Even with tidy lines and subtle mid-corner rotations, it’s obvious Simraceway Instructor Greg Evans is pushing his Miata hard in pursuit of a well-driven Integra. Oversteering into most corners lets the observer know two things: he’s leaving nothing on the table, and dealing with a nimble but unpowered machine. As it turns out, this lack of power offers some interesting advantages one might not consider.
The diminutive Mazda isn’t hugely modified; a set of Megan Racing coilovers, Eibach sway bars, Roadstersport’s high-flow cat and cat back, Rota Grid-V wheels, and a rollbar are the only additions. Nonetheless, the car responds well to his inputs, and is stiff enough to get the rotation he wants. Critically, there’s only 105 horsepower to play with, which affects some of the lines he takes.
As he gently saws at the wheel in pursuit of the Integra and gets within striking range, several significant differences become obvious. Not only does Evans carry more entry speed into most of Thunderhill’s corners, he isn’t shy about nibbling the curbs and takes a shorter line through the corners. As he lures in the white spot on the horizon, it quickly grows into an actual car with discernible details. Nothing gets a driver to chomp at the bit quite like the realization they’re reeling someone in. Within the course of a lap, he’s on the rear bumper of the more powerful Integra, and we’re able to see how their lines are markedly different.
Importantly, Evans refrains from turning late into the corner quite like the Integra’s driver seems to enjoy, and thanks to his wheelbase, the lack of power, and the layout, he seems to carry more mid-corner speed and a comparable exit. He’s able to take these economical lines thanks to an anemic powerplant. “Not needing to get it straight off the apex to put big power down” allows him to focus on entry and plant his right foot early without worry. “Turning in early works because it has so little oompf; accelerating never uses that must grip of the tire,” Evans adds. Crucially, this allows him to take slightly shorter lines and cover less ground overall without scrubbing much speed.
These incremental differences count for far more than the horsepower advantage of the Integra, whose owner is conscious of and gives way once Evans presents himself over the crest of Turn Nine towards the end of the clip. Once he’s pounced on the Integra, it’s as if the racing gods have applauded his achievement and presented him with another challenge.
The blue blur ahead is one of the quickest, most involving, analog sports cars on the market today, a Porsche Cayman GT4. Unfortunately, as Evans’ begins to reel in the 380-horsepower Porsche, the session ends and his hunt concludes prematurely. Pity—two respectable cars in the course of several laps would’ve given Miata owners a reason to rejoice.
For more information on Greg Evans, visit his site here.