Low Power Miata Aerodynamic Testing

I’ll be blunt, the first round of aero testing on the Project Miata was a mixed bag. I (Dan O’Donnell) got 3 clean laps in and Devin Giles only got 2. I drove on the stiffest sway bar setting and the car was a little loose, so we switched it to the middle setting for him. What was the reason for only getting a few laps in? Well… the event was cancelled early due to a large fire that cost one of the driver’s his car.

There was good news though! We immediately went faster. The third lap I ran was a 1:58.508 as measured with an AIM SOLO. Devin ran a 1:58.632 in his first time in the car! The previous best was a 1:59.18 (which took 20 laps to achieve that particular day). There were no modifications done to the car other than changing the aero, replacing the clutch last November and changing the sway bar for Devin that day. To be honest, I didn’t even change the oil between the last event and this one.

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If you dig into the data a bit, you’ll see that I ran a real best rolling lap of 1:57.318, so there’s plenty of time left with more laps. The best theoretical lap was a 1:57.048 using the best 5 sectors from our 5 clear laps that day. Before aero, the best theoretical lap was a 1:58.24, based off of 44 total laps we had completed previously using the same 5 sectors. 44 laps vs. 5 laps, I’ll let you be the judge to see how much time we can actually shave off with more time driving with the aero.

The really cool information is that top speeds actually went up with the new aero. Previous fastest lap to new fastest lap we went from 87 mph max to 89 mph. Temperatures between the two days were fairly consistent, both about 70F. The new pavement didn’t show higher cornering speeds, the lap time improvement was very incremental over the entire length of the track. This could be the difference between brand new tires that were used the first track day vs. the same tires after getting 6000 miles and a Buttonwillow track day put on them.

That’s all for now, a more thorough recap with data will be posted to MotoIQ in the near future. Have any questions? Let us know!

3 thoughts on “Low Power Miata Aerodynamic Testing

  1. I notice y’all are leaving the soft top up. Does that make the APR wing more effective?

  2. In theory, yes. There was concern that the rear wing wouldn’t be big enough for the splitter, so we played it safe and kept the top up to start with. We we’re going to test top down later, but with the fire, didn’t have the opportunity.

  3. There are other variables at play for ‘faster’ lap times and not just the aero. Strange that an increase in speed suggests that you have decreased drag whereas adding aero increases drag.

    Again, differences in car weight (driver, car, fuel etc) will impact lap times.

    What were the corner speeds like, was there an increase in G forces? Is there any data available like a G Force or acceleration plot that you can share?

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