Targa Miata
May 7, 2009 - Open wide!
This is the lineup of cars at the Mitty. The white one (without a lurid Martini paint job) is a car from Grassroots Motorsports. When I was at the Mitty last year, I helped install a turbo on the car and double its horsepower.
Beside that are two V8-powered cars, and of course the Targa car. I spent a bit too long standing in close proximity to the V8s.
Like every Targa competitor, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the perfect car for the event would be. It needs to have a combination of small size, light weight and speed - and the older the better to take advantage of the longer base times. A BMW 2002 is a very good choice and it's no wonder the car's done well the last few years. I'm thinking a Mk1 Escort with a 1600 BDA might be able to run in class 4 and still have the same power/weight ratio as the Targa Miata as well as factory-developed rally parts - but much, much more time to finish a stage without penalties.
My own class - 8 Modified Small - is a tough one to be competitive in. The difference between the Large and Small speeds is minuscule, so the low-power smaller engine does me no favors. However, I can't increase the engine size more than 20% so the car's stuck there. The fairly new build date of the car hurts too, but dropping back to class 7 would mean using the weaker differential from the 1.6 chassis as well as the smaller engine and a bunch less torque.
Assuming the same level of driving ability - the car certainly is capable of going faster in a different set of hands - the best way to make the car more competitive might be to take it into Open class. Yup, the deep end. The handling is good already. What it needs is blasting power. The ability to teleport up to the maximum 200 kmh at every opportunity.
And that means a V8. Less than a 200 lb weight gain and an extra 200 ft/lb of torque at idle. Heck, probably more. Drop in an LS3 crate motor and there's 430 hp with the factory engineering to run for a couple of hundred thousand miles. The small size and nimble handling of the Miata but with the acceleration of, well, just about anything. The biggest problems would be putting the power down and keeping the driver from wetting himself.
I seem to have rather wandered off on a tangent here, but the logic works. Doesn't it? It's probably just as well we're not liable to be going back any time soon.
entry 675 - tags: Mitty, V8