New From SVRA: A Place to Race Old Miatas

Date Mar 23, 2017

Written by David S. Wallens

What was once new inevitably ages over time, and the revolutionary Mazda Miata is no different. Those first cars have now been with us for more than 25 years, and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association is welcoming them with open arms.

The SVRA’s new Mazda Miata Heritage Cup is supported by Mazda and open to the 1.6-liter Miatas built from 1990 through 1993. Five Mazda Miata Heritage Cup races have been added to the 2017 schedule: Auto Club Speedway, Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway and Virginia International Raceway.

“We now have an affordable, more recent vintage race car that a younger generation driver can relate to,” Tony Parella, SVRA president and CEO, said in a release. “Younger drivers remember them, and once they enter our sport they can build from there.”

How tough are those first Miatas? A few years ago we found a 1992 Miata that had been sitting outside for half a dozen years. After cleaning away the piles of pine needles, rodent droppings and other debris, we prepared the car for the 24 Hours of LeMons endurance series. During our time with that car we never removed the cylinder head, rebuilt the transmission, or even spent much cash.

Tom Fowler, founder of Miata prep shop OPM Autosports, echoes our findings, noting that these cars are fun, tough and easy to campaign. “Good cars can be found for $8000 to $11,000 and should be close to race-ready,” he observes.

After our Miata saw three seasons of racing–all with minimal upkeep–a wreck at Barber Motorsports Park finally sidelined it for good. A replacement is in the works.

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