Targa Miata
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August 24, 2008 - Another track day.
Yes, August has been a busy month! This time, the Targa car stayed in the garage. There was no need to beat on it any more, and I was busy defending my shiny new lap record in the Seven. So I took the old race rubber off the Targa car and stuck them on Janel's little Miata so she could have some fun. She did pretty well, taking a second off her previous best time.
I took her car out for a few laps to show her how much she could trust the race tires, and it was an interesting drive. Her car is fitted with a small, responsive turbocharger (an FM Voodoo II with the smallest turbo) and has a number of chassis braces installed as well as a Flyin' Miata Stage 2.5 suspension. Peak power isn't much different than the Targa car although it's a more civilized drive due to the full interior and a bit of extra sound deadening. But other than the lack of a full cage, it would be a good specification for the Targa for much less work and cost than our purpose-built racer. It uses off-the-shelf components and the whole car would cost less to duplicate than building a Spec Miata. It would have to run in the Unlimited class thanks to the turbo, however.
On the track, the car felt softer. The suspension dealt well with the berms, although I wasn't taking anywhere near as many liberties with them! The car had good power that was easy to control, friendly handling and nice brakes. But everything was just turned down and softened a bit. The brakes were nowhere near as aggressive, the power response wasn't as hyperactive and the car just didn't have the sharp reflexes of the full-on race car. I didn't have a transponder on the car so I didn't get times, but I'd guess it would be at least a couple of seconds a lap slower. That will translate to a lot of time over the course of a Targa stage. This isn't a big shock and I was quite happy with how friendly the blue car was to drive. It's under full braking in the picture, in case you're wondering. That's Janel setting a personal best.
One piece of good news: while the bruising to my hands did make things a little less comfortable and meant I didn't have much grip strength in my right, it didn't seem to slow me down. By the time the Targa rolls around, I'll be just fine.
tags: skills, suspension, other cars