The Miata as Ultimate Track Car

Long Road Racing is taking it’s supercharged MX-5 to the Ultimate Track Car Challenge

Long Road Racing’s Mazda MX-5 Cup car has proven to be a quick, reliable race car, competing not only in Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires, but also in places like SCCA Touring 3 and Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car A. But what would happen if you added a few upgrades and sent it into battle against some of the world’s best track cars in a challenge where the only rules are that the car has to pass a National Auto Sport Association (NASA) safety inspection? Long Road Racing is about to find out.

For the past few years, Long Road Racing has taken a MX-5 Cup car  to the Ultimate Track Car Challenge, conducted as part of NASA’s Hyperfest at VIRginia International Raceway. Last year they brought one with an optional SADEV sequential gearboxand Tom Long in the driver’s seat. They finished in the top half of the field, with Long saying they were the fastest car with less than 200hp. This year they’re adding a supercharger good for another 60hp.

“This year we’ve done an additional upgrade with the supercharger,” says Long. “That will put it over 200hp. On top of that, there are the brakes that Long Road Racing offers on the ultimate MX-5 package – bigger disks and bigger calipers. I’m excited to see what it might do. It’s a little more capable on both the accelerating and stopping ends.”

In addition to the supercharger and the SADEV sequential gearbox, Long Road runs the car with the hardtop that MX-5 racers use in World Challenge. The car will also be running on the Pirelli 17-inch tires that those competitors can start using in the next round at Lime Rock Park, as opposed to the 15-inch wheels used previously. The changeup also provides more clearance for the big Wilwood brake kit.

There really are no rules at the Ultimate Track Car Challenge, so on paper it doesn’t make much sense to bring a Miata to a contest where Corvettes and Ferrari Challenge cars, not to mention purpose-built racers such as a modified Daytona Prototype and Mazda-powered Elan NP01s are competing. But in addition to the outright winner, there are also awards for categories such as fastest small-bore door slammer and fastest street production. But as much as anything, it’s about challenging conventional wisdom.

“It proves that the Mazda MX-5 can compete against track-built race cars and do really well at it,” explains Brian Wright, business manager for Long Road Racing. “We’ve done this for a number of years. Add horsepower, shift the tire philosophy and fit a little bit bigger brake package on there and scare some big boys. With an extra 60hp, plus great handling and a pro driver, we can do really well.”

The Ultimate Track Car Challenge takes place as part of NASA’s Hyperfest this weekend at VIRginia International Raceway. will check back in with Tom and the crew from Long Road to see how it went.