There are few budget track weapon formulas as enticing as a V6 Miata. Take your basic NA Miata, add the required suspension upgrades, beef up the brakes, and choose one of the best suited V6 engines to provide the forward movement. In this instance, the powerplant of choice might take some by surprise.
Accessible and Appropriate for the Task
Konstantinos Sidiras, the owner of this ’91 Miata, chose a General Motors LFX: a 3.6-liter V6, sourced in this case from a 2012 Camaro. Weighing just 370 pounds, the LFX doesn’t act like an anchor in the engine bay, and it doesn’t worsen the Miata’s renowned steering and front-end response. Aside from being ideal in terms of retaining weight distribution, it offers a lot of poke, too. With 323 hp at 6,800 rpm and 278 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm, it provides a progressive power delivery, a broad torque curve, and more than enough shove for a 2,350-lb MX-5.
V8 Roadsters provides a swap kit that makes the install manageable—read: not easy. With a tuned ECU, a gorgeous subframe, a new differential, power steering lines, and all the other miscellaneous parts to make this engine feel like it was made for the Mazda.
With a set of Meister-R Club Race coilovers, which offer the correct level of damping for 12 kg springs and increased suspension travel, the body control was improved with no reduction in compliance. That, in conjunction with Stoptech front brakes, amounts to a package that’s enough to hang with a 991 GT3 RS at the Nurburgring.
Punching Above Its Weight
This isn’t the first time Sidiras has beaten exotics around the ‘Ring, but the first with his V6-powered car. Though it’s nearly 700 pounds heavier than the Miata, the turquoise GT3 RS ahead also boasts another 200 horsepower, better aerodynamics, and four much larger contact patches. It’s in another league in terms of straight-line speed, and the aerodynamic grip make it a force to be reckoned with in the faster sections, but the Miata’s incisive front end and strong brakes close the gap in the tighter sections of the Nurburgring.
It’s only a matter of time before Sidiras begins to fill the Porsche’s mirrors. Admitting defeat in gentlemanly fashion, the driver of the Porsche moves over at Kallenhard (3:58) to let the Miata through. In fact, he had the grace to comment on the video afterwards; mentioning it was his second time at the Nurburgring and that he was driving his father’s car. Though it was a valiant effort for someone with limited time on Europe’s least forgiving track, Sidiras’ experience at the Nurburgring in powerful Miatas and the outrageous low-end grunt of his latest creation meant the Porsche never had a chance.