An updated version of last year’s SEMA concept, and a fresh take on the new Miata RF.
No one has ever accused the MX-5 of being overweight, but Mazda engineers are clearly very focused on putting the car on a strict diet. At last year’s SEMA show, Mazda showed off the MX-5 Speedster concept that, thanks in part to the lack of a roof or windshield, shed 150 pounds (68 kilograms) compared to the standard car. This year, the Speedster Evolution concept gets even skinnier, shedding another 100 pounds (45 kg) to bring weight down to a claimed 1,980 lb (898 kg).
As before, it’s got a classic speedster look on the outside and a race-ready inside. Look for carbon door panels with fabric loop handles, a racing steering wheel and a fully digital race instrument cluster, plus bucket seats and a new tan-leather center-console treatment. Big weight-loss strategies this year included switching to a Braille battery, which saved about 20 pounds (9 kg) compared to the stock battery, as well as switching to the smaller, lighter brake calipers from the entry-level MX-5 Sport.
Even more performance comes from a new centre-exit exhaust from longtime MX-5 tuning company Racing Beat, plus the adjustable suspension, lightweight Rays wheels, and sticky slick tires from the MX-5 Cup car.
Mazda also took the opportunity to work over the new MX-5 RF – the model with a power-folding, targa-like hardtop. Called the Kuro concept, it looks menacing in Satin Black matte paint, lowered on MX-5 Cup suspension and wearing 17-inch Rays wheels. Brembo dual-piston from the race car also help slow things down. But for serious "go" to match the show, Mazda also fitted a centre-exit exhaust from OpenFlash. Not only is it a pound lighter than the stock exhaust, but it’s said to add 6-7 horsepower to the 2.0-litre engine’s 155 hp, bringing output to a healthy 161-162 horsepower.
Of course, both these vehicles are just concepts, but Mazda is keen to point out that any dedicated racer could buy most of the parts necessary to recreate these concepts (aside from the chopped roof, perhaps) from the aftermarket and the MazdaMotorsports.com catalog. In other words, if your budget allows, there’s no reason you couldn’t build these cars yourself.
Photo Credit: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com