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Mazda MX-5 GT – Click above for high-res image gallery

has been trumpeting its "gram strategy" to cut weight on all of its products, and the best example of how this philosophy works is in the new MX-5 GT race car. The roadster, which will compete in the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship this year, weighs just 1,874 pounds while packing nearly twice the punch of the standard MX-5.

The heavily modified MX-5 engine produces 275 horsepower – enough juice to propel the light-weight roadster to 60 miles per hour in a scant three seconds flat. The race-ready Mazda can also crest 160 mph while looking damn fine with its new Spirited Green paint job.

In order to cut several hundred pounds off the base MX-5, the Jota Sport racing team removed interior components, revised other interior fittings and dipped the car's shell in acid. The doors, like many interior components, are made of carbon fiber and the windows are made of polycarbonate. The racing team also lowered the engine height, adjusted the suspension and added a six-speed paddle shift transmission to aid with handling.

The Mazda MX-5 GT race car sees its first action on Saturday at a three-hour endurance race at Silverstone. See the lightweight MX-5 for yourself in the gallery below. Trust us, you're going to want one.

Mazda MX-5 Race Car
  • Mazda MX-5 Race Car

[Source: Mazda]
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* Mazda MX-5 GT entry into Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship 2011

* Lightweight Mazda MX-5 GT race car to challenge conventional thinking
* Mazda MX-5 GT remains true to its roots but with more power and performance

Mazda is set to challenge Aston Martin, Porsche, Lotus, and BMW on the race track with its lightweight Mazda MX-5 GT entry in the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship 2011.

Weighing in at just 850kg, the Mazda MX-5 GT race car will accelerate from 0-to-60mph in just three seconds and hit a top speed of 160mph. The build of the car has been an engineering challenge to get the weight as low as possible using Mazda's gram strategy as the inspiration. Jota Sport examined every nut and bolt to reduce component weight and then match the power to the weight to give the lightest and most powerful MX-5 ever built.

An important aspect of the build was to ensure the Mazda MX-5 still remains true to its roots: great handling, huge fun-to-drive and the ability to challenge bigger more powerful competition, but at an affordable cost. The Mazda GT car ticks all those boxes and is now set to demonstrate its challenger spirit on the track.

Jota Sport, the race engineering team that will run the cars in the 2011 series, took 400 hours to build the shell to a specification that ensured it was 17 times stronger than required by the FIA. During the development they faced a number of engineering challenges such as suspension adjustments, integrating the six speed sequential gearbox, and lowering the engine. Weight saving strategies such as, the removal of interior components, reducing component weight and dipping the shell in acid lost 15kg from the MX-5 race car.

The completed MX-5 GT features a modified Mazda engine to produce 275bhp, a six speed sequential paddle shift gearbox, carbon doors and Polycarbonate windows. On the exterior, the Mazda MX-5 GT boasts a Spirited Green metallic body colour - a first on the MX-5 for Mazda UK - complimented by Jota Sport corporate coloured liveries in orange and grey.

Mazda is renowned for challenging conventions so the motivation to develop a MX-5 GT car comes naturally. It also comes at a time when Mazda has recently celebrated a number of milestones for MX-5 including its 21st anniversary and producing 900,000 MX-5 units globally since its introduction in 1989, with over 10 percent of global MX-5 sales from Britain. Meanwhile, the Mazda MX-5 continues to hold the Guinness World Record as the world's best‑selling roadster - testament to its continued popularity with British open top sports car fans.

The Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship is contested over nine races from March to November including a race at the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The first race is a three hour endurance race at Silverstone next weekend, Saturday 26 March 2011, starting at 3.00pm.

This is the fourth time that Mazda has entered Britcar and this year the Mazda MX-5 GT car will be driven by two Mazda works drivers including experienced Mazda racing driver Mark Ticehurst, 39 from Hassocks, West Sussex and Auto Express journalist and racing driver Owen Mildenhall.

"The MX-5 production race car's modest power output, bullet proof reliability and nimble handling demonstrated last year how the MX-5 can be competitive against some of the purpose-built Lotus, VW and BMW race cars. With a higher power output combined with the durability, reliability and handling attributes that the MX-5 is renowned for; the MX-5 GT race car will be strong contender against the more powerful race cars in its class," comments Graeme Fudge, PR Director, Mazda UK.

The Mazda MX-5 GT car, prepared by Tunbridge Wells-based Jota Sport features the mandatory FIA approved safety equipment including a roll cage, race seats and harness, external electric cut-off and fire extinguisher, safety catches on the bonnet and boot lids, competition steering wheel and alloy wheels, while the running gear, rear axle, gearbox and engine have been modified to enhance performance.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, thats impressive! The rollcage is fugly, but form-follows-function, obviously. That thing should be kickin arse and taking names when it debuts.
        • 3 Years Ago
        it's not impressive. it's not light weight nor ultra light weight at all.
        it's only slightly lighter than the entirely conventional cast iron first version of the MX5

        400kg would be light. not 850. there are 4 seater cars of steel that weigh less. Citroen C1 for instance.
        it's not impressive at all. it's pathetic
        • 3 Years Ago
        Dan - And the C1 (or original Miata) has a tubular steel roll cage in it too?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Damn.... 700lbs lighter than my '99 Miata, with double the horsepower.

      I want one!

      Although, if they did make it into a road car - passenger seat, please!
      • 3 Years Ago
      awesome! sad that they never made a new rx-7 though. i saw one the other day wow one of my all-time favs
      • 3 Years Ago
      My Mazdaspeed Miata is jealous of that. Wow, now that is a Miata! Well done Mazda. They have really got their act together and putting out some great Miata concepts.

      Now lets see this in the ND! Then I will have something to trade in my NB for.


      • 3 Years Ago
      Ok seriously I need to know the estimated cost to produce a special edition road going version.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone care to explain why they dipped the car's shell in acid?
        • 3 Years Ago
        It makes the body panels thinner, saving weight. The acid dissolves some of the metal, and it is lighter without them having to re engineer thinner panels. Granted, it looks pretty dangerous, too much acid or too long exposure=chance of weak, broken car body, or no body left at all! I believe racers have been using this technique for decades
      • 3 Years Ago
      0-60mph in 3 seconds flat? I smell a bit of BS on that based on power-to-weight, unless the transmission was geared to target that 0-60 time.
        • 3 Years Ago
        rcokeng: If you're going to act all snobbish at least know what you're talking about. Contact patch is solely a function of weight and tire pressure. It's shape that's changed by tire width.

        If you assume perfect traction and no time spent shifting, an E46 M3 should be able to do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds.

        ((26.8224m/s)^2 * 1542.2kg / 2 / 223709.7Watts on average = 2.48 seconds.

        What limits you is traction. If this car is going to be used for racing, it's going to be able to generate far more longitudinal g's compared to a car on steer tires. Think .75g vs. 1.1g. It could very well be a 50% increase. On top of that, thanks to load sensitivity, a light car like a racing Miata will be able to generate much higher grip on the same tire compared to something like a street car weighing double.


        TL;DR 3 seconds for this light of a car with slicks is very, very possible.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm skeptical because my car's P2W is better than this car, weight is not far off with only an extra couple hundred pounds over this race car, mid-engine weight distro, and my car gets to 0-60 at around half a second slower than what Mazda is claiming. Granted there are a lot of other factors, namely racing slicks and sequential paddle shift plus different gearing, but 3 seconds 0-60 is a very very quick time for a 275 hp car weighing 1900 lbs.

        @Mike - Clearly traction is the difference maker in your examples above, the Vettes both have more contact patch and heavier rears (probably much more torque relative to HP as well), while the GTR has AWD with launch control.
        • 3 Years Ago
        take it easy buddy.
        miata never get there on time, it's there tradition.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow. I recently commented that the Cayman R is the definition of "pure." I stand corrected. The MX-5 GT wins that title (yeah, I know, street car versus race car, yada, yada, yada...).
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why? Because racecar
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      First decent mx5 I have seen :) power and wheight like an elise :) ...I still waiting the new RX7 XD
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm really curious about the 16X. The 13B renesis is getting really long in the tooth and these days has nowhere near the power requirements to keep up with it's competitors. Hope the 16X bridges that gap, but it's going to have to be a big leap over the current rotaries.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Where do I buy one?
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