Parts Spotlight: Spec MX-5 C&R Radiator/Oil Cooler Assembly

When it comes to cooling the more powerful engine of the all-new Spec MX-5, Mazda Motorsports elected to include a radiator from a company that knows Mazdas and an oil cooler that was built and designed by Mazda Motorsports to be the best on the market.

C&R Advanced Cooling Technology, which has long provided advanced cooling technology for NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA sports car applications, developed a radiator for a previous generation Miata – the NB MX-5 (1999-2005) – primarily used for Spec Miata. And now, following conversations and testing with the Mazda Motorsports team, has a top-of-the-line radiator for the NC MX-5 (2006-2015), which includes the Spec MX-5.

Through its previous work with Mazda Motorsports, C&R is intimately familiar with the unique needs of the Mazda racer. Drafting is going to be a necessity in an MX-5, which in turn limits the air flow and, if not a priority, can cause long-term damage. An OEM radiator, for good reason, is not equipped to handle the conditions of a race car. To run on the street, the engineering must focus on a variety of climates, traffic conditions, and stop and go traffic. A race cooling package, on the other hand, is more concerned with wide-open throttle for significantly longer than on the street or being the middle car in a five-car draft on a steamy July day in the Midwest.

This takes a significant type of engineering exercise. For the Spec MX-5 package, C&R uses its proprietary extruded tube race core and fin design that has been tweaked for maximum cooling in the NC MX-5, which includes the Spec MX-5.

Even better, the radiator is a direct replacement for the stock radiator, which means no difficult modifications at the time of installation.

The radiator and Mazda Motorsports’ oil cooler adapter complement each other to keep the Spec MX-5 engine temperatures down. The integrated oil cooler as part of the radiator package is a properly engineered solution for tight spec racing.  This keeps proper airflow to the radiator, while reducing oil temps.

The oil cooler adapter was a focal point of the Spec MX-5 build, as it was built to address a definitive need in the NC aftermarket community. With a solution not readily available, Mazda Motorsports set out to develop a part that did the job completely.

Many oil coolers on the market ignore the priority oil flow of the engine, which routes the oil through the filter first, leaving as much as half the oil to flow directly into the cooler and through the engine without touching the filter. The Mazda Motorsports solution, however, sends all of the engine oil through the filter and then to the oil cooler adapter, an obviously more effective path for the oil.

The Mazda Motorsports oil cooler adapter, which has a black anodized finish and the Mazda Motorsports logo clearly imprinted on it, comes as part of the cooling package for the Spec MX-5 with the C&R Radiator. The kit includes the fittings and pre-made lines as part of the package, and bolts on as a replacement for the factory oil filter plate. The cooler adapter has extra support and an extra sensor support to easily incorporate data tracking.

Since Mazda Motorsports and C&R have covered the engineering aspect of your radiator and engine cooling, you’ll be free to concentrate on more important things – like passing the car in front of you.

Mazda Motorsports’ Part Number for the C&R Radiator/Oil Cooler Assembly: 0000-01-5504-CR
Mazda Motorsports’ Price: $1248

About Spec MX-5: Mazda Motorsports has combined decades of key learnings supplied by thousands of racers at every level of grassroots and pro racing to create Spec MX-5. We’ve applied these key learnings into four key pillars: affordability, reliability, tech-ability, and really fun to drive. We’ve considered every facet of Spec MX-5 – from the car spec, the suppliers and partners, the rule set, the schedules and tracks, the ease of maintenance and repair, fun and fair competition, prizes and awards, and more. Building on the abundance of already fun third generation NC (2006-2015) MX-5s, Mazda Motorsports has developed a race kit with nearly every necessary part to convert the road car into the Spec MX-5 race car, intended for everyone from novices looking to make a long-term stay in club racing, to those aspiring to ascend the Mazda Road to 24 ladder. The focus of the support program is to enable excellent sprint and endurance club racing competition through transparency, parity, rewarding racers with the best contingency awards in club racing, the best parts pricing, and assistance from Mazda Motorsports’ experts on everything from assembly, to set up, and driving. Spec MX-5 is club racing done right. Parts for the Spec MX-5 kit begin shipping in October, so call Mazda Motorsports at 800.435.2508 now to be first in line!

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