Tag Archives: Miata.net

Millenials Miata Meet Winter Jersey Shore Cruise & BBQ

Seems like everyone went down the Jersey Shore today!

Hard to believe the weather was so nice I actually put the top down while cruising to a familiar spot on the Garden State Parkway to join a bunch of Millenials Miata owners for one of their mid-winter get-togethers and a cruise to the beach for some barbecue. I may be exaggerating a little. Not everyone was a young millenial, and we didn’t quite make it to the sandy beach, more like a town that has “beach” in it’s name… or close enough anyway, but you get the picture. It was a whole bunch of young Miata owners hanging out and having fun. Many of them I’ve met before at the New Jersey Miata’s events held at the same Chesapeake Cheesequake rest area on the GSP (I previously posted Chesapeake which is actually in Virginia, I meant Cheesequake which is in New Jersey). But this impromptu event felt different. I felt like an old fart and it was kind of cool to hang out with the kids. Trying to see if we still have something in common… cringing at the sight of some of the car mods. Hoping the cops don’t show up when some started doing burn outs and donuts. But obviously connected through the common denominator of our car choice: the Miata. And agreeable foodie tastes: a BBQ joint for lunch! It was refreshing especially since it’s still February and many car events are months away.

Naturally I took a ton of pix:

The turnout was impressive… I was hoping a few cars would show up, but they just kept on coming and coming. I think I counted 28 Miata’s in total and about half a dozen other cars that came along. For the longest while mine was the only NC that wasn’t like all the other NA’s & NB’s, but after a while a beautiful ND showed up, so we had at least one of each models represented (though no RF yet and no 124 Spider or Abarth… yet).

A very appropriately labelled loud piece.

Not quite sure what Miatagang is but they came out in numbers!

This was one of those non-Miata guest vehicles… a beautiful Ford-powered Jag replica/kit car. Looked, sounded and drove great!

Don’t remember if I’ve commented about this before, but truck-nutz type toys hanging off lowered cars is definitely a “thing” nowadays… like this pink colored “poop” emoji plush toy.

Stripped!

Oh yeah… and no rear bumper is definitely a “thing” too now… this was one of three or four without the rear bumper.

If this is a true drift car, it is by far one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen (no dings, dents or scrapes to be found!)

And away we go…

Rice box?

Do all Millenials skateboard? I think so…

After lunch the majority of the kids headed to another car show a few towns over while I convinced a few North Jersey owners to detour our way home via Ocean Avenue… somehow I was elected leader and I fucked up several times trying to reach the correct Ocean Avenue, getting lost in places I got lost as a leader at previous events last year. You’d think I would have learned, but no! I know exactly why I made the same mistakes now I did last time. I convinced myself I knew where I was going, and instead of firing up the GPS and not looking like a fool, I totally embarrassed myself.

Oh well… ironically we didn’t really get to see much of the beaches driving up to Sandy Hook as the main road was a few blocks off the Boardwalk and heavy with traffic. So that was kind of a fail. My apologies to the folks that followed me. I should really improve on this considering how much I’d like to make this sort of thing a business one day with my International Motorsports and Miataland-like tourism ideas…

Mazda MX-5: Jacksonville Miata Mini-Meet on my Florida Road Trip

I’ve been trying to organize a Florida Miata get-together ever since I bought my car and nothing seemed to pan out, until now! I finally managed to meet up with a local MX-5 owner in Jacksonville on my way to Daytona Beach, Florida… yay!

I’ve been communicating with the owner on Miata.net for a little while now, following on mods he’s been doing to his car and sharing information on my little projects. This opportunity to meet up and share ideas over dinner was great. I especially liked checking out the stuff he’s done in person… like the $38 eBay trunk lip spoiler which I’ve been considering doing myself. Or the larger windshield washer tank that is only available in Canada and not the US. Or his most recent mod: the hood struts which standard Miatas don’t come with. Or the custom steering wheel that is almost double the girth of the original. It was pretty neat!

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If the car looks a lot like my Miata, it basically is… both are 2007 GT PRHT models… same exterior in Copper Red and same interior in Camel Brown or Orange or whatever the hell it is. But this car has a Manual Transmission while mine is an Automatic. It also has a cone K&N filter while mine is stock…. and the few things I mentioned above that I wanted to see to decide whether I should get them too.

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I do really like the idea of the hood struts, that makes things easier.

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And the finish looks like it came from the factory like that.

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Come winter time I’ll probably wish I had this larger Canadian washer bottle.

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As much as I like the idea of a fat steering wheel, the fact it cost over $400 to ship and install, I can say it is nowhere near the top of my wish list.

I’m really grateful for the opportunity and for my new friend shouting a tasty seafood dinner… not something I was expecting but hopefully I could repay the favor in the future.

Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Bucket List

After compiling a list of all of my recent MX-5 Miata Road Trips I realized there’s one event I really must add to my bucket list: the Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca happening this October.

Why is this an important event?

I could think of a bunch of reasons… for one, Laguna Seca is a fantastic facility and a home of Mazda Motorsports and Mazdaspeed activities. The Global MX-5 Cup championship opened at Laguna Seca last weekend. California is perhaps the best place to own a Miata or at the very least a very appropriate place to visit, cruising to Big Sur along the PCH with the top down. And the best part there would be hundreds if not thousands of fellow MX-5 nuts in attendance many of whom would drive their cars there while others like me would be able to fly in and possibly rent one.

I’m seriously considering doing this event one year!

Here’s the promo pitch:

Miatas at Mazda Raceway has established itself as one of the must-do events on the Miata calendar. Don’t miss out.
The event will take place on October 1-2, 2016.
Registration for the hot laps will open at 9 am PDT on May 21st.
We’re still working on details, but here’s what you can probably expect.
  • 2 days of track time at world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
  • Hundreds of Miatas and Miata enthusiasts of all types
  • Parade laps on Saturday and Sunday
  • Vendors on hand with displays and demos and product specials
  • A BBQ and car show on Friday night
  • A party with live band on Saturday night

http://www.miatasatmazdaraceway.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MiatasatMRLS/

miatas at mazda raceway laguna seca october 2016

Mazda MX-5: Philadelphia Miata Meet & Cruise, Philly Cheesesteaks and Twisties

How to scrub brand new tires? Take the car on a little road trip… today’s excuse for a drive was a “local” Philly Miatas meet and cruise… I called it cheesesteaks and twisties… 2 hours each way and a total of just under 300 miles on new tires which are nicely broken into now and ready for  daily use.

Big thanks to the guys that organized the event today!

We had a total of 6 cars… 4 or 5 of them at a time. There were 2 NA’s, 3 NB’s and my NC. Only two of the guys were from Pennsylvania while three of us were from across the river in New Jersey. The other two Jersey guys were from South Jersey living in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

One car broke down shortly after we started the cruise, which was a bit sad. It was a Supercharged NB that kept on blowing a fuse which we kind of thought was a result of hitting a pot hole large enough to cause a short in one of the wires. We left the fella behind on the side of the road waiting for AAA… and while we were eating our cheesesteaks before heading off for some spirited driving around PA’s twisties, he showed up with his second NB… How cool!?!

After giving the new tires a bit of a workout driving in suburban Philadelphia along the banks of the river, I broke off from the group and went to visit my buddy Brian whose wedding I attended in Bangkok, it was a great opportunity to catch up although way too brief.

Fantastic spring day spend driving the Miata with the top down with a new group of friends in Philadelphia… looking forward to more of these in the near future!

Some pix:

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Turns out there are two styles of Philly Cheesesteaks: sliced and diced. The sliced type is like the famous Pat’s or Geno’s… or better yet like Tony Luke’s which I had for breakfast on my way to the meet. During the cruise we stopped at Dalessandro’s which serves diced steaks and the line for food was way out the door! You know it’s good when you look across the street at Chubby’s hoggies and steaks and there’s no line out the door there. Delicious stuff!

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Mazda MX-5: 3,000+ Mile Spring Break Road Trip South in a Miata, from New Jersey to Florida

Question: “Is Mazda MX-5 Miata a good Road Trip car?”

Answer: Yes, absolutely!

I have found first hand how good my little red sports car was for the little Spring Break Road Trip down the Eastern seaboard from NJ to Florida. My goal was to marshal the Grand Prix of St. Pete and Sebring 12 hour, but what I ended up doing was much more than that. I got to visit several more circuits including Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL and Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia. And I got to enjoy a ton of foodie experiences along the way, which is probably the best way to make a long trip in a Miata really comfortable. The trick is making sufficient stops along the way to not get tired or bored of the drive.

I also kept a little game going trying to play with my fuel mileage and finding most reasonable fuel prices along the way. I relied on an app called Gas Buddy which helped a lot considering the spread for fuel prices for 91-93 octane Premium fuel was vast, from $1.90 in the Northern States to $3,00/gallon in Southern states. I’ve found out that even from the same brand gas station, not all fuels were performing comparatively. I got better gas mileage sometimes from Speedway gas stations than I did from BP, Exxon or Sunoco.

Although not very scientific I created this spreadsheet of all 15 of my fill ups, including price paid, amount of fuel used, and MPG #’s:

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida fuel strategy and gas mileage

But enough about strategy the key attraction for me was sightseeing

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south central florida region scca at sebring

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida sebring international raceway

Sebring was the farthest point South I’ve driven my MX-5 Miata yet, I always wanted to get a shot of the car with the track. Daytona International Speedway was another, I’m happy to accomplish both!

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On the drive back I had some time to kill since my plan was to spend the night in South Carolina at a fellow marshal’s home (who wouldn’t get out of work until about 5’ish which gave me plenty of time to be a tourist while driving up). So I visited Roebling Road in Savannah, GA on the drive up.

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida roebling road savannah georgia

And that was as far as racetracks went on the trip. I did drive right past Darlington Motor Speedway (and Raceway, and Dragway) but that was around 5 o’clock in the morning and way too dark to take pictures anyway.

The rest of the trip was devoted to general sightseeing. Every time I’m in that part of Georgia I love visiting Savannah and Tybee Island.

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south tybee island savannah georgia

And believe it or not, I have yet to take a single picture of me in my car until now, I offered to take a photo for some tourists at the sign and they returned the favor for me to take this shot :

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Of course the main reason to visit Tybee Island is for it’s incredible seafood at The Crab Shack, which is exactly what I did.

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south tybee island savannah georgia crab shack

The food wasn’t particularly cheap, and the portions were kind of small, but you couldn’t beat the experience of freshness. Worth it!

Food therefore was a major theme on my Road Trip, and an integral part of keeping me entertained and enthusiastic about the drive (read: not bored!).

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida watering hole sebring

On our very first night in Sebring, Nancy Digh organized a nice marshal welcoming party at the Cowpokes Watering Hole in Sebring. I had a fantastic Brisket Bacon Burger there.

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But my favorite meal at Sebring (besides what the spectators fed us at turn 13) was at the Palm Diner trying their seafood belly buster:

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida palm diner belly buster

My most favorite meal in Florida thought was in Lake Worth while Couchsurfing. My host took me to a little hole-in-a-wall place called Cherry Pocket Steak & Seafood where I had an awesome meal.

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida cherry pocket steak & seafood fish

The appetizer was really my favorite. We had gator bites while sitting on a patio looking over a lake looking directly at a small alligator sunning itself out of the water. The salad that came with it had the most awesome strawberry flavored sauce, finger licking good!

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida cherry pocket steak & seafood gator bites

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south to florida airboats and seaplanes

Only in Florida where you can arrive at the restaurant by car, seaplane or air boat.

Driving further north my buddy Ben took me to Redbone Alley  serving an amazing dish of Grits and Catfish… very southern!

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south grits and catfish florence south carolina

Even chain food in North Carolina was delicious, Bojangle’s famous biscuit and gravy, cajun chicken and sweet tea were sooooo good!

mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south biscuit and gravy cajun chicken sweet tea bojangles

Virginia and Pennsylvania welcomed me with an even faster fast-food option right at the gas station: Sheetz and their delicious sliderz and chicken strips tossed in Dr.Pepper BBQ sauce… Yum!

Long story short, the Road Trip in a Miata becomes not just bearable but extremely enjoyable when you take your time and enjoy the sites, try the local foods and enjoy yourself when you can.

After making it home I went ahead and swapped my Winter BFG’s that now have about 4.5k miles on them for Summer BFG’s with 0 miles on them and am looking forward to taking another Road Trip soon…. stay tuned!

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mazda mx-5 spring break road trip south wheel swap winter for summer bfg

Mazda MX-5: Polar Bear Run Cruising Rural Pennsylvania with the LVMOC on New Year’s Day

What a way to start the new year: January 1st and I’m off on my first Polar Bear Run with the Las Vegas Miata Owners Club… no wait, I mean Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club… cruising the rural country roads of PA. Somewhere on the outskirts of Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch country, saw plenty of horse buggy warning signs along the way. It was an absolutely awesome experience, I really thoroughly enjoyed myself!

I saw a post on Miata.net in late December inviting people to join the LVMOC group for a “Polar Bear” run in eastern Pennsylvania just outside of Allentown (about two hours drive from where I live in NJ). But after being shaken down for money at the last “club” event I went to with a different group I was a little weary considering this event. But decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did. The turnout was amazing, about 26 cars showed up… some Miata owners didn’t actually bring their cars relying on their winter vehicles like Subaru WRX’s or Mini Coopers, but the rest came out in force and drove around with the top down. (Something I completely chickened out to do myself… especially with the trip coming up to Australia, I cannot afford to get sick).

I left my home bright and early, just before 7am thinking I’d make it to the meeting spot at Cracker Barrel in Folgelsville, PA in time to have breakfast before the meet and cruise. I got there way early. Absolutely no traffic on the roads that early on New Year’s Day. Although I had a freaky encounter with a Subaru BRZ that blew past me on Interstate 80 in New Jersey. About 100 yards after he passed me, his rear window blew out and shattered on the highway. I could hear the little glass bouncing off the tires on my undercarriage. Freaky… to say the least.

At the Polar Bear Run there were no bad experiences. It was a very light traffic day being a holiday and we stayed as a group mostly while cruising together along the rural roads. I was very impressed with the condition of the roads, very minimal pot holes and in general a smooth ride. In a way the roads reminded me of New Zealand roads like those leading from Auckland to Taupo for example,  very twisty and lots of elevation changes with beautiful scenery along the way. We passed plenty of farm land, many corn fields, a few wineries and vineyards. It was just great!

The total run was about 75 miles long. That’s in addition to the 106 miles it took me to get to the meeting spot and another 108 or so to get back. The low fuel light came on about 10 miles from home. I went straight to my BP gas station and the car only took 9.8 gallons and $20 bux. Which is quite cheap for such a trip. The transmission, brakes and engine got a really good work out, and my new BFG Comp 2 A/S’s got a great scrubbing too.

We stopped at Hawk Mountain Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary for a group photo (and a much needed pee break). So enjoy some fotos:

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I would love to do another event like this in the future!

And some more photos from the meeting point at Cracker Barrel:

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One car I was particularly interested in checking out was the Niseko Edition – the Icy Blue special edition NC1 Miata. It was also nice to see the Marble White NC1 Miata in direct comparison to the Crystal Mica Pearl NC3 which was also in attendance. So many beautiful cars showed up, it was great to see all the variety… I always focus on NC’s but even with NB’s there were several shades of light blue which I really liked. What a great time! Can’t believe so many people showed up in the heart of winter… in January!

Mazda MX-5: Oil Change at 5,000 miles with Mobil 1 Synthetic 0W-20 & M1-102 filter

File this one under the: “what have you done to your Miata today” category. I changed my oil. It was exactly 5,000 miles since the last service in April, at 37,297 miles which included several 400-500+ mile road trips Upstate New York to Watkins Glen and New England to Thompson Speedway. In fact my father and I changed the oil on both the old Ford Explorer SUV and the Miata, and I mention the Explorer for a reason, because I want to use a different oil the next time I do my service, one that doesn’t turn so dark so quickly.

mazda mx-5 miata oil change mobil 1 synthetic 1

I got a hell of a deal December of last year when walking into a local AutoZone I found a 5-QT jug of Mobil 1 on sale for $5. I bought two. This is the second jug being used. I was reading all about Mobil 1 on Miata.net, and so many people swear by it, but I don’t see what the big deal is, especially when you consider paying the full price which is typically around $27 to $35 depending on the store. The oil turned dark at only 5k miles, about the same shade of dark as the Explorer’s standard Pennzoil 10W-40 at 4k miles, and it’s not synthetic. The feel is about the same on the Miata as on the Explorer. Maybe I had unreasonable expectations for the feel from the Mobil 1.

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Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy “Recommended for most Hondas and Toyotas”

But at any rate I think I’ll try something else in the spring time to at least make a comparison for myself. I will stick with 0W-20 weight and full synthetic, but will change the brand.

The options are:

Pennzoil Platinum or Ultra Platinum

pennzoil platinum 0w-20 or ultra platinum 5w-20

Castrol EDGE or Castrol EDGE Extended Performance

castrol edge 0w-20 or castrol edge extended performance 5w-20

I’m also thinking of replacing the Mobil 1 M1-102 oil filter with a K&N version, which seems like it’d be easier to install and remove when the time comes with the wrench instead of trying to work in a tight space the way it is now. The nut seems like a great idea. The filter goes for around $10 to $15 apiece, available at Walmart but probably the most reasonably priced at Moss Miata – $9.95

K&N HP-1002 oil filter

mazda mx-5 miata K&N oil filter HP-1002 k-n

So if anyone has any personal experience with the products I’ve listed above or some other products that I haven’t considered, like for example the $37 a jug Royal Purple synthetic oil, do share your thoughts… please! I would especially be interested to hear from people with a NC Miata so I can base my decisions on something concrete. A real world experience, like I got from Jason for example, Stevie – his 2009 Miata gets Pennzoil Platinum + K&N filter changed on an 8,000 mile interval. That’s impressive!

hello stevie 1 mx-5 miata

Oh yes, besides the recommendations on facebook and Miata.net I am a sucker for Motorsport advertising, hence the BFGoodrich tires for my Miata just like the BFGoodrich sponsored MX-5 Cup series cars (tires might be different but whatever). So which cars use what oil in what series? Well, this Mazda comes to mind using Castrol:

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& this car in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge using Total:

2015 petit le mans continental tire sports car challenge mx-5 miata

Mazda MX-5: JDM “Roadster” badge

My JDM Mazda “Roadster” badge has arrived from Japan.

A few weeks ago I was contemplating whether to get a JDM Roadster badge for the rear decklid of my car, see this post: To “Roadster” or Not to “Roadster”? As much as I couldn’t justify spending close to $30 bux for a plastic badge, almost double what I paid for a Mazda badge I got earlier to stick on the inside of the car (check out this post: Personal touches to my Miata) I went ahead and ordered it. The price was only a few cents different to buy from an American seller in California and getting the real deal from Japan. I chose the Japanese option, a company called Amayama which billed my PayPal account through their Singapore HQ apparently.

But anyway, fast forward to today, I went and picked up the giant EMS shipping envelope. Had to go to the post office because I wasn’t home when the box arrived last week. It was meticulously packed and nothing was damaged, so it was well worth the $13 in shipping.

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To mount the badge I had to wash the few inches of dust off the car from the Watkins Glen Road trip. And then the “MAZDA” debadging begun. There was some residue that was left when I peeled the original badge off. But with some serious rubbing using an Alcohol swab and Windex, it came off nicely.

I couldn’t initially decide where to mount the badge.

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On the right where it appears in Japan instead of the MX-5 badge.

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In the center like some folks on Miata.net have done.

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Or on the left instead of the Mazda badge which looks a bit odd.

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And that’s what I ended up doing. The Mazda badge looks a bit out of place where it is. So much so that later NC2 and NC3 miatas came without it on the trunk lid. Only the MX-5 badge appears. So I was happy to remove it.

The final result looks awesome, in my view:

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The car is further personalized to my tastes, and I like it very much!

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Mazda MX-5: To “Roadster” or Not To Roadster?

UPDATE: The “Roadster” badge has been purchased/installed. Click here for the latest post: JDM “Roadster” badge.

 

I’m debating whether to add or replace the stock badge with a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) “Roadster” badge on the trunk of my MX-5 Miata.

Should I?

The badge would either replace or be added above the standard “MX-5” badge on the right side of the trunk or replace the “Mazda” badge on the left side of the trunk. Like so:

mx-5 roadster badge
Photo credit: http://forum.miata.net/vb/archive/index.php/t-284504.html

or like so:

mx-5

The badge is available for sale from a few places. Password:JDM sells it for $21.50 plus $5.50 shipping. eBay has a US seller listing it at $39 + $6 shipping, and a Japanese seller listed $30 + $17 shipping. Someone on Miata.net pointed out a Japanese company that lists it at a more realistic $13.45 + whatever shipping may cost.

roadster oem
Photo credit: http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?p=7580209

I’m tempted to order it to further personalize my car. After these little touches there will be other more performance oriented mods/repairs. But at this point I think I’ll stick to the aesthetics.

 

Read about this post from December about the initial personal touches to my Mazda: Personal touchest to my Miata.

Lightning Miata Casualty of the Nordschleife

Ever since I bought my MX-5 last December I’ve been a little Miata crazy. Joined the forums, went to car meets and cruises, etc. Before leaving on the trip to Europe I posted on the Miata.net forum to see if any European MX-5 owners wanted to meet up in Belgium or Germany… one person responded but it never materialized. Didn’t see any MX-5’s on the road on my day trip to Helsinki, Finland or the few days in Brussels downtown, but that changed once we crossed into Germany driving to Nurburgring with Pol, there were Miata’s everywhere! I counted at least 4 or 5 NC PRHT’s just like mine, and a bunch more NB’s driving around. One guy parked his yellow NB in such a spot that I saw it for the duration of the 24h race right from my post, it’s the only car that was visible through the tree tops down at the road below the bridge where I marshaled.

miata car wash adenau

Saw this Miata getting a wash on our walk to the Supermarket in Adenau by our station.

But this post is about a Miata race car, and one became a casualty of the Nordschleife on the first day of practice: the Lightning Miata:

lightning miata nurburgring 3

lightning miata nurburgring 2

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It was so freaking sad to see this car in this condition. Especially since I was trying to take a better shot of the car racing, because the first few shots I took were a little blurry and smudged. I deleted them off my phone and got myself ready for a better picture, the next thing I hear was this car grinding down the pavement as a marshal tow vehicle was dragging it to our post. Booo!

I hope they come back for the 24h of N-ring next year, and maybe I’ll get to meet up with the team during our paddock walk.

To check out pictures and videos of this car the way it is supposed to look like check out their YouTube and Facebook social media pages:

www.facebook.com/LightningMiata/

PS. So what happened to this car to cause such damage? Hard to say since it did not happen in front of us, but based on all the markings on the car I would guestimate that it hit something hard enough that the left front wheel ripped off, sending the car on it’s roof, because of severe road rash on top of the hood and the removable hard top (RHT). I’m quite impressed how well the car held up, the RHT came up about an inch on it’s rear hinges but stayed in tact, none of the windows broke or even cracked, which is amazing.