PRI 2014: Exomotive Takes the Mazda Miata to the Next Level

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It’s difficult to run a road racing publication without overusing the word Miata. Like … way hard. It’s a problem we deal with every day. But the little car is, without contest, one of the most prolific and affordable chassis on the market, and its presence in road racing is indisputable. With a production run spanning 25 years, there are so many cars available, and for minimal cost.

IMG_0087Capitalizing on the success and availability of the car is Exomotive with their Exocet. “It’s a kit and all you need is a Miata from 1990 to 2005,” said Exomotive owner, Kevin Patrick. “It’s a little more of an American feel than your conventional ‘Low-cost’ style car. It’s a little wider; you can actually fit in the car and stock Miata suspension bolts right up.”

The Exocet is a minimalistic approach in taking the already potent Miata to the next level. And how did Exomotive accomplish that? By removing as much weight as they possible could. “Weight is the enemy of performance,” said engineer, Warren Van Nus. And, while the Miata is already a light car, it seems almost piggish in comparison with the Exocet’s feather-light 1475-pound curb weight. “Simplify and add lightness;” a motto endorsed by none other than Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, is clearly reflected in this car.

The formula to create an Exocet is a tried and true method used amongst most prolific kit car manufacturers. The chassis, minimal bodywork, and hardware are supplied by Exomotive and the remainder of the kit relies on a donor Miata. The running gear, suspension and several other smaller parts such as the throttle cables and other miscellaneous parts transfer directly over. Even the Miata’s simple, yet functional, gauge cluster is utilized in the Exocet. This practice allows Exomotive the ability to keep the retail price as low as possible.

1025359_492202210851691_1066392164_o-640x424“All of our tubes are laser cut with a tab and slot which helps the tubes self jig on our tables and minimizes the time it takes to assemble a frame; that really helps with out price point,” said Patrick  “An entire frame can be welded in under 8 hours,” added Van Nus.

IMG_0106While stock suspension and brakes bolt directly to the Exocet, part of the beauty of the car is that any aftermarket components deigned to upgrade those areas of a Miata will bolt directly onto the Exocet. The upper shock mounts even have a slotted bolt pattern to provide mounting room for a range of aftermarket coilovers.

The car in particular that caught our attention was in the DIY Autotune booth at the PRI show — the guys behind the widely regarded MegaSquirt line of engine control products — and was a perfect example of just how far someone can push the car to track perfection.

The Exocet kit is available in three trims: Base, Sport and Race. The difference between the trims is largely related to the amount of roll cage structure built into the space frame.

The car was built off of a donor Miata, like any other Exocet kit, but the powers to weight ratio was bolstered to ridiculous levels by a Flying Miata turbo kit. Afco, double adjustable coil overs at each corner stiffen the suspension and allow the car to be perfectly dialed in. An APR GT 200 wing occupies the tail end of the car ensuring downforce during track-day outings. A Mega Squirt PNP ECU is used to control the engine which produces 300 horsepower out of the Miata’s stock-block 1.6-liter engine.

What Exomotive has accomplished with this car is clearly something special. The car maximizes the performance of a Miata, and achieves super car levels of performance and grip for pennies on the dollar. The base Exomotive kit starts at only $6500 plus the price of a suitable donor. For more information on the car, visit Exomotive’s website and stay tuned to TURNology for a more in-depth feature on the kit.

 

 

 

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About the author

Evan Perkins

Evan Perkins is a seasoned automotive journalist with a passion for road racing. Evan has logged seat time in more cars than he can count and has a deep-seeded love for all genres of the motoring world.
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