There are many fans of Mazda race cars, but we’ve noticed recently as the new Spec MX-5s are being built and tested that a theme is emerging: the NC platform and the latest Spec MX-5 components seem to be leading to a great race car.
Of course, there are reasons to love pretty much every generation of MX-5 Miata-based race car. The NA and NB generation Spec Miatas have balanced chassis with durable, reliable components that hold up surprisingly well to the bump and grind of tight pack racing. And that tight racing is a signature feature of Spec Miata racing that makes it the favored candidate in the competition for greatest race series of all time.
The ND generation Global MX-5 Cup car also has its adherents. Thanks to a well thought out spec that is very well policed, the cars run in very tight formation. That pack racing is reinforced by the topless configuration which means drafting is a key feature of GMX-5 races. The car itself is quick and is an ideal platform for pro racing because it takes experience and quick hands to get the most out of it.
Some drivers have been concerned that the NC wasn’t the best platform for racing. This sentiment may have come from the early NC street car, which had mixed reviews. Experience with NC race cars tells a very different story.
Reports coming in over recent weeks from test drivers of the NC generation Spec MX-5 indicate that it combines many of the best features of these other great Mazda platforms while having few weaknesses. It seems to be the “Goldilocks” of racing Mazdas. Like the NB, the NC is a stable platform. But the Spec MX-5’s MZR engine, especially with the Roush head and Mahle pistons and special ECU tune, adds enough power (about +40hp over the NB) that the Spec MX-5 feels quite a bit more responsive. The suspension and tire package also help, with drivers saying that the car can be pushed without getting unmanageable, making for a confidence-inspiring passing machine. ABS also helps with this, and is especially appreciated by newer drivers. As with the NA and NB cars, drafting is still a thing in Spec MX-5, but the addition of a roof to the NC means that fast, consistent drivers can earn a position and defend it.
A few quotes we’ve heard from early drivers about the Spec MX-5 back this up:
“This is my favorite Mazda platform, and that’s saying a lot.”
“It only took a few laps for me to realize that this was a really fun platform to race.”
“This chassis is just so raceable that it makes a great, encouraging tool for both experienced drivers and those trying to develop their race craft.”
“I just love this car!”