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J_D
J_D New Reader
6/18/24 3:50 p.m.

I miss my 00' NB1 Miata, but do not like the old car feeling anymore. I'm thinking of picking up a Canadian 2009-2011 NC2 GS, in competition yellow, and prepping it for HPDE. The GS has the 6 speed and LSD, similar to the U.S Club I believe. 

Year 1:

  • Buy car + deferred maintenance
  • Goodwin 42mm radiator along with new hoses + upgraded FoMoCo Motorcraft water pump + PW625
  • Flyin Miata Stage 2 Koni kit (sway bar + shocks)
  • Hard Dog Roll bar
  • DTC-60 pads, potential Flyin Miata front Brake Kit
  • 245/40/17 RS4 Tires

Year 2/3 depending on confidence level

  • Driver mod continued
  • 9Lives Racing Rear Wing (I am a ricer at heart)
  • Racebred Components Front Splitter (again...Ricer at heart)
  • Flyin Miata NC Turbo kit (TBD)

 

Considerations:

  1. I thought of the Flyin Miata Foxx Coilvers/ Xidas / Annex FastRoad Pro instead of the Koni kit, but I don't see myself really playing with settings at each track event, especially since I am not timing anything. 
  2. I am 5'9" tall - assuming with a roll bar the PHRT is out of the question?
Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/18/24 4:13 p.m.

2. The PRHT geometry means a roll bar has to be comically low to allow the top to operate. You could go with the FM Transformer bar as an option. 

They don't seem to have a lot of trouble keeping cool, FYI. I wouldn't do things like mess with the water pump unless I was in there for other reasons. Be aware that a fat radiator is less efficient, more cores is not necessary more better. 

Good plan overall. The FM/Koni setup is a good all-arounder, even if it won't get you pit lane cred.

J_D
J_D New Reader
6/18/24 4:16 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Thank you for the reply keith. You are the Flyin' Miata Guru after all! I was going to ask about that - I saw you guys have a different radiator on your website. Considering you make the turbo kit I want ... I will listen to your advice! 

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/18/24 4:17 p.m.

Are 245 worth while for hpde? Seems like too much tire given power and weight. 
 

Also, I think someone makes seat lowering brackets for the NC. Might be good 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/18/24 4:25 p.m.

In reply to amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) :

245 isn't ridiculous for an NC and the width will improve tire life and heat resistance.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/18/24 4:32 p.m.

The NC's ability to cool depends on where you are at. The stock radiator is laughably tiny (it's thinner than most AC condensers I've seen) and was causing me excessive temp problems in California. Maybe not a problem in Canada or Colorado but a real issue here. It is also BURIED IN THERE and has the cheap plastic end tanks so possibly just worth doing for maintenance, as if it goes you are hard down and probably not doing that repair without a lift. I think the Koyo Hyper V-core aluminum unit is a good upgrade without going crazy. The gargantuan Goodwin unit always struck me as overkill.

I think the Blackbird bar is worth the price over the Hard Dog, which makes you lose the soft top latch and isn't strictly legal in some orgs due to the upright placement. Blackbird does make you pay for it but it's a hell of a well made bar.

PRHT is just plain a no-go if you plan on doing any real track work.

Oh, and I ran the FM Koni Stage 2 kit myself, it was great on track, perhaps not the most hardcore but a wonderful dual-duty setup.

My old car (now owned by Don Fip here on the forums):

J_D
J_D New Reader
6/18/24 5:13 p.m.

Wonderful. Thank you for the replies. 

I was worried that the aero + FM Koni Stage 2 would be frowned upon. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/18/24 5:42 p.m.

Note that the Hard Dog bar does NOT require the permanent removal of the soft top latch, I don't know where that piece of information might have come from. The soft top is 100% functional.

Cooling at our test track in Colorado is about as challenging as it gets - low airspeed, low density air, dry air (good for people, bad for cars), high ambient temps (100F on the Thursday track day last week). You really don't want a massively thick radiator, as it has more air restriction and the air heats up as it passes through so you get less and less cooling. Fin density is a much more important metric. But I agree that a Canadian car isn't going to stress the cooling system too much, certainly not at stock power levels.

J_D
J_D New Reader
6/18/24 6:33 p.m.

We currently have a heatwave and are being told to avoid being outdoors. It is currently 90-92 F. I assume you southerners will be laughing at us. 

ClearWaterMS
ClearWaterMS HalfDork
6/18/24 6:38 p.m.

just to throw out an alternative to year 2/3 is to look at the new spec NC class from SCCA.  I know your not interested in competing but the spec NC class aligns pretty well to your goals with a touch higher up front cost.  

https://www.scca.com/pages/club-spec-csx

either way, you mentioned water temp cooling, what about oil cooling?  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/18/24 6:49 p.m.

32 C is plenty warm, but it's also an outlier for you :) This week, it's supposed to cool down to that point, I'm looking forward to it after spending the day at the track when it was 38C...

In reply to ClearWaterMS :

Isn't that class intended to be a place for MX-5 Cup cars to go? That's the Cup suspension, anyhow. Interesting mod list.

J_D
J_D New Reader
6/18/24 6:56 p.m.
ClearWaterMS said:

just to throw out an alternative to year 2/3 is to look at the new spec NC class from SCCA.  I know your not interested in competing but the spec NC class aligns pretty well to your goals with a touch higher up front cost.  

https://www.scca.com/pages/club-spec-csx

either way, you mentioned water temp cooling, what about oil cooling?  

That does sound lovely - only problem is I'm based up North in Canada! Maybe a road trip is in order :) 

J_D
J_D New Reader
6/18/24 6:56 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

32 C is plenty warm, but it's also an outlier for you :) This week, it's supposed to cool down to that point, I'm looking forward to it after spending the day at the track when it was 38C...

In reply to ClearWaterMS :

Isn't that class intended to be a place for MX-5 Cup cars to go? That's the Cup suspension, anyhow. Interesting mod list.

In my defence our winter does get cold. Didn't stop me from using my NB though!

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
6/18/24 7:16 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Isn't that class intended to be a place for MX-5 Cup cars to go? That's the Cup suspension, anyhow. Interesting mod list.

Not really, it just uses a lot of common parts with the SMX racecars for cost savings.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/18/24 11:56 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Note that the Hard Dog bar does NOT require the permanent removal of the soft top latch, I don't know where that piece of information might have come from.

At one point it did not have provisions for the body-side latch. I can dig up the posts with photos on Miata.net to prove it if need be. I remember hearing well after I committed to the Blackbird bar that Hard Dog was making changes to the bar though so maybe that is something they accommodated.

I'm not going to argue with the forum Miata Master about the radiator or cooling but it made a perceptible difference on my car for my use cases. I had to deal with a lot of stop and go traffic on the way to Sonoma and it made a difference across the board smiley

da_johnny_boy
da_johnny_boy New Reader
6/19/24 1:40 a.m.

I've been tracking my NC since ~2015.

Here is some advice, going along with your list format.

Year 1

  • deferred maintenance is always good, make sure you get good high temp race brake fluid
  • upgraded radiator isn't really needed with the stock engine. My engine started overheating when I did my 2.5 swap, and then I get the GWR triple pass radiator to help. It still needs hood vents.
  • I'd go with stiffer suspension if you are mostly tracking it. I've driven the FM Koni kit. It is nice on the street, but at autocross it is pretty soft and slow to respond compared to the stiffer MeisterR Club Race coilovers I have on my Miata. The Koni shocks and other coilovers are both adjustable. You don't need to be constantly playing with the settings at the track, I'd just set them to somewhere between 1/2 to 2/3 full stiff. If you have any specific handling issues, you can change the front/rear stiffness balance. Also, coilovers will lower it more than the FM Koni kit, which gives you more static camber.
  • I'd recommend the Blackbird roll bar instead of the Hard dog.
  • I tried the DTC-60 pads but wasn't happy with them. They lasted about 4 track days. I switched to Gloc R12/R10 pads which lasted basically a whole year. After the 2.5 swap, I was making significantly more power, and added brake ducts, which have kept the Gloc pads happy. Brake kit is unnecessary unless you have a bunch more power. Gloc and other brands have higher temp compounds you can switch to if you are getting them too hot. If you really want a brake kit, I would do one that uses larger rotors, GWR Budget BBK, Sakebomb Sport, Keisler, are probably the first level of upgraded brakes. Be aware that wheels might have fitment issues.
  • RS4 tires are great, don't forget the 17x9 wheels. Lots of good affordable wheel options from Enkei, Konig, and the TR Motorsports C4.  I went through several sets of RS4s; they would heat cycle out before I used all the tread, which was about a season of 10 track days. There are a couple other good options, I would check out the GRM Track Tire guide.
  • It depends on your how much you drive on the street vs track, but I was having outer shoulder wear even when I was lowered to about 13.25" hub to fender with the camber adjusters maxed, giving around ~3.5 deg of front camber. I just added the lower ball joint camber bushings which should give me around 4.5 degree of front camber. If you are mostly tracking your NC, I would recommend doing them at the same time as coilovers, so you only need one alignment.

Year 2

  • I have the 9 lives wing installed, and working on installing my splitter. I would recommend figuring out if you are doing HPDE for fun or have a goal to eventually compete in a specific class. If you are doing it for fun, do the wing and splitter, its fun to have more grip. Also, the 9lives wing works better with a hardtop due to smoother airflow, so I would consider adding a race or OEM hardtop.
  • If you are doing a specific class, then do a wing and splitter if you are allowed. I'm not sure what clubs are in Canada, in the U.S. rules vary significantly between organizations.
    • NASA TT5 allows wing and splitter
    • SCCA has different prep levels, wing and splitter will push you up significantly, but it does fit somewhere
    • Grid Life Time attack is not a good fit for stockish Miatas, you could run the Miata in clubTR but it needs a KSwap to be competitive
    • Club Spec could be a good option, not sure on the cost of prepping one.
  • Driver mod and more track time is always good. I would recommend seeking a coach if you want to improve significantly, and especially if you hit a plateau. HPDE instructors aren't necessarily fast drivers, they are safe and are good at keeping new students safe on track. An actual professional coach should help you drive faster.
  • Garmin Catalyst, Aim Solo2, or other timers/drivers aid can also help you improve if you know how to use them.
  • I would recommend avoiding the turbo kit. Most of the people I know with turbos have significant issues with them on the track, especially if you are a good driver in higher run groups. The only person I know that hasn't had issues keeps the boost low, making low 200s. If you shoot for much more, you will likely have cooling issues, trans issues, and diff issues.

point of depature, I'm not sure the issue with doing the radiator without a lift. I swapped in the 2.5 without a lift and then did the GWR triple pass later without a lift. Sure it would be more comfortable to have a lift, but definitively not required. If anything, I would trade a lift for having the AC system evacuated so I could disconnect and reconnect the ac condenser as that causes the most problems with the radiator swap.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/19/24 2:39 a.m.

In reply to da_johnny_boy :

When I did the radiator I just could not possibly conceive of how you'd get it out of the top, it might be possible but I had no desire to try. Coming out of the bottom on typical jack stands you're really fighting with space constraints but it's doable. On a lift you can just hang the condenser and carefully slide it out from between the condenser and the e-fans if you really pay attention to what you're doing.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/19/24 9:59 a.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

I would be interested in seeing those photos of the bars without the body side latch. I know that the mounting point was present in early 2010, as the photos I took for our catalog at that time clearly had it - that's the bracket in the middle of the cross bar. I'm not even sure Blackbird was around at that time. I wonder if there was a manufacturing error, but that seems pretty unlikely for Hard Dog.

About turbos on track: a lot of that is up to the owner. It's so easy to add moar power! to a turbo car, a lot of people can't stop themselves. If you set the boost level to a reasonable setting and you exhibit some mechanical sympathy, you can avoid problems. Mechanical empathy is part of being a good driver! The engineering of the kit is also important for things like cooling, something we've been deep into of late. Throwing on a huge snail and trying to run 350 hp, well, you'll have to make sure the whole drivetrain is capable of those levels.

The ideal tire is always changing, which is one reason Andy Hollis is kept so busy :) A good source of information is the budget enduro (Lemons etc) crowd, they know what sticks AND lasts.

Note that changing front/rear stiffness balance is best done with sway bars, springs are the second choice. Changing shock settings will affect transitional behavior but will not change the steady-state cornering balance.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/19/24 10:36 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Here you go. I guess this is the new "legal" bar that they were developing to challenge Blackbird:

https://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=740828

I don't have an NC anymore so it's a moot point now, but I was always puzzled as to why Blackbird is the only company that can do a bar to the letter of the org rules and also keep all the interior stuff.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/19/24 10:44 a.m.

"Legal" depends on what you're doing. For NASA/SCCA HPDE and time trial, the normal bar meets the requirements. The Hard Core you pictured doesn't fit with a soft top so there's no soft top latch - it's the equivalent to the Blackbird GT3 in that regard.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/19/24 10:54 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Yeah, fair enough. The Hard Dog legality thing seemed just uncertain enough when I was looking that I didn't want to risk it, and at one of my local orgs the Blackbird was listed as approved while the Hard Dog was not.

FWIW apparently this isn't the Hard Core, this was a new-style bar. The guy in the thread installed it with his soft top just fine, it just doesn't have the latch for whatever reason.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/19/24 11:00 a.m.

The red car is fitted with the Hard Core bar you posted. That top is not fully seated, which is why Hard Dog says it's not compatible with the soft top. From what I can tell, your "new style" bar IS the Hard Core. The Sport is still the same one that's been available for 15 years.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/19/24 11:04 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

The thread discusses the vehicle owner working directly with Hard Dog to prototype a new bar as of 2021 with lengthy info and correspondence with Martha and Mike about designing it to clear a soft top, so I don't know what else to say. You can believe what you'd like to believe and I'll leave it at that smiley

To OP: sorry about clogging up your thread, just wanted to share why I ultimately went with the Blackbird, and that Hard Dog apparently was working on a competitive bar at one point (recommend reading the thread I previously linked), but I mixed up the stuff about the soft top latch on the old bar/new bar. The Hard Dog Sport will probably be fine for you from what you and Keith are saying!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/19/24 11:39 a.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

I read that thread as "we tried to make it fit", but then it clearly doesn't. From the thread:

If you go with a single diagonal it will be inside the main hoop which will give more room for the top to drop to about stock level. With the double diagonals that I'm getting, the front of the top hits the bars before it drops all the way down so the top will sit maybe an inch or so higher than normal but it doesn't appear to affect anything.

Because of this, Hard Dog has released at as "not compatible with the soft top". That particular customer is okay with it not going all the way down but that would not be acceptable to the vast majority and I certainly wouldn't want to try to justify it to customers. The pictures of the Hard Core look like the same bar to me.

da_johnny_boy
da_johnny_boy New Reader
6/19/24 1:17 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

I pulled it out of the bottom on jack stands, with the front bumper and undertray removed. I agree that you can't remove it out of the top.

Also based on the photos of that new hard dog bar design, the top looks like it is at least 6-8" higher than it is stock or with the BBFW roll bar. Not really a great solution. I think the BBFW main hoop is further forward and tilted forward, which gives more room for the rear supports.

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