Prep Shop Profile: Rossini Racing

Engine builder is expanding operations to include rentals and trackside support

Mike Rossini is well known as a Spec Miata engine builder, attracting the likes of Michael Carter, Selin Rollan, Jonathan Goring and Danny Steyn as clients. But Rossini doesn’t just build engines – or just transmissions or just differentials. He builds cars, and he’s even working on several to build out as a rental fleet. He’s also moving into the transport and trackside support side of the equation as well. 

Yes, business is booming – and it’s growing.

“My shop, until now, was just me, but recently I was able to get a wonderful protégé, Zach Amos,” says Rossini. “He’s a great person that’s going to be by my side now and we’re going to expand operations a bit. 

“I do build cars on top of doing engines, transmissions and diffs, [and] I’m very particular because I want to do a great job. Now we’re going to be able to build more cars and branch off into renting cars, going into prep shop stuff where we can take cars to the track and rent them.”

To that end, Rossini is adding another 3,600sq-ft building to his shop, and has added another truck and trailer to transport the cars. Over the years, he was working with shops like OPM and BSI, but engine customers kept asking him when he was going to expand his business into more prep shop work – and now is the time. “Business-wise, I’ve been giving so much away, so I thought I’d better change my business model a little bit and start doing that more aggressively,” he says.

Rossini had his beginnings in the motorcycle world where he managed several elite motocross racers, as well as built their engines and suspension. He says he accomplished everything he wanted to do with his motorcycle shop and in the motocross world, but the urge to compete soon called to him again, and he got into Miatas. “Once I drove the damn cars, I never got out of them,” he explains. “So I turned that passion into another venture in my life.”

Now his engines are all across the country, powering everyone from those at the very top of SM to the guy who’s banging around in the middle of the pack. He says he gets as much pleasure out of helping the latter group as any other.

“My trophy every week is if I help somebody and they increase a position and they come off the track smiling,” says Rossini. “That’s my trophy, and I go home happy. Most of the people I cater to aren’t ‘whales. I want the guy that’s struggling, because when he comes off track and he was able to pass three cars because I was able to give him another three horsepower, I feel better about that.

“My goal is to make sure each individual gets my attention. If they go away unhappy, it’s certainly not because I didn’t try. I have people who come to my facility and stay for days at a time until they’re satisfied. I cater more to the guys that want to have fun, come off the track with a smile and happy they can go a second faster. That’s my passion, that’s my satisfaction.”

Rossini has high praise for his fellow SM engine builders and prep shops such as Chris Haldeman (X-Factor) and Jim Drago (East Street Racing), noting that with the large Spec Miata community there is plenty of business to go around. He also notes that his wife, Elaine, who takes care of the drivers at the track with lunches and parties, is a big part of his success. And ultimately, he knows his attitude plays a big role as well.

“I take a lot of pride in being there for my customers,” he says. “I don’t like to race against them. I’m there for them, whether they need my car, my parts or my assistance. I’m at the track every week I can be – I don’t care if it is a Majors, Super Tour or a regional race. I don’t care whether they’re first or last, I’m there for them.”

Rossini Racing Engines
Belewes Creek, N.C.