Mazda's philosophy for the MX-5 Miata has changed little since 1989. The two-seat sports car has remained sprightly in both size and performance. It didn't grow larger from one generation to the next or spawn a crossover variant to dupe nostalgic car buyers. The MX-5 Miata evolved through refinement. Each new iteration is somehow better than the last. The Miata is a symbol of affordable fun, spawning racing series across the U.S. along with a healthy supply of aftermarket parts.
The Miatas in the video above are the results of the endless amount of customization an owner can do to their car. Both sport 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines, but they augment that power differently. The first-generation NA Miata uses a turbocharger, producing about 230 horsepower. The second-generation NB opts for a supercharger to make around 220 hp. On paper, the two are similar, but both have several other upgrades that make them wildly dissimilar to drive around the track.
The NA Miata lacks power steering and anti-lock brakes, providing a very analog driving experience. The NB car has power steering and power-assisted brakes, making it much easier to drive fast around the 11-turn track. But being able to drive it fast is equitable to faster lap times. The older NA Miata completed the single three-lap session in 1:21.3 while the NB Miata took 1:21.9. That's a minuscule difference. That difference should widen as the driver acclimates to each car, possibly cutting a full second off both times.
The Miata will continue to be the go-to car for aspiring racers on shoestring budgets. One is a hardcore track car that's all about the analog experience. The other is a road car turned race car with most of its road-going features intact. But both perform nearly identical on the track. The Miata is a great platform to build your racing philosophy. This video exemplifies that.
Source: Speed Academy via YouTube