Fun Learning Autocross in a Miata

I had fun at the SPOKES autocross, on 11/23/2008. Instead of abusing my beastly Great White Whale (as I’ve nicknamed my 2000 Nissan Maxima SE), I was able to throttle (pun intended) Jerry’s stock 1990 Mazda Miata.  If you don’t know, I first met Jerry (my autocross mentor) at the first autocross I attended this year in June, at the Pearsall Divisional event (which was also the first date of my first blog entry!).

Being of tall (6’2”) stature & more than moderate girth, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I fit well in that little 2-seater coupe.

Between the 2 heats, we had a total of 8 runs each on the course. A couple of days ago I talked about the autocross course. Here’s a revised drawing showing what I perceived the best path through the cones. I’m still not convinced that I drove this well, though…

Making the transition from being a daily driver of front wheel drive (FWD) to a Sunday autocross rear wheel drive pilot was more of an adjustment than I had anticipated. Initially, I was impressed by the nice sound (Jerry said it was just a Meineke muffler special – nothing fancy). The clutch and transmission were tight, nothing mechanically sloppy on this 150K+ miles Mazda Miata.

In the first 4 runs, Jerry & I simply swapped seats. This was so I could watch & learn as ride-along passenger, & for him to direct me a bit while I drove. It was good!

I got a pretty good feel for how this little car responds and accelerates. It DID NOT feel like an 18 year old car at that amount of mileage. Having daily driven & done some autocrossing in FWD vehicles, I was very used to trailing throttle oversteer. In other words, in the RWD Miata I felt somewhat unsure of flooring it & then lifting the throttle in the 2nd half of the left hand at the end of corner 1 (see the red A on the course map above), and right hand sweeper between corners 2 & 3 (see the red B on the course map).

I’m sure that with time and experience I could get much closer than the approximate 3 second gap between my course times & Jerry’s.  Jerry took some great shots of me posing with & driving his Miata – thanks SO much Jerry!

He says he’s a wannabe amateur photographer – I think he’s better than that – lots more potential than he realizes!  Check out these shots & tell me he’s a great photographer…!

At the end of the autocross they announced that all Novices would get a trophy!  Out of 10 novices, I placed 4th, based on the car performance equalization formula of PAX.  This was not at all expected.  Here it is!

Racing Ready wants to place well as a source of winning racing form – stay tuned for more!

And again, Jerry, I can’t thank you enough for your allowing me the honor to abuse your Miata & become a definite Miata driving fan (& maybe a future owner).

Dan

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One thought on “Fun Learning Autocross in a Miata”

  1. Miata’s

    There fast around corners, balanced, cheap, fun, economical, and parts are cheap.

    Great cars. If you get one you will recieve discounted parts through mazdamotorsports.com for racing it.

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