Tested, Mazda’s Global ND MX-5 Cup Car


I first wanted to try an NB Spec Miata to get a feel for the differences between the NC and ND. The worst part about driving it was trying to get into the damn thing.  I have a bad back with two fused vertebra so I can't bend too well past my waist or turn my head very much.  With a center net, a cage with a lot of bars and a head protector seat, I had to squeeze into a tiny opening. Mazda PR people and the crew had to all push and shove my parts for what seemed like 20 minutes to get me in the car.  Then the space was too small for my HANS device to be donned. More pushing and shoving. Once my HANS was on, I could not see or move enough to fasten the harnesses. I guess you have to be 5'4″ and 100 lbs to get into and out of this car.  When I was younger before my back injury I would have been good to go I guess.  Even though I am not that big, the interior felt really cramped, my head hit the cage and the steering wheel felt too close. I was not too comfortable but I could reach the pedals.
Even if I needed a crew to get me into the car, once it was rolling it was a delight to drive. The Spec Miata felt light and nimble with minimal understeer.  With lift throttle it would rotate nicely and it could even oversteer with some trailbraking and use of the throttle.  The brakes had good bite with a hard pedal and were fade free although some journalists had warped them.  The Spec Miata has very little power and was a total momentum mobile.  Learning how not to scrub off speed is a good tool for any racer and to be fast in one of these, you would have to master it. Man this car was fun.
Dave and I discussing the dynamics of the NB vs the ND I was about to get into.  Dave has so much seat time in these cars he knows the tiny nuances of their handling. 
Now it was time to get into the ND.  The ND was a little more roomy which was not to be mistaken for being spacious.  However, I could get into the car kinda unassisted.  I only needed help getting the HANS device hooked to my helmet. If you were a long time reader of Sport Compact Car magazine, you might remember our Ultimate Street Car testing where we would always force John Pearley Huffman to cram his large frame into cars with tight cages and small seats.  There would get a lot of laughs and pictures were taken and published. Now somehow, I am the old fat guy getting forced into cars with cages and tight seats and it's not funny.  It really hurts actually. 
I am smiling because I finally got myself into the car. I am now choking myself with the HANS device and not in a good way.  I am sure the Mazda PR guys will be talking about me for some time to come.
I am now strapped in and ready to go but I am noticing that the car's normal driver must be way taller than me and the seat does not adjust.  The seat is way back and the seat cushions have been removed to give a tall journalist head clearance. I can't see very well over the dash and I can only drive with my tippy toes and finger tips.  This sorta sucks but I want to drive the car bad so I give it a shot.  I didn't want to waste 20 minutes trying to get into another car!  Being short sucks. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *