1994 Race Miata

I bought a Spec Miata from Mark Gregory in April 2017. It was a good car from his rental fleet, and delivery I had him install NB top hats and FCR bump stops. He delivered it to me at the AER Watkins Glen race, and raced with us. Lap times were in the 2:23-2:25 range on 205 StarSpecs. Our fastest lap (Ben) was 2:22.

In my second stint I crashed in T6 and ended the weekend for everyone on my team, as well as another team running one of the nicest e30s I’ve seen. Apparently I suck at racing.

After the frame was straightened out, we entered the WGI Chumpcar race and were about 5-6 seconds slower, with a best of 2:29. This was because the accident pushed the engine rearward and broke a coolant sensor. This put the engine in safe mode the whole time, and we didn’t figure that out at the track. Based on simulations, this is a difference of 20-25 hp. It was still a fun race, though.

I fixed everything for the Thompson race, and decided I’d never race Spec Miata, so made some minor improvements: CAI, airdam, cut bumper, removed weight, etc. The clutch was slipping half way through the race, and it felt like time to freshen the engine, so it went to Berg Racing over the winter.

Over the winter Berg Racing worked on the engine and drivetrain. He got way more power than I expected. To this I added a fastback and more aero (wing, splitter extension, vents, ducting, etc). We also got 8 brand new rims and 225 RS4 tires, larger Sport front brakes. Novec fire system, new belts, and other stuff.

But somehow the car was mysteriously down on power as soon as we rolled onto WGI, and we spent a lot of time trying to diagnose why the car felt like it was in startup mode again. It felt like less than 100 again. Later I’d find out that when Berg Racing installed the MS PNP2, his tuner deleted the MAF, but didn’t add an air temp sensor. I’m still shaking my head on that one.

It’s a moot point, because a coolant hose split on the 4th lap and we retired with an overheated engine. We tore it down, replaced the head, and got back out on the second day, but the engine was now consuming oil and obviously still down on power. On the plus side, Patrick Cornwall passed a bunch of cars in a pretty heroic rain race.

This year we replaced the engine with a bone stock motor and we’ll race that engine until it expires. Berg Racing’s new tuner got 120 hp on their Mustang dyno. For calculations in OptimumLap, I corrected this to 135 hp.

At our most recent race at Mid Ohio, I wasn’t impressed with the power. We’re going to put the old “race” head back on and then tune it again. This should give us a bit more compression and flow.