Track Attack - Prepping your MX-5 for circuit work! - MX5 Parts Info
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Track Attack - Prepping your MX-5 for circuit work! - MX5 Parts Info

The Mk4 Buyers Guide

You’d have to have been living under a rock for the last two-and-a-bit decades to be unaware of the Mazda MX5’s success as a budget, entry level track day car. The virtues of low cost, light weight, mechanical simplicity, fine handling and an immense amount of aftermarket support have ensured that Mazda’s humble sports car has long been the go to machine for those taking their tentative steps in the world of club motorsport, and this shows no sign of stopping anytime soon! With this in mind, here’s our rundown of the top modifications to make to your MX5 should you wish to get the most of it out on track.


1) Tyres

No, tyres aren’t as sexy or exciting as coilovers and massive brakes, but they’re safety critical and one of the best, most cost effective ways of transforming the way your car handles. Your only point of contact with the road and therefore of crucial importance, grippy, soft compound tyres will give the confidence to brake later and carry greater speed through the corners. Of course we’re not for a moment suggesting that you go all out and fit non-road legal slicks, but we’d wholeheartedly recommend investing in a set of performance orientated tyres, a good selection of which can be found on our website. Click the link below to find out more:


2) Replacement springs and dampers

There’s every chance that your MX5’s standard suspension will be well past its best by now, particularly if you happen to own an NA, an NB or a ‘well travelled’ NC. The world of suspension can be a confusing one, so for now we’re going to concentrate on ‘fixed’ suspension packages, I.E, those that contain springs and dampers but do not allow the end user to toggle the ride height or damping settings. We stock OE Mazda/Bilstein replacement dampers and standard ride height springs for most MX5 variants, and these will transform the handling of older cars on tired suspension, while also ensuring they remain perfectly usable on a day-to-day basis. Click the link below to find out more on the springs and dampers we can supply:


3) Coilovers

A more advanced bit of hardware for those more committed to on track heroics, coilovers have the facility to toggle the ride height of the car they’re attached to. Though far from a blanket rule (there are many, many variables to consider when discussing automotive suspension, lower cars tend to handle better thanks to the lower centre of gravity, though you should be wary of going too low – doing so can be counterproductive in the extreme! Still more advanced coilovers enable the driver to adjust the bump and rebound settings of the dampers themselves, allowing for specific driving traits and track features to be taken into account. We’d recommend looking into the fantastic range of Gaz coilovers available on the MX5parts website. Click the link below to find out more:

coolant re-run kit

4) Coolant re-route kit

The MX5 is now old enough that the majority of reliability concerns and inbuilt weak points are well known, and a good example of this is the OEM coolant run on the 1.6 NA model. The system’s less than perfect design ensures that the coolant system both enters and exits through the front of the engine, meaning that cylinder number four is inadequately cooled, increasing the likelihood of engine failure. The odds of this happening are exacerbated when these cars are driven in anger, hence why IL Motorsport has developed a complete solution to the problem. As the name suggests, the coolant re-route kit diverts the run of the coolant system and allows it to flow in the front and out of the back, in turn ensuring that all four cylinders receive optimal cooling at all times. The result of an exhaustive development programme, you can be sure the IL Motorsport’s re-route kit is well up to dealing with the increased pressures and temperatures associated with trackday driving. Click the link below to find out more:


5) Brakes

An obvious addition to this list, granted, but certainly not one without merit. As we’ve said in the past, big brakes will certainly make you faster round a track, giving you the confidence to brake later and carry greater speed. Again, only you can know how far you plan on taking things trackday wise, but a carefully considered process of uprating key components within the braking system is a good place to start. Click the link below to be taken to the discs and pads section of our online shop; we’d recommend some EBC pads and vented disc for starters, with maybe one of our ‘Big Brake’ kits for those keen to dive right in at the deep end!

Ultra Racing

6) Chassis/strut braces and ARBs

Linking either side of your car together greatly increases structural rigidity and will cut down on flex and roll mid-corner, both traits that can rob you of confidence and valuable split-seconds when driving on track. The sheer variety of braces available on the MX5parts web store serves to underline just how popular a track car the MX5 has become, with the NA and NB particularly well catered for. Which one you plump for depends on how far you intend on taking things and how deep your pockets are, but it’s worth noting that the Ultra Racing braces we stock are all highly regarded and have been proven to bring appreciable handling benefits. Ultra Racing front anti-roll bar is a good place to start:


7) Wheels

It doesn’t take an automotive chassis specialist to work out that lightweight, aftermarket alloy wheels can improve a car’s performance, and this is largely thanks to the reduction in unsprung weight they represent. We’ve recently expanded the alloy section of our online store and can now offer a massive choice of wheels for all generations of MX5, and most can be specified as part of a wheel-tyre package. Not only does this greatly reduce hassle, it represents a significant saving – money that can be better spent on trackday entry fees and fuel! Click the link below to find out more:



8) Tools

No matter how well you prepare your MX5 prior to taking to the track, the chances are that at some point, something will go wrong. Some failed components will force your hand and will see you leaving the track early, but the majority of minor issues and faults can be repaired or prevented while at the track – you just need to ensure that your tool kit is suitably well stocked beforehand. We stock an impressive array of tools for almost any automotive task you care to mention: from specialist feeler gauges and clutch alignment tools, to ratchet and spanner sets that will doubtless see frequent action, we’ve well and truly got you covered! Click the link below to find out more:


9) Cleaning

Bear with us here, as we’re not for a minute suggesting that you spend hours meticulously clay-barring and polishing your car just before heading onto the track, though of course if that’s your cup of tea then go right ahead! No, we’re talking about cleaning your wheels after a session of hard driving and heavy braking. Giving your brakes and extended work out will produce considerable amounts of brake dust, and while not a problem in smaller doses a large built up will permanently stain your wheels. This problem is exacerbated when using certain compounds of brake pad and when the weather is wet, with the resulting dust forming a toxic paste that can eat through alloy wheel lacquer with ease. Large build ups of brake dust can even serve to unbalance the wheel itself, so taking the time to periodically clean your alloys is time well spent. We’d recommend Autoglym’s much vaunted Custom Wheel Cleaner. It’s tough enough to eat through caked on brake dust and road grime, yet has been carefully chemically formulated to leave the coat of lacquer:

Service kit

10) Service

Your trackday won’t last very long if your MX5 is leaking vital fluids all over the track, and the officials will have no qualms about hauling you in post haste! The chances of this potentially frustrating (not to mention embarrassing) situation happening to you can be reduced by taking the time to check your over beforehand, and ideally treating it to a complete service. We’ve made the whole process that much easier by combining some of our key products within a Service Kit,  one that includes filters, sump plug washer, spark plugs and 5 litres of Mobile oil.