MX-5 SOLO Development- CS – Continues
Mazda Motorsports is continuing to move forward on developing parts for the new MX-5 Miata with the help of SCCA Solo National Champion Ron Bauer. In our previous feature, we outlined the expectations of this development program; now it’s time to start going into a little more depth.
Bauer is running a 2016 MX-5, Club model, with the Brembo/BBS package. This package was chosen due to its lighter Brembo brakes and BBS wheels. Although aftermarket wheels can be sourced that are comparable in weight to the stock BBS, in CS, competitors are limited to the stock brake calipers. A few pounds in weight savings may not seem like much, but in the Street classes, most drivers try to save every ounce they can in an effort to have an advantage over their competitors. In the case of Bauer’s car, with the floor mats and flat kit removed, along with a minimal amount of gas, his car weighs in at just 2259lbs! This is with the stock tires, so keep in mind that the weight will be a little higher with proper sized tires.
While the exhibition CS MX-5 performed quite well at the 2015 Solo Nationals, the adjustability of the parts on that car was limited. Therefore, Mazda Motorsports set out to source parts that had much larger ranges to determine where the “sweet” spot is, while still allowing each competitor plenty of room to fine tune their own car to their preferences.
First to the table was a set of shocks. The stock Bilsteins work very well, but with the car in stock trim with just an alignment adjustment (about -1.4 degrees of camber all around with 1/16″ toe-out up front and 1/16″ toe-in – out back,) the car was very tail happy. To tame this, a split in air pressure of about 7lbs front to rear was needed.
A set of custom valved, double adjustable shocks were initially added to the car to see what changes this made. The good news was that they were able to help some of the oversteering issues, especially under braking. However, it also showed that a different front sway bar was needed to make the car more neutral.
Looking towards plenty of adjustability, a speedway style front sway bar was added next. The benefit to this style of bar is that the center section is replaceable. Different wall thicknesses provide different spring rates. The arms are adjustable; so many different options can be tested.
The sway bar ultimately made a drastic, helpful change – to the point of being able to even out the tire pressures. The car is now much more trustworthy, and has proven to be quite quick in both wet and dry conditions.
So, where are we now? We are pretty close. Bauer will be running his car at the San Diego Match Tour and El Toro Pro Solos the first two weekends in April, and expects to sign off on the parts after those two events. “I feel like the parts are ready to go right now, but I want to run the car at a couple of big events against National level competition before my final buy-off,” said Bauer.
As Bauer perfects the CS trim, he is working on the STR.
Stay tuned for information on when you can pick up your own parts!