So a couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to visit Long Road Racing, which is a shop in Statesville, North Carolina, that builds factory spec MX-5’s for racing. Seeing as I am a rookie to blog writing, even though The Car Files is growing, this was an experience only comparable, to standing next to the LaFerrari. So this post is a inside view on how to build a factory spec race car!
Take a base level 2016 Mazda MX-5 and gut practically everything. Some parts like the HVAC system, stay while others are stored away to be used at later points in the build. This is the preparation for the next step…
At this stage the freshly striped MX-5 goes into the fab area where we add the roll cage, shave off some more baby fat, and add a couple of mods. Now while I can’t (and won’t) go into detail on what is done here, I will say this is probably the coolest part of the shop. Not to mention, the welding done back here is A1, which can be seen in the next pic.
Here is where the roll cage and the tub of the MX-5 gets a fresh coat of paint. Also, some more baby fat is removed to make the MX-5, as light as possible. This picture is post paint shop but this is still the final results of some serious man hours of work.
Add the fuel cell, upgrade the brakes, install removable steering wheel, upgrade other engine components and reassemble. This is the final step in a long process to finally make the standard 2016 MX-5 into a factory spec race car. It is only missing a driver and the removable steering wheel. This one is ready to tear up Laguna SECA.
What does this whole process cost. Roughly $50k which combines the price of a barebones MX-5 and the conversion to race specifications.
Now there are other components of the NASCAR inspired shop such as the parts room with parts catalogued by the VIN code and the sub-assembly room which is self-explanatory. What do I mean by NASCAR inspired? The shop was designed back in the 70s to promote fan participation. From the lobby, you can see the techs going to work, converting car to race car.
Long Road Racing has been in the game for a while, with their first gen Miata and vast amount of trophies in the lobby. They build these global MX-5s at various tracks around the world and meet FIA, SCCA, NASA and IMSA specifications around the world. These cars are build the same, which means the only thing that can win or lose the race is the driver. Long Road Racing has put a lot of time into the R&D process from the model they pick to the various tuning and figures used to create these subtle beasts. Ironically enough, Forza 6 has these global MX-5s, which makes me wonder…are the MX-5s in the game, digital replicas of the one LRR builds? Most likely.
For me, I was introduced to a load of information concerning how to build a race car. Everything from the specific tire compounds to paint choice. It was very informative and I actually got to sit in a full blown race car!!! And if I remember correctly, the process of getting in was feet on the seat, butt on the roll cage and slide down…I could also be missing a step there.
Well, while I’m trying to remember the exact process…I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Long Road Racing in Statesville, NC for the tour and the info. It really helped me gain a better perspective on the process of taking a stock car and turning it into a track ripping beast. Thanks LRR. #longlivetheroadster.