Building a Track Car – Is it done yet?

The driver's seat hasn't been mounted yet.

Progress continues.  The big accomplishments are:  Getting both the seats in!

The Miata is not easy to fit racing seats in.  There is not much space and it got even tighter when I installed the optional door bars that came with the Hard Dog roll bar.  I tried to go the cheap route and picked up some nice seats off eBay that included sliders.  Big mistake.

Slider and fabricated mount on a seat that did not fit the car.

I should have taken advantage of the experiences of the vast community of Miata folks out there and did my research.  After realizing that the seats were never going to fit properly I took a step back and did just that.  I also consulted with one of my good track buddies that I knew had experience with racing seats and Miatas.  With all that help I settled on a pair of Momo Start seats that came with mounts. 

Here the Momo Starts are just dropped in place to see initial fit. These won't be adjustable.

After fitting them in place I saw that I could use the seat mounts that I had fabricated for my original set.  All that was required was to fabricate triangular pieces to weld on for the side mounts.

Well, it sounds simple.  I cut out cardboard templates and then transferred the results to the triangles that Mark had cut out with his plasma cutter.  Then it was time to tack weld them on to the frames with the side mounts bolted to the seats.

The passenger seats had more room and fitment was not too bad.  The seat frame were also tough to bolt down to the stock locations.  It was tight going especially for the rear bolts, but all went together and gave us confidence that the driver’s side would be as easy to accomplish.

The driver's side is even smaller than the passenger side.

It was not.  The driver’s side of the car is even tighter and the first try was a failure resulting in our having to throw out our assumptions and cut off the side mount triangles and try again with new templates and more experience in how they needed to be placed.  Frustrating, but in the long run, a good choice.  Probably the only real choice.

Here the seat frame has the "triangles" welded in place and has been painted.

We had learned a lot about shaping and bending the side mounts and just where on the seat mount they needed to be welded as well as how much clearance was really necessary to acess the rear mounting bolts.

The driver's seat is bolted to the mounting frame. Now the challenge is to find space to insert and tighten the mounting bolts.

I had also mounted the Willans (yes, that is how it is spelled) six-point harness that I had purchased with the Hard Dog roll bar.

When the mount was done for the driver’s side it looked very nice.  It even looked better with the seat mounted on it.  And better still with everything mounted in the car.


Next was the Momo steering wheel.  It was obvious that it was getting tight in the car even with the top off and would be tighter still with the hard top in place.  So it was decided to add an NRG quick disconnect to the Momo mounting. 

Momo hub adapter in place and trying to figure out horn wiring.

Since this car would have to be street legal I also used the Momo horn button.  That, of course, meant that I had to wire in to the horn circuit.  I thought I could use the clockspring as part of the circuit, but it had a built-in connector that interfered with the steering wheel mount from Momo.   I bypassed the entire stock circuit by running my own wire to the horn relay and then to the horn button.  I took three loose turns of the wire around the steering wheel shaft so it could deal with turning lock to lock without being put under tension and the horn worked.

Mounted on the top of the center console.

Doug helped me by wiring in the I-Shift display into the car’s circuits.  I purchased this gem from the folks at Flyin’ Miata. 

Flyin' Miata has some nice stuff.

If you’ve ever watched the F1 cars you have seen a set of LED lights on their steering wheels that ripple up as their rpm’s increase.  The I-Shift is much like that.  You can set what rpm the green LEDs start lighting up and at what rpm the red LED lights up.  That should ideally be in your power band that is determined on a chassis dyno.

In any case it is much easier to see and react to than an analog needle of a typical tachometer.  It is something that you can see while still focusing on the track ahead.

A little time was spent setting the low and upper limits as well as adjusting its reading to be compatible with the pulse that it received from the tachometer circuit. 

So the next major part of this project is to get the V-Maxx coil/over shock from Flyin’ Miata.  They are expected to show up some time on Friday.  No doubt they will be installed on Saturday. 

Once ride height is set then the new wheels and tires go on and the car heads over to the alignment rack at Performance chassis.  There it will receive an alignment and corner balancing.

We are very close!

Getting there

This entry was posted in Automobiles, Car Stuff, Care and Feeding, Cars, Life and Cars, Modifying Cars, Racing, Road Racing, Sports Cars. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Building a Track Car – Is it done yet?

  1. Jim's sister says:

    So complicated and you make it look easy. Great job, Jim (and Mark, too!)

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