last track day and I’ve been itching to return to VIR and get some time in HPDE (High Performance Driving Education).
While I certainly enjoyed the power and handling of the Evolution VIII MR that I used as a track car it was tough to have to deal with its demise back in 2009. While I did replace it with an Evo IX MR and spent a good deal of time modifying it to my liking I knew that I would not risk it as a track car.
I did want to find a car that I could take to the track and not feel like I was going to risk trashing something that I would really miss. I explored the options of just what to build up as a track car. I considered finding an Evolution and dedicating just to track use. The budget just wouldn’t support that.
The Mazda Miata has a great record as an exceptionally well-balanced car that can be a lot of fun on a road racing track. Certainly it doesn’t bring a lot of power to the table, but it is an excellent tool for improving one’s driving skills.
The trick was to find one that wasn’t too expensive and yet was in good enough shape to transform it into a primary track car.
It took a while but I finally found a 1996 Miata M Edition for a reasonable price and in acceptable condition.
A good friend has granted me access to his garage workshop so that work can begin on the transformation.
I also had to consider just how I would prepare this Miata. I had some choices to pick from. The Miata has become so popular that a class has been created just for it much like the Spec E30 BMW. The Spec Miata class limits modifications so that the emphasis is on the driver and not the modifications. This approach keeps costs in line and results in some real exciting competition.
The thing is that I don’t plan to actually race in competition. No, I want to work on my high performance driving skills.
So I have decided to modify the Miata to make the most of its balance and handling so that I have a vehicle that will allow me to learn more about the art off driving at speed and not concern myself with competing in a series.
So here is the starting point in photos with many more segments to come.