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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.