Editor’s Note: There’s some NSFW language in the video, so make sure you don’t have your speakers blasting when you play it on your lunch break…
There aren’t many rides that can hold a candle to the MX-5 Miata when it comes to performance per dollar. It’s light, small, nimble, receptive to modifications and, of course, prevalent and cheap. Visit any track day and there will be a horde of minimally-modified MX-5s present, with both amateur and experienced drivers doing what they can, just to get on the circuit. There’s so much to like about the car, but it is the textbook definition of a “momentum” car, which is a nice way of saying “gutless.”
That means that there’s little to no reliance on power for the lap time. In fact, the Miata, if properly set up, is one of the few cars which can actually turn a tighter line on full power. In other words, a sorted Miata can continue to turn into the corner while the throttle is fully depressed. It’s a strange sensation, especially coming from cars with big power and little grip. The Miata certainly teaches the driver how to carry speed into a corner and try to maintain it as long as possible, avoiding unnecessary sliding which kills all forward movement.
So if the car is short on straight-line performance, it makes up for that with its incredible grip. In fact, a Miata with a set of coilovers and some sticky track tires can run circles around some pretty exotic machinery, given the driver has a bit of talent. Such is the case with these Nurburgring-frequenting fellas: OneLapHeroes. Their yellow steed shows exactly how far one can go on the most stringent budget – so far as to reach an 8:39 in a car worth only a few thousand dollars.
Amidst a flurry of laughter, curse words and enthusiasm, these young men convey their fervor for thrashing the little Miata around the ‘Ring, showing that ninety horsepower, properly-adjusted coilovers and sticky tires go a long way. With composure, their agile Mazda responds well to the driver’s inputs.
Never is there a hairy moment or any long, lurid slides – just smooth, masterly cornering with a right foot matted the entire time. For those who think the Miata’s not a real challenge to drive quick, just take one glimpse at this onboard footage and have your impressions reshaped.