Long term tests

Mazda MX-5

Inactivity caused a couple of issues but once up and running, our Mazda MX-5 tackled a trackday with great style

The MX-5 had been rather neglected in recent weeks, what with family holidays taking us away to France and Mrs T reverting to her old Subaru wagon to cart the kids and their clobber around in the school hols. So the final evo trackday of the season was the perfect opportunity to blow the cobwebs away (both literally and metaphorically).

It was one of those blissful, lightly chilled, sunny mid-September mornings, so I threw the top back and fired up. The intermittent starting problem that appeared shortly after I’d serviced it (pure coincidence) appears to have been cured. It must have been a duff sparkplug, because since I reinstalled the old plugs it’s been starting first time again.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

All was not entirely well, though. Ten minutes into the journey I was aware of a vibration through the steering rack that became gradually worse to the point where the whole car was juddering and I thought there must be something seriously wrong. I pulled onto a petrol station forecourt and was immediately met with the pong of overheated brakes. The front disc on the driver’s side had a blueish tinge, and a wisp of smoke was peeling from the pads. Seemed the caliper had been sticking on – probably due to lack of use. I let it all cool down, pumped the brake pedal a few times, checked the car was rolling freely and set off again, periodically dabbing the brakes. It was fine.

Eyeing the other cars in the Bedford pitlane that evening, I quickly concluded that we would be by some margin the slowest thing on the track. Yes there was a Metro, but it had suspiciously chunky rubber and side-exit exhausts. The rest was all Caterhams and Elises and 911s. And I know power isn’t everything, but I’ll be honest – my first 15-minute session (I didn’t want to overtax the brakes) was frustrating. I was trying to drive the circuit as I would in a more powerful car and consequently the Mazda was struggling. I was overdriving it. But on my next session I drove more smoothly and carried more speed, taking several corners a gear higher and with barely a lift. Now I could savour the wonderfully precise and transparent steering, the gentle drift from clipping point to exit. By the third session I was even coaxing small slides out of the tightest turns.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

I drove home just as the last of the daylight faded, chuffed to bits with our £800 roadster. Oh, and the brakes were fine. But then you don’t brake much in an MX-5…

Running Costs

Date acquiredOctober 2008
Total mileage155,957
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month197
MPG this month30.4
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/mazda/mx-5/202091/mazda-mx-5-refreshed-for-2020
Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 refreshed for 2020

8 Jan 2020
Visit/mazda/mx-5/202077/bbr-super-220-review-modded-mazda-mx-5-hits-with-a-light-touch
Mazda MX-5

BBR Super 220 review

2 Jan 2020
Visit/mazda/mx-5
Mazda MX-5 convertible

Mazda MX-5 review

29 Mar 2019
Visit/mazda/mx-5/22117/mazda-mx-5-30th-anniversary-edition-revealed
Mazda MX-5 convertible

Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition revealed

5 Mar 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/saloons/202277/bmw-m5-competition-v-mercedes-amg-e63-s-600bhp-supersaloons-go-head-to-head
Saloons

BMW M5 Competition v Mercedes-AMG E63 S - 600bhp supersaloons go head-to-head 

The BMW M5 Competition and Mercedes-AMG E63 S both boast more than 600bhp, 0-62 times in the threes, and massive road presence. Which begs the questio…
22 Feb 2020
Visit/bmw/202285/522bhp-bmw-i4-rival-for-tesla-model-3-performance-teased
BMW

522bhp BMW i4 rival for Tesla Model 3 Performance teased 

BMW’s all-electric i4 four-door coupe set to enter production in 2021 
25 Feb 2020
Visit/volkswagen/202282/new-volkswagen-touareg-r-revealed-vws-performance-flagship-goes-hybrid
Volkswagen

New Volkswagen Touareg R revealed – VW’s performance flagship goes hybrid

Volkswagen has rolled out its new flagship Touareg R with a hybrid powertrain pinched from Porsche
24 Feb 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019