Targa Miata
January 29, 2007 - The cage is almost ready to go in.
This was provided by Hard Dog Fabrication and is a fantastic piece of work. It drops right in to place and has all the fishmouthed joints finished for us. We'll go a little further than the usual Spec Miata installation and tie it to the windshield frame as well.
entry 25 - tags: safety, sponsors
January 31, 2007 - A bit of reinforcement for the chassis.
This frame rail reinforcement kit is from our sponsor Flyin' Miata. It slips over the frame rails and provides a surprising improvement in stiffness of the chassis. An added bonus for us - beyond the fact that our 200,000+ mile chassis could use all the help it can get - is that it also armors the underside of the car somewhat and allows us to use the entire length of the frame rail as a jacking point. It's an extra 14.5 lbs, but worthwhile. At least the weight is very low and centered between the wheels!
entry 29 - tags: sponsors, stiffening
March 16, 2007 - Our Corbeau seats are here.
They're the FX1 Pro, a nicely fitted fibreglass seat that fits in small cars. We also have a set of Corbeau harnesses for each occupant of the car.
entry 91 - tags: sponsors, seats, ergonomics, safety
March 20, 2007 - Along with seats, Corbeau supplied these 3" harnesses and pads.
While the pads might be overkill, I know how bruised my collarbones get after a track day. Perhaps this will help with comfort a bit.
entry 97 - tags: sponsors, safety
April 24, 2007 - A donation from Jason on the Grassroots Motorsports forum - a Sparco navigator footrest.
It reeks of obsession. Not only are the hinge screws countersunk, all of the lightening holes are chamfered and of course there's an engraved Sparco logo on top. Beautifully made for what is really just a metal plate. But it's going to be a good rest for Eric's pretty little feet and it saves me the effort of fabricating one. Thanks Jason!
entry 148 - tags: ergonomics, sponsors
June 15, 2007 - My latest Miata book, Mazda MX-5 Miata: Find it, Fix it, Trick it is now available.
FindFixTrickMiata.com is a sponsor of the Targa Miata. Everyone should run out and get a copy. I think it's a pretty good book, covering every aspect of the Miata from history to annual specification changes to how to install a turbo system. And yes, there are a few pictures of the Targa Miata components in the book but you'll need a sharp eye to recognize them.
entry 211 - tags: announcements, sponsors
September 20, 2007 - Susquehanna MotorSports has joined the Targa Miata team!
They will be providing some of their signature rally products, such as a first aid kit, map light for Eric, mudflaps and other bits and pieces. On top of that, they'll be helping out with advice and information thanks to their long experience in the sport. They're best known for their lighting parts, and if we didn't already have a good stash of Hella lights we would have been in touch for those.
You can visit Susquehanna MotorSports at rallylights.com.
entry 315 - tags: announcements, sponsors
October 1, 2007 - Hard Dog Fabrication sent along this trick dual-durometer rollbar padding.
The problem is that rollbars are hard. The SFI-compliant padding at right is hard enough to protect a helmeted head from the bar, but it's not soft enough to protect an unhelmeted head very well. Since I want to be able to drive the Targa Miata without a helmet, this isn't ideal. The solution is a softer outer shell, with a firmer SFI padding inside. It's obviously quite a bit thicker overall than just an SFI pad so I can't use it in a couple of locations, but it'll fit nicely around my head.
entry 321 - tags: sponsors, safety
October 23, 2007 - The newest sponsor of the team is Susquehanna Motorsports.
They're perhaps better known as "rallylights.com", as they're the best place to lay your hands upon, well, rally lights. They've provided some of their signature items, a well-stocked first aid kit, a spill clean-up kit, a light for Eric to read by, some country flags for the car and a set of mud flaps so the pretty white paint stays (more or less) clean.
They're also a supplier for Terratrip rally computers.
entry 329 - tags: sponsors
March 16, 2008 - I was going to spend the weekend working on the car's suspension.
I have the new springs. However, AFCO wanted to take a look at the shocks so they're off getting checked out. This also prevents me from doing any more testing on the wideband.
Instead, I installed the first aid kit. This was provided to us by Susquehanna Motorsports, aka rallylights.com. It's mounted in the trunk, and I made this strap to hold it in place securely. There's also a piece of aluminum angle iron riveted in front to hold it in place. It's not going anywhere, but it's quick and easy to access. Perfect.
entry 437 - tags: safety, sponsors
April 21, 2008 - I finally got around to installing my mudflaps.
There's no real reason why it took me so long or why I'm just doing it now. They were provided by rallylights.com and are made of some indestructible material that's actually pretty easy to cut with a sharp blade.
entry 452 - tags: sponsors
July 17, 2008 - The Underground Miata Network is our newest sponsor!
The UMN, as it's known, is a Miata club in Ottawa. I was a charter member and have kept in contact with the club via their email list - but this was completely unexpected! The club generously sent in a donation to help with the effort. I'm blown away by their support, and will proudly display the UMN logos on the car as soon as it's reassembled.
entry 498 - tags: sponsors, announcements
August 6, 2008 - The Underground Miata Network logo is proudly displayed in the hardtop window.
I'm hoping to get together with the club to thank them for their support on my way home from the race.
entry 506 - tags: sponsors
January 12, 2011 - Planning, planning, planning.
First, we have a new sponsor. MNMazda.com - a Mazda enthusiast forum based in Minnesota, as you might have guessed - has stepped up and sponsored the Flyin' Miata team. This is great news for two reasons. First, it's a step towards the start line of the race. Second, it's completely enthusiast-driven. As with the Underground Miata Network in 2008, this means a lot more to me than a donation from a company. Thank you very much!
The fundraising is going well. As expected, the first couple of days were the busiest, but we're a good way along. At the moment, we're nearly halfway to our minimum of $10,000. This is all from individuals! I'm still chasing bigger fish, but it's a very heartening response. We're not there yet, so if you enjoy watching the Targa Miata in action, please help.

More on the proposed car specification shortly.
entry 771 - tags: sponsorship
August 3, 2011 - It's a good sign when the next item on the to-do list is stickers!
It's an important task, though. If it weren't for our supporters and sponsors, we wouldn't be able to make the trip to Newfoundland. I've been trying to find spots to put our sponsor's names and logos where they'll be visible and distinct, but still keep the car looking good. This list is of our patrons, clubs or individuals who have made a sizable contribution towards the team. Thank you, everyone.
entry 898 - tags: Sponsors
August 3, 2011 - Nancy in full livery.
Most of the sponsor stickers are on the back half of the car, where we can get more contrast and visibility with the solid black rear instead of trying to fit in the mixed white and purple. We will have to load the car up with an undisclosed number of event stickers as well, so we're leaving room. The one sticker on the front half of the car is the Heifer International logo. They're not a sponsor of the car, but Flyin' Miata is a sponsor of theirs.
Check out the new black C3M wheels wrapped in new Dunlop Star Spec tires in a 245/45-17. Thanks to Tire Rack for donating the wheels and Dunlop for supplying tires. Why a 245 when we've been running a 255 in the past? Because Grassroots Motorsports found that size to be measurably quicker in their testing on a car very much like ours.
Both cars will spend the next two days pounding around the track, showing off their abilities to Flyin' Miata fans. It'll also serve as a good shakedown for them. Neither car is completely in Targa spec yet, but they're close.
entry 900 - tags: Nancy, tires, wheels, sponsors
August 22, 2012 - Pikes Peak!
One of the world's best known races, and it's in our backyard. So Janel, Brandon and I headed for the 2012 running to check it out. It's been in the back of my mind as a "possible", but I've never thought I would have the nerve. It's one thing to run a rally and balance risk vs reward, but on a "known" course like this it's a flat-out time trial. With some big penalties for mistakes.
Dave Kern used to run with me at track days years ago and always made me feel timid and slow - he has set records on the mountain. But watching the event, the most obvious thing was the number of amateurs in the event. We could usually identify the ones that wouldn't make it to the top, either due to a lack of talent or an over-abundance of enthusiasm. Still, it did get me thinking about the possibility. The event is within the range of mere mortals, and the Time Attack division is essentially for rally cars complete with navigators. One thing that was kind of cool is that Andrew Comrie-Picard was running, and he's a Targa mainstay. I've also met winner Rhys Millen in the past.
If you've been reading the motorsport news, you know that there were a couple of extreme accidents this year. One was a 1400 hp car that got a stuck throttle almost immediately and went spearing off into the trees at well over 100 mph. That's a bit frightening and I do wonder what happened mechanically. More frightening and closer to my imagination was an Evo that took a dive off a cliff and rolled a long, long way down the mountain.
That latter one has me looking at the cage in the Targa Miata. There are a few things I'd like to change after living with it for so long, and looking at the shattered remains of the Evo has put that a little higher up the priority list. We'll see what comes about.
Very few of the Unlimited monsters did well this year. Only two finished - a Ford RS200 Group B rally car and the Palatov D4 shown here, which took first place. The D4 is an interesting little car technically, but more interesting to me is how they got to the event. They took a similar crowdsourced approach to our own, although it was significantly more successful in terms of money raised. There's no scale on their fundraising thermometer, but the top is $175,000. I'm going to be spending some time trying to figure out exactly what they did that worked so well, although some differences are fairly apparent - the Palatov site is a very popular one and the cars they build are quite a bit more expensive than our little Miatas. Also, Pike's Peak is a higher profile event than the Targa Newfoundland.
One interesting difference is that the team blog was restricted to sponsors only until after the race. It's a great way to make your sponsors part of the team and treat them like insiders, but I would also expect it to cut down on a certain level of sponsorship. I'm going to keep looking through their blog to see what I can learn from the approach.
Overall, an interesting weekend for a bunch of different reasons. I have looked at the rules, and thanks to our engine swap we'd probably have to run in Open class against a number of purpose-built vehicles like the D4. Well, we wouldn't expect to win anyhow!
Photo by Ben Padolsky. It's not the best one he took all weekend, but it illustrated my point nicely.
entry 1064 - tags: sponsorship, racing