Race Car Build: Matt Reynolds’ E Production Miata

This Second-generation Miata has seen steady improvement under Reynolds

The E Production NB Miata that is currently being driven to regular race wins, as well as two SCCA National Championships, by Matt Reynolds has had quite a history. It apparently started life as a Showroom Stock B car before being built into an E Production car by Jim Daniels. Terry Jesk owned and raced the car for a while, but it’s under its current owner that the car has come much closer to reaching its full potential.

“We happened to be looking for an E Production car and we approached Jesse Prather to ask if he knew of a car for sale,” says Chris Campbell, owner of The Vintage Connection in Oklahoma City and who works as Reynolds’ crew chief. “He told us Terry Jesk was selling his car, so we talked to Terry at the Runoffs, I think in 2010, and ended up acquiring it.”

It turns out that Reynolds might be a more aggressive driver than its previous owner, and that exposed some weaknesses in the car. Fixing those shortcomings allowed for some improvements in several areas.

That evolved into a more reliable suspension; better, more reliable differentials and even the transmission,” says Campbell. “At the same time, we started an engine program with Jesse Prather. He’s powered it ever since and it’s been a very reliable drivetrain platform.”

The car has been through three different transmission platforms, starting with a Jericho three-speed. Before the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Daytona in 2015, they felt that a five-speed transmission would be needed for the extreme high and low speeds at Daytona International Speedway, so they bought a PBS setup from Daniels. This year, they moved to the EMCO transmission that Mazda Motorsports recently released and have used it for two weekends. “It’s been trouble-free and works real well,” says Campbell. “We like the option of having the drop gears so we only have to have one differential.”

Reynolds uses the Jesse Prather Racing AFCO coilover shock setup sold by Mazda Motorsports. The rest of the suspension is made up of tubular control arms that Mark Brakke designed, and the rear currently houses an OS Geiken limited slip differential. Stopping power comes through a Tilton master cylinder and pedal assembly, stock calipers and G-Loc brake pads.

“The car is substantially different from when we first got it,” says Reynolds. “We were able to increase the reliability quite a bit. I’m comfortable with the car after all of those changes that we made to it, and the speed has been there as well. We’ve been able to really nail down the handling with some of the suspension changes, working with Jesse and picking his brain trying to figure out how to improve the car and also how to improve it for me as a driver with my technique.”

Reynolds will be going for his third E Production national championship at the 2018 SCCA Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway in October. At the recent Majors race at Sonoma, Reynolds finished a close second on Saturday and won the feature race on Sunday, proving once more that he is the one to watch come the big event.