Project Turbo Miata: A Fresh Engine for Our Endurance Racer

Update by Tom Suddard to the Mazda Miata project car
Jul 17, 2017

After our disastrous Daytona outing with the ChumpCar World Series presented by RVA Graphics & Wraps, we knew that we needed a better plan for our low-buck Mazda Miata endurance racer. No, our car’s blown head gasket wasn’t the used engine’s fault, but we suspect that a fresher engine might have withstood some mild overheating a tad better than our 200,000-mile unit. If nothing else, we figured the prospect was at least worth investigating.

Wow, were we ever shortsighted. While used 1.8-liter engines are worth about $700, Treasure Coast Miata offers completely refreshed short blocks for $1500, with rebuilt heads available for $550. We weren’t about to throw away another weekend’s worth of gas, race entry, hotels and time over a $1300 difference, so we had Treasure Coast Miata build us a 1.8-liter Miata engine to stock specs.

Our goal? Not big power, but big reliability. We did perhaps go a tad overboard, though: Thanks to our friends at ARP Fasteners, our new engine sports significantly stronger nuts and bolts. Add a little extra expense for a new timing belt and water pump set, too. Why? Call it all insurance for the turbo: Yes, despite a few reliability issues, we’re going to keep trying to make our junkyard WRX turbocharger reliable in an endurance race.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/18/17 12:13 a.m.

The $500 limit?

ross2004 Reader
7/18/17 8:24 a.m.
Jerry From LA wrote: The $500 limit?

Irrelevant for ChumpCar; Lemons might raise an eyebrow.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Associate Editor
7/18/17 8:32 a.m.

Correct. ChumpCar is points-based, meaning a brand new stock engine is worth exactly as much as a 200,000 mile core.

thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/18/17 3:28 p.m.

Y'all should put a couple more GRM stickers on the car. I can't quite tell that it's your car yet

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