What can I say about your Grip Series suspension package for the ND MX-5? The MX-5 is fantastic straight out of the box. By adding you sway bar and spring package I have taken the MX-5 to the next level. It’s brilliant. It has enhanced the chassis and experience of driving the car enormously.
The car now feels much eager to turn in and it is so much more composed and stable. Body roll has been completely banished. No more roll oversteer which really kept you on your toes when you were pushing hard. The car used to lean really heavily on the outside front tyre when turning in, then lean heavily on the outside rear tyre when exiting a corner. All this caused the car to be slightly unsettled due to the large weight shift because of the soft suspension. This no longer occurs as the sway bars stop any such roll. So, you feel the car working under you and giving you utter confidence on the limit. While with the standard set up you always had to second guess what the car was doing. Thanks to this confidence you can push the car harder and really feel as one with the car, the Jinba Ittai, that Mazda talk about all the time when referring to the MX-5. The ride is still supple. It hasn’t deteriorated at all. It fact apart from the cars height you wouldn’t know that it has firmer springs.
I took the car to Phillip Island for a track day last Sunday. My previous best time there on the standard set up with Yokohama AD08R road tyres was 1.58.8. This weekend I came away with a 1.55.6 on the same tyres. I think that says a lot. I was consistently quicker on every lap. The lads have said I got Whiteline fever. The car was simply better in every area. Stable under brakes, no more pitching forward and loosing rear end grip as the front end is digging into the track. Amazing turn in and the ability to put the power down earlier was very handy and put to good use. I was worried that the spring rate may be a bit too soft for the track, but I dare say I have been proven wrong. Be interesting to see how the springs handle the extra grip that R Specs will provide. It simply is a much better track car.
Only negatives, actually they’re not negatives just suggestions. The spring height is fine for me, but maybe you should offer them as a ‘fast road’ spring, and come out with another ‘touring’ spring that only lowers the car by 10-15mm. This may suit the more conservative MX-5 owner. Mine dropped by about 30mm. I found that the gold coloured clips to stop the front sway bar from moving couldn’t be located as per the instructions as they hit the body work. I had to leave a small gap and that has caused the front sway bar to move slightly causing it to ‘knock’ slightly and just touch one of the brake lines. Now this only occurred after track use so it was under a lot of stress. 99% of people will never experience this. Plus it might simply be that I didn’t tighten those clips enough as I’m loathe to over tighten things. I’ve tightened them up and I’ll keep an eye on them.
All in all it’s a fantastic set up that you offer. I could not be happier with it. Whether on the road or on the track it has transformed the car for the better. This is the way it should have come from the factory.
Randy Stagno Navarra
Club Captain – Motor Sport
Mazda MX-5 Club of Victoria & Tasmania