Posts Tagged ‘miata’

Mazda MX-5 Miata Spyder and Super 20 Concepts land in Las Vegas

Published by Mazda Blogs on November 2nd, 2011

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Spyder

Mazda
has given SEMA goers something to get excited about with a pair of MX-5 Miata concepts. The MX-5 Miata Spyder Concept has done away with the standard car’s folding soft top or retractable hard top mechanism in favor of a lightweight grenadine-red canvas covering


Mazda previews hot MX-5 Miata Spyder and Turbo2 concepts for SEMA

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 29th, 2011

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Truth be told, we find most SEMA concepts to simply be gaudy aftermarket overkill. These two Mazda models, however – now these are something we’d like to sink our teeth into.

Let’s start with the MX-5 Miata Spyder concept. The most obvious alteration here is the removal of the stock MX-5′s folding soft top (or hard top) for the sake of a stretched canvas roof, similar to the rakish and flying buttressed Porsche Boxster Spyder. That, combined with larger wheels, a lowered stance, aero kit and a revised front fascia make this a Miata we’d definitely want to spend a lot of quality time with. We’re already madly in love with the standard car, so making it lighter and improving the dynamics promises to be nothing short of motoring bliss.

Mazda Turbo2 conceptThe second concept is something we’ve been begging Mazda to create for quite some time, too. The Turbo2 is, according to Mazda, “one of our most powerful turbocharged engines in our lightest platform.” That’s a recipe for success if we’ve ever heard one. We can do without the ground effects kit and graphics package, but the thought of a turbocharged engine under the hood of a better-tuned Mazda2 (read: Mazdaspeed2) is a project we’re more than willing to get behind.

We’ll see both concepts live from Las Vegas next week. For now, feast your eyes on the hotness in our high-res image gallery.

Mazda previews hot MX-5 Miata Spyder and Turbo2 concepts for SEMA originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 11:30:00 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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How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video]

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 1st, 2011

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Mid-stage is no time to let your driver know his navigator has no damn clue what’s going on.

My helmet has just been crammed into the cross ribs of the roof of our Miata for the third time in less than a kilometer, driving a guttural “OOMPH” from my lungs mid-sentence at the same time. I regain my breath, look from the route book to the kitchen timer that’s Velcroed to the rally computer on the dash, and start counting out the seconds on my fingers. My tiny brain is already too overloaded for simple math, and I’ve reduced myself to elementary school tricks for quick calculations. It’s the fifth stage of the fourth day, and the verdict isn’t good; we’re a far cry from our target time.

“We are 17 seconds slow,” I say into the mic, doing my best to stifle any tones of urgency.

“Seventeen seconds? Are you sure?”

The short answer is that no, I’m not sure. For the first time in a full week’s worth of time-speed-distance rallying, our time intervals are making no damn sense. We’ll pass one and be 25 seconds down only to pass the next and be within five seconds of our target. I’m all kinds of crossed up, but mid-stage is no time to let your driver know his navigator has no damn clue what’s going on.

“I’m sure. Beat on this thing.”

Always project confidence.

Continue reading How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video]

How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 20:00:00 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 4: Off to Gander

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 16th, 2011

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Flyin Miata at the 2011 Targa Newfoundland

While I thought that I grasped just how unique and amazing the Targa Newfoundland is in the world of motorsports, the breadth of this event’s character didn’t hit home until I got here. We spent the majority of yesterday’s morning and afternoon tackling stages in and around Gander, a small town about 206 miles north of St. John’s. Despite my completely misinterpreting the route book on stage one and a near miss with an time control, we managed to zero every stage and avoid any penalties, but the two final stages of the day presented a challenge that we weren’t exactly prepared for.

Though the stages we had covered so far had given me gracious periods of three, four and even five kilometers during which I could insert my own time and distance way points to keep the 2006 Flyin’ Miata Mazda MX-5 on course and on time, the last two did not. Both stages took place on the same seven kilometer course that wound through a dense subdivision. That’s right, kids. We would be attempting to carry a 57.5 kph (35.7 mph) average through a series of 29 90-degree turns. I would have no more than 300 meters at most to alert Brandon Fitch, my valiant driver, of the direction of and distance to the next turn as well as monitor our time as we passed each instruction.

I’ll be honest; I didn’t have much hope for our chances.

We lined up, the lights went hot and in a second, we were blurring through the subdivision. With Fitch’s help, I was able to glean enough time to glance at our egg timers and equate the figures with our actual distance. We were going to nail it.

We zeroed Gander on the first run and managed a repeat performance for the second pass. As Fitch put it, “This is the most awesome thing. Ever. In the history of the world.”

I’m inclined to agree. Our efforts today managed to place us in first for the second day in a row, but with days of 12-hour driving and calculating quickly stacking up, our chances for careless errors are increasing drastically. Stay tuned for more updates and keep an eye on the 2011 Targa Newfoundland site for our times.

Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 4: Off to Gander originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 15 Sep 2011 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: Stay on target

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 16th, 2011

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Flyin' Miata at Targa Newfoundland

It’s a good day to be in the Flyin’ Miata camp. As of the conclusion of Day 3 of competition, both the V8 Roadster and the Supercharged 2006 MX-5 hold the top position in their respective classes. While Keith and Janel Tanner have managed to sling their 430-horsepower machine through Wednesday’s nine stages to take the top slot, Brandon Fitch and I overcame a few small obstacles to zero all of our times through the day. Despite my fat-fingering the egg-timers ahead of the incredibly technical Greenspond stage, we came in just two-seconds outside of dead zero and well within our plus or minus nine-second window.

I also received a front-row showing of Fitch’s driving prowess after the car stalled at the start of the third-to-last stage. In a desperate push to make up lost time, the Flyin’ Miata engineer pushed the 240-horse Miata to 128 kph through a series of undulating turns. That figure is just two kph shy of our maximum allowable speed. Crossing that barrier brings all sorts of unsavory penalties.

Thursday will bring forth a whole new set of challenges as our window narrows to plus or minus five seconds. While we used today to train ourselves to arrive at the flying finish well within our final day tolerances, fatigue is beginning to set in on both Brandon and I, greatly increasing the chance of a careless error that could cost us our lead. Regardless of how we wrap up on Friday, the fact that we can say that we tied for first across the first three days of the 2011 Targa Newfoundland is a story I’ll be blathering at cocktail parties for years.

Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: Stay on target originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 15 Sep 2011 18:01:00 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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The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 2: Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment [w/video]

Published by admin on August 25th, 2011

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Flyin' Miata at Targa Newfoundland trailer

We’re pretty smitten with the Flyin’ Miata story at Targa Newfoundland, and not just because they offered us a seat in their supercharged Grand Touring Class entry. Husband and wife team Keith and Janel Tanner managed a 16th place finish in their 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata in the event back in 2008, and this year, they’re coming to the fight with a fire-breathing V8 conversion at their disposal. The tale is interesting enough to have snagged the ear of a filmmaker who wants to bring the Tanner story to the rest of the world.

Adam Costa has jumped onto the Flyin’ Miata wagon for the long road to the checkered flag, and he’s started a Kickstarter project to help fund the endeavor in hopes of being able to bring along an additional cameraman. You can donate anything from one dollar all the way up to $2,000 for various ‘thank you’ gifts, including an executive producer title in the film itself. A more reasonable $50 donation will land you a DVD copy of the film. Having had the pleasure of seeing Costa’s work in Speed Science for the Science Channel, we don’t think we’ll be disappointed. Hit the jump to check out the trailer for yourself and cruise over to Kickstarter for a look at the project.

Continue reading The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 2: Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment [w/video]

The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 2: Flyin’ Miata gets the documentary treatment [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Aug 2011 16:27:00 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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