Parts Spotlight: Spec MX-5 Mahle Pistons

With the NC generation Spec MX-5 (2006-2015), Mazda Motorsports wanted to find a way to increase the horsepower to compete against the more-costly BMWs and Porsches of SCCA’s Super Touring Lite (STL) and NASA’s Super Touring 5 (ST5) classes while maintaining the reliability for which Mazda is known. (Please note: race classification for SCCA and NASA is TBD.)

The engine package for the new Spec MX-5 was discussed, debated, redrawn, and reimagined until Mazda Motorsports found the best all-around package for grassroots racers. Using Mahle pistons and Roush cylinder heads, the Spec MX-5 package increases horsepower from the stock NC Mazda motor while keeping that famed reliability, containing the cost and making it fair for everyone in the tech shed.

Mahle and Mazda Motorsports worked closely to eliminate the concerns that may come up in any race group, from car prep to the tow home. With 95 years of experience in almost every form of motorsports from NASCAR to Formula One, Mahle was the ideal partner for the job. Let’s take those in order.

The forged pistons are more exact due to machining processes, a machined piston crown, and the high standards of Mahle’s allowed tolerance. This means less variation across the board and eliminates the old habits of purchasing an excessive number of individual pistons to find the four best to make the car faster.

The Mahle pistons are designed to give you the confidence that no one is stretching the limits of the rulebook, so that you’ll find yourself on a level playing field each and every race. Not only would tampering with the piston do a disservice to the overall design of the piston as a whole, it would be obvious in the tech shed that it had happened. The phosphate coating of the Mahle piston has a unique gray color, which incidentally doubles as a dry lubricant film to provide a protective barrier in the pin bores and ring grooves until the oil system of the engine reaches operating pressure. The pistons are domed, with a unique look that includes piston markings in the design. Mahle’s years of expertise working with several sanctioning bodies really shines through in this department.

Coupled with the Roush cylinder head, the Spec MX-5 engine package means the car is faster in a straight line without sacrificing any of the cornering speeds that the MX-5 is known for.

Just as important to the long-term operational costs, the clearly marked Mahle pistons allows for engine rebuilds in your garage or local shop when the time comes, rather than shipping an engine back to a single location for a full and often costly rebuild.

Mazda Motorsports’ Part Number – Standard: 0000-01-5310
Mazda Motorsports’ Part Number – Oversized: 0000-01-5310-OS
Mazda Motorsports’ Price (Standard or Oversized): $484.00

Piston Wrist Pin (one of four) – not included in the Mahle Pistons: $27 each

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 are shipping, so call Mazda Motorsports at 800.435.2508 now!

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