Quick Spin

Long Road Racing will build you the Miata that Mazda won't

  • Image Credit: Joel Stocksdale
One of the frustrating things about new cars today is that many features are exclusive to this trim level, or that package. Even the enthusiast-friendly Miata has many restrictions how you can configure one, which can make choosing one a bit tricky. You can't have the cheapest one or the leather-clad one with a limited slip differential, for example. And adding aftermarket parts on your own runs the risk of voiding your warranty. Long Road Racing, however, has a possible solution for creating the ideal, warranty-covered Miata.

You may not be familiar with Long Road Racing, but you probably heard about one of its most-publicized products, the MX-5 Cup car. The car was developed by Mazda with the intention of creating a global spec series, and Mazda reports that about 140 of the cars have been sold so far. Every single one of those cars went to Long Road Racing to be specced out for racing before reaching their customers. So the company is familiar with the car, and has applied its expertise to its "Ultimate MX-5" program.

The way the program works is, once you've purchased a 2016 or 2017 Miata, you can send it to the company to have it customized to your needs. The company has an extensive list of parts to choose from, all of which have been selected by the company to work well together. But if you need something outside of its offerings, or just need help choosing from the list, you can get in touch with the company to discuss how best to achieve your goals. Long Road Racing will also customize any trim level of Miata, and can even create a Miata Mazda didn't offer. For instance, you could have a Grand Touring with the leather interior, but also with the limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes from the Club model. All of these parts are fully warrantied by Long Road Racing for the length of the OEM warranty, and they don't void the factory warranty.

We had the opportunity to try out a car customized by Long Road Racing at the M1 Concourse track in Pontiac, Mich. The car was there to sample alongside some of the MX-5 Cup cars as well as several of Mazda's stock road cars to drive on course. The road-going Long car started as a Grand Touring model, and it retains its heated leather seats and automatic climate control. But it also now features an assortment of upgrades including a Club limited-slip differential, big brake upgrade, header, cat-back exhaust, front and rear shock tower braces, racing radiator, oil cooler, anti-roll bars, springs, shocks, and more aggressive tires. The overall effect is that of a thoroughly enhanced Miata. It corners faster, stops quicker, and sounds like the Cup race car, but it still has the original character of a stock Miata. The steering is light and precise, the shifter is slick and quick, and the chassis constantly informs you of what it's up to, making it a breeze to adjust and manipulate on track.

As for cost, Long Road Racing doesn't have a particular price point since each car is built to an individual's specifications. But it's safe to assume that more parts equal more money. Regardless of cost, Long Road Racing offers an appealing option for creating a "just-right" Miata - but without losing the safety net of a factory warranty.

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