Mazda MX-5 SP

Putting a rocket up Hiroshima’s roadster

illustration by BRENDON WISE words by SCOTT NEWMAN

We make it up. They build it.

Sweet dream

Putting a rocket up Hiroshima’s roadster

THE MAZDA MX-5 is developed on the principle of Jinba-ittai –horse and rider as one – but what if you want more than one horse?

Mazda Australia has been down this road before with the locally developed MX-5 SP, which strapped a Garrett turbo to the side of the NB MX-5’s 2.0-litre four to give it unheard-of levels of stonk.

In reality, it was a little more complex than that. There were 215 bespoke parts developed under the watch of ex-Mazda Motorsport boss Allan Horsley and the 100 production SPs were assembled by Prodrive in Australia in its Melbourne workshop.

The program required the blessing of the MX-5 Project Manager, Takao Kijima, a man who didn’t like having his work meddled with, but it was so good it received the go-ahead in the end.

How good? At PCOTY 2002 the MX-5 SP’s combination of V8-matching acceleration and delicate, lightweight handling secured it fourth place, wedged between a Porsche 911 GT2 and Mitsubishi Evo VI TME.

Suddenly those hairdresser jokes didn’t seem so funny. M

Mazda Australia has been down the turbocharged MX-5 road before

Here’s how we’d do it

DONK DECISION .

The obvious choice when it comes to boosting power is to simply add a turbo to the existing 2.0-litre engine, something which tuners like Tunehouse have already done to good effect. Another route, however, would be to plug-andplay the 2.5-litre turbo four from the CX-9. With a slight tickle there’s an easy 200kW/450Nm at your disposal and a throaty soundtrack.

GO TIME .

Regardless of the engine choice, you’re looking at a conservative 5.5sec 0-100km/h and mid-13sec quarter, a useful second-or-so improvement over the standard car with far superior roll-on acceleration. Combined with the better brakes, suspension and tyres, lap times would tumble.

CHERRY PICKING .

Choosing the suspension modifications is easy, as it’s simply a case of lifting all the gun gear from the race-only MX-5 Cup.

These include the clever two-way adjustable Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers, which can also be found in the Ford GT supercar. Brakes are by Brembo with wider highperformance rubber all ’round.

PICK A PART .

There’s not much to remove inside an MX-5, so we’ll add stuff instead.

Recaro bucket seats improve lateral support, there’s Alcantara for the wheel and gearknob and a roll bar for when it all goes pear-shaped.

DOLLAR DAZZLER .

The original SP wasn’t cheap, carrying a $12,000 premium over the regular MX-5 and we’d once again shoot for a similar price point.

Pricey, perhaps, but we reckon even at $55K it wouldn’t be too hard to shift 100 of these pocket rockets.