Posts Tagged ‘flyin miata’

This is what 4,500 hp worth of V8 Miatas looks like

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 11th, 2012

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2012 Flyin Miata Summer Camp V8 Conversion

A strange thing happened at this year’s Flyin’ Miata Summer Camp. The crew hosts a day of seminars covering everything from new products to a timing belt how-to, and this year, a total of 11 V8 conversions showed up in the same room. There are many ways to pull over 400 horsepower from a Mazda Miata, but few are more entertaining than plopping a honkin’ American V8 behind the headlights.

The shop routinely plays host to Keith Tanner’s delicious Targa Miata as well as the company’s NB development mule, Elvis, and his NC sister, Betty, but with six customer cars with FM V8 conversions on hand plus two homebrew specials hanging about, the total hit an all-time high.

No one’s throwing out any specific numbers, but estimates put the final horsepower figure at around 4,500 ponies. For perspective, you’d need to amass around 27 stock NC models to crest the same number. Cue the mad-scientist laughter.

This year marked the 15th Flyin’ Miata Summer camp, and fans of the brand trekked from as far as Maine and Florida for five days of on-track shenanigans, group drives and seminars by the FM staff. Check it out below as well as a full gallery from the shindig.

Continue reading This is what 4,500 hp worth of V8 Miatas looks like

This is what 4,500 hp worth of V8 Miatas looks like originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 11 Aug 2012 12:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 11th, 2012

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Flyin Miata at Targa Newfoundland

It’s been nearly a year since Flyin’ Miata took two cars to the Targa Newfoundland. As you may recall, I got to tag along and do my best to get the supercharged Grand Touring entry as lost as possible. While we were there, one very dedicated film crew followed us from stage to stage, thereby documenting our various triumphs and defeats for a feature-length film. Packed with lots of in-stage footage, interviews with crew as well as fans of both Flyin’ Miata and the Targa Newfoundland, the show finds itself on footing with the likes of Truth in 24 and From Dust to Glory.

I spend a bit of time on screen trying to explain what it’s like to drown under a league of time-speed-distance calculations, but don’t let that be a deterrent. The movie does a stellar job of conveying exactly what it’s like to compete in one of the most unique motorsports endeavors on the planet. You can check out the preview for Racing the Rock below or head over to Flyin’ Miata to purchase your DVD copy. Keep an eye out for it to show up on iTunes and BluRay later down the line.

Continue reading Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment

Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 18:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MotoMan gives Targa Newfoundland the documentary treatment

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 15th, 2012

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MotoMan Targa Newfoundland video

It’s been seven months since I crammed into a supercharged Mazda Miata with the Flyin’ Miata crew and fought tooth and nail for a fifth-place finish in the Grand Touring class of the 2011 Targa Newfoundland. That amount of time has done nothing to dull my desire to head right back into the fray as soon as possible. While I was there, the FM team spent a good deal of time hanging out with our friends over at MotoMan, and the crew just finished putting the final touches on its race documentary.

The first episode shows off the sweet SRT-tweaked Dodge Challenger the MotoMan guys got to play with. With plenty of suspension adjustments, a full cage and a bare-bones interior, the big white beast was as far from the NC Miata we campaigned as you could get. Watch the clip after the jump for an introduction to a few of the other competitors, including SRT CEO Ralph Gilles, as well as an interview with driver Brandon Fitch and myself. Keep an eye out for more episodes, too.

Continue reading MotoMan gives Targa Newfoundland the documentary treatment

MotoMan gives Targa Newfoundland the documentary treatment originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 14 Apr 2012 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 25th, 2011

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Point. Shoot. Grin.

Flyin' Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Wedging myself into the cockpit of Keith Tanner’s 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned Targa Newfoundland podium finisher, I’m struck with the realization that most race cars are the automotive equivalent of a pet electric eel. They look fantastic lounging around, and you may even be struck with the impulse to get close, but the reality is that it’s only a matter of time before it reaches out and lights you up like a cheap string of Christmas lights. This notion is only underscored when Tanner hands me a set of noise-cancelling headphones with an integrated com system.

“Here. You’ll probably want these,” he says. “It can get kind of loud in here.”

With a 400-horsepower General Motors L33 wedged between the fenders of the poised Miata, it’s only a matter of time before the stripped interior resonates with the sound of eight furious cylinders. I ask if there’s anything I should know before I hit the ignition. Tanner says no. I’m beginning to suspect he’s lying to me.

Continue reading Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: The final days

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 18th, 2011

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Flyin' Miata at Targa Newfoundland 2011

Two mistakes. After six days of late nights bent over the route book with calculator in hand, long days of non-stop rallying and lengthy transits, we’ve covered over 2,200 kilometers, raced 41 stages and made two penalty-worthy mistakes. There simply aren’t words to convey the spectrum of emotions that accompanies the Targa Newfoundland, and the Flyin’ Miata crew experienced its fair share of highs and lows throughout. While Wednesday saw both teams leading their respective classes, Thursday had nasty surprises in store for both the V8 Roadster and the supercharged NC.

Due to a transcription error, I fouled the finish time for stage 4-5, Garnish. We were supposed to cover the 13.25 kilometers in 8:43; I directed Brandon to the finish in 8:51, which landed us three seconds of time-over penalty plus another four seconds of interim time-control penalties. That seven seconds alone knocked us off of the podium, but the last stage of the day, Marystown North, saw an additional 7 seconds tacked onto our time after we missed the first turn and were forced to turn around.

Continue reading…

Continue reading Flyin Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: The final days

Flyin Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: The final days originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 17 Sep 2011 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 3: Welcome to the jungle

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 14th, 2011

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Zach Bowman and Brandond Fitch with Flyin Miata at the Targa Newfoundland

The 2011 Targa Newfoundland is officially underway after three prologue stages on Sunday. As our first real taste of targa competition, the day was instrumental in alerting Brandon Fitch, driver of the number 1680 Flyin’ Miata Supercharged Mazda Miata, and myself to the fact that we had no holy clue as to what we were doing.

As a co-driver in the Grand Touring class, it’s my job to make sure that we arrive at the flying finish line as close to our target time as humanly possible. Early in the event, we get to enjoy nice, wide 30-second time windows. Later in the week, that gap will narrow to a slender six seconds. During the prologue, we either under- or over-shot our times by as much as 30 additional seconds outside of our window.

Mercy.

What was the problem, you ask? Our rally computer, the infamous Terratrip, seems to have been designed specifically to confound and infuriate. With Brandon doing his best to keep us shiny side up during a stage, I’m trying to call out the distances to the next instruction in descending intervals of 100 meters, the instructions themselves, monitor our time as we arrive at the instruction and hopefully keep an eye on our average speed to tell us whether or not we were close to hitting our time. It didn’t work that way.

For starters, the Terratrip seems to have a preference for calculating average speed not from the time that the vehicle begins moving, but from the instant that you turn the machine on. Not helpful. If I cleared the screens in preparation for our start time, the computer began factoring two minutes of zeros into our average speed, rendering a completely useless number.

Keep reading to see how it turned out…

Continue reading Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 3: Welcome to the jungle

Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 3: Welcome to the jungle originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 1: Meet your classmates

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 10th, 2011

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While the 2011 Targa Newfoundland doesn’t officially kick off until Monday, a handful of competitors have already arrived in St. John’s to take advantage of the Open Road Motorsports Targa School. Operated by veterans of the event, the school gives novice competitors a little taste of the days to come. Glen Clarke, our instructor, routinely pilots a Porsche 911 to accolades and glory, so his word is worth pure gold to our motley crew. Over the course of eight hours, the Grand Touring Flyin’ Miata team was introduced to the basics of navigation, ran a trial stage and generally sorted the roles of driver and co-pilot.

Our class included targa competitors from years past as well as newcomers like ourselves, including racers piloting a Ferrari Enzo, a delicious Porsche 914 and a completely sinister Audi 200 Avant Turbo AWD. A few additional racers have also set up camp at the local Holiday Inn, including a Maserati MC12, a Ferrari F430 Spyder, a Lamborghini Murci


The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 3: Homework and gearing up

Published by admin on September 7th, 2011

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Alpinestars Gear

We’re officially less than five days from the first stage of the 2011 Targa Newfoundland, and I’m frantically busy trying to cram as much information into my brain before arriving in St. John’s as I possibly can. Having never navigated in a rally, there’s a slew of symbols, terminology and theory to absorb before the green flag drops on September 10.

Then there’s the small issue of establishing a working relationship with the Terratrip on-board vehicle computer. The thing has an instruction manual that could have been written by a Soviet-era novelist, and while I think I’ll only be responsible for a few button mashes here and there, I don’t want to be the guy who accidentally recalibrates the machine or keys in the self-destruct code. Keep on reading to see how the rest of our preparations are proceeding.

Continue reading The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 3: Homework and gearing up

The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 3: Homework and gearing up originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Sep 2011 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 1: Bill breaks an arm

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Flyin' Miata Nancy

Racing is built on a foundation of tired sayings packed with monumental truths. Recently, few have been more poignant for the crew of the supercharged NC Miata we’re set to co-pilot in the 2011 Targa Newfoundland than, “You have to start before you can win.” Last week, Bill Cardell, our valiant pilot and part-time lumberjack, wound up accidentally felling an aspen tree on himself while doing some work at a mountain cabin. He’s currently awaiting a second set of x-rays to determine just how lengthy his recuperation will be, but either way, he’s facing a few long weeks out of the saddle due to a broken humerus. Cardell, while in seemingly good spirits, finds nothing funny about the situation. Needless to say, squeezing into the cockpit of a race car isn’t on his doctor’s prescription pad, which leaves Nancy and I without a driver.

Brandon FitchIn a moment of solidarity, your author managed to high-side my ’82 Kawasaki GPz750 on day one of a two-week motorcycle ride. The next morning, one very haggard ER doctor told me that while my bones were intact, there’s a good chance that I’ve torn my rotator cuff.

“That’s bad,” I said.

“Yes. It’s very bad,” he agreed after a pause that conveyed a mix of disdain and admiration for my appreciation of the obvious.

Even so, I’ve regained much of the movement in my left shoulder, and the pain has subsided to an ever-present dull ache. If I can ride 2,300 miles on the arm, I can sure as hell use it to hold up pace notes. I’ll circle back with the medical establishment after our return from Canada.

Meanwhile, Cardell’s nephew, Brandon Fitch, will take over the forced-induction Miata’s controls. Fitch formerly served as crew chief for both vehicles and has worked with Flyin’ Miata for the past five years. As such, he’s had plenty of seat time with our car as part of his work in product development, and word has it he’s plenty quick to boot.

The race kicks off on September 10, and I’ve been ordered to stay indoors and intact until then. That’s advice I’ll likely heed. Our best get-well wishes go out to Cardell as he stitches himself back together.

The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 1: Bill breaks an arm originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Aug 2011 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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