Amid flurries of countersteering hands, this man shows us why we should all consider sticking a Honda K24 in the engine bay of a Mazda Miata. Light, torquey, very nervous, and hilariously fast in a straight line, this little menace has all the goods needed to outrun Porsches, Corvettes, and Acura’s former flagship at a very fast track. When paired with a handy driver who’s not afraid of big angles, this package puts on a display that will have the track rats selling all their cherished possessions to get one of their own.
Background on the Powerplant
Part of the appeal of this combination is the parts are easy to come by. The K24 is a ubiquitous motor found in many of Honda’s less-speedy machines. Because of its relatively large displacement, the K24 was a fine fit for the CR-V, Element, Accord, and even some variants of the Odyssey. Accessible and affordable, this motor provides the Miata with a much-needed bump in grunt for relatively little money. Thanks to the KMiata swap kit, the installation is relatively simple and stress-free. With nearly 200 horsepower at the rear wheels out of the box, the engine provides more than enough for the swapped Miata to become one of the quicker cars in any run group.
In this instance, the 2008 Acura TSX-sourced motor makes nearly double the power of a standard Miata’s B6ZE engine. In the above footage, it makes 195 horsepower at the wheels with hardly any modifications. But, the later addition of Drag Cartel 2.2 endurance cams, Supertech springs, a KMiata race header, a 3-inch intake and exhaust, a KPro4 engine management system, and a 50-degree VTC cam gear make a massive change.
In addition to a major bump in mid-range torque, the package produces 229 rwhp in its final guise — 200 of which are available from 6,750-8,000 rpm! With the addition of a fiberglass hood, a fiberglass hardtop, and a fiberglass trunk lid, the Miata weighs under 2,000 pounds — roughly 150 pounds lighter than a Spec Miata, but with almost twice the power!
It also easily spins the 225-section Maxxis RC1 tires in faster sections where one would imagine the car would sit nicely (2:12). Though it’s not able to run with a C7 Corvette along Texas Motor Speedway’s banked sections, it’s one of the more effective machines in the infield thanks to its low-end torque and linear power delivery.
Now, no longer an underpowered momentum car, the Miata has engine flexibility that allows for mistakes without much in the way of a penalty. This is obvious at 5:14, when an early slide forces a mild lift, but the ample torque helps keep minimum speeds up. Instead of falling out of its powerband, this grunty Miata is back up on its tippy-toes throughout the remainder of the corner and still overwhelms the driven wheels at the exit!
In some medium-speed bends, it even has enough to dance the rear for an extended period (7:17). It takes quick hands and some finesse, but it’s a complete riot. That tail-out exuberance eventually gets the better of our man, who catches a quick snap beautifully (7:29), but then is spat off the track. At these speeds, things happen quite quickly. During the agricultural excursion, the only car which could just hang with him, a wildly modified S2000, whizzes by with the NSX not far behind.
The following year, the car was built to NASA ST3 specifications. With Flyin’ Miata’s Fox shocks, poly bushings all around, bigger swaybars, and Wilwood 4-piston brakes with Hawk DTC-60 pads, the footwork could make the most out of the beefy powerplant. No longer wrestling the car out of every corner, the straight-line speeds it accrues are impressive.
To complement the improved mechanical grip, a plywood splitter, a custom air dam, and an APR rear wing offer the aerodynamic grip needed for the K24 Miata to snag a 1:53.5 at Texas Motor Speedway. We’ve seen examples of mildly-tuned K24-swapped Miatas outrun supercars, but this fully built machine is an indication of just how quick this combination can be. Time to start scouring junkyards for a rusty CR-V.