Flyin' Miata and the Targa Newfoundland
Why the Targa Newfoundland?
The Targa Newfoundland is a unique event that allows us to truly torture-test our products. A week of intense, high-speed racing over surfaces racing from smooth to terrible. Some of the 40-odd stages are 5 minute autocrosses. Some are 25 km high speed blasts cross-country. And they're separated by nearly a thousand miles of transits on public roads, so the cars have to be happy on the street. In other words, a good Targa car has to be able to do anything.
The event tests suspension, brakes and powertrains like nothing else. Most cars can survive one or two days of the race, but making it to the finish is a big accomplishment. In 2011, half of the manufacturer-supported teams failed to finish - but all of the Miatas did. We've used this torture to beat on and improve many of our components, from our flagship AFCO suspension to our butterfly braces. The lessons we learn building cars for this tough event help drive our product development and improve everything we sell. We race, you win.
Targa Newfoundland 2011
In 2011, we fielded a two-car team. In the Open division, we entered the proven chassis of the Targa Miata powered by one of our V8 conversions. Nancy, our supercharged 2006 development car ran in the GT division. The results were good - the V8 car was leading the division until a stock Miata relay caused the car to miss one stage on the fourth day. Even with a 5 minute penalty, it came in third. The 2006 did equally well, running in first place for a few days and eventually winning the award for the best finish for a novice team. We also supported the Hammerhead racing team for the second year, and they finished 4th and 7th.
About the Targa Miata
Race reports and photos
Targa Miata team - Keith and Janel Tanner in the Open-class V8
GT team Brandon Fitch and Zach Bowman in the GT-class supercharged 2006
In-car video - Keith and Janel Tanner in the Open-class V8
More to come!
We also did something very unusual. We couldn't afford to send the team to Newfoundland on our own, so we turned to the Miata community and asked for help. And the community responded! Through hundreds of small individual donations as well as several sizeable ones from forums, clubs and a couple of individuals, we raised over $17,000 towards our race effort. This groundswell of support from Miata fans worldwide is unprecedented in this sort of competition, and it attracted a lot of attention.
About our fundraising
Targa Newfoundland 2010
We did not send any cars of our own to Newfoundland in 2010, but we did sponsor a two car team called the Hammerheads. We set them up with our FM V-Maxx suspension, frame rails and butterfly braces. They were leading the GT class until the last day, when both cars were forced to drop out for mechanical reasons.
Targa Newfoundland 2008
On our initial run at the Targa, FM tech Keith Tanner and his wife Janel ran a car that he built at home. FM was a major sponsor of the car, of course, and Keith used the development time to come up with the AFCO suspension. They finished first in class and 16th overall, finishing ahead of two of the factory teams. The car was fitted with a high-compression naturally aspirated stroker motor, and Keith continued to use it for development and testing for two years after the event. The car proved to be very quick - one of the fastest Miatas around our local track - and the engine never gave any trouble despite all the hard use.
Videos and pictures
Full race report from 2008
In-car videos from the 2008 race