Is the Miata tuned? More or less. It has some additions, mainly regarding cornering ability upgrades and a very slight performance improvement, but nothing that would even come close to explaining what you are about to see in the video below. But we’ll get to details in a moment.
How much time do you think a Miata needs around the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife, otherwise known as the “Green Hell” – 12.9 miles of uneven twists and turns and several scary straights designed to test cars to the limit? Bear in mind that the driver did not have the track for himself, but was in fact rudely slowed down by several cars who hogged the track as if they owned it, contrary to the common codes of conduct. The video title calls them ‘obstacles’, which is a bold thing to say when you are sitting in a Miata and the said obstacles are the BMW 3 Series, several Porsche 911s, Subaru Impreza and one damn scary Porsche 997 911 GT3 RS.
The lap took 7 minutes and 58 seconds! That is an outstanding result and even better than the time of some high-profile supercars such as the Corvette C6 Z51 or the Dodge Viper SRT-10.
So, how the hell did the Miata lap the Green Hell with the ‘obstacles’ so quickly and destroy the GT3 RS in the process? Well, there’s a secret weapon and it’s not the car.
For those of you who know your Miatas, it’ll be enough to say that this is the NC 2.0 Sport Roadster Coupe. For those of you less familiar, we’ll add that the car packs a 2.0 naturally aspirated engine with 167 hp when stock.
Now, we said it was tuned at the time of this run, so let’s check out the upgrades.
– It has a new exhaust and cold air intake and an ECU remap that could in total provide no more than 20 hp over the stock figure.
– It has 225/45 R16 street legal tires,
– RX8 front and rear anti-roll bars,
– aftermarket brake pads,
– coilovers with 10/7 springs,
– carbon fiber driver’s seat.
Oh, yes, and the steering wheel is also aftermarket.
All in all, compared to the stock machine, it is just slightly faster and it handles better. There’s no turbo conversion, no high performance engine parts and no tweaks to the gearbox. Hell, the top speed is just 133 mph (215 km/h that you can see in the video). When compared to the GT3 RS, it is not even close in any respect, including handling. Speaking of which…
When a manufacturer wants to enter some races, the car has to pass homologation requirements. In many cases, this homologation requires that a car is a production model, so it has to be made and sold in a number of units. Many people feel that this is how the general public got the beastly GT2 and GT3 Porsches. Judging by the nature of these cars, the ‘many people’ are completely right.
The GT3 911 models are usually devoid of vast majority of now standard comfort features because they add weight. Their engines are tuned for more power and their suspension settings shun comfort for sheer Spartan cornering performance. They are as powerful, as lightweight and as performance-tuned as they can be. They are race cars that have the misfortune of being driven on the road occasionally by a rich dentist in a midlife crisis.
And then there’s the RS addition. Basically, it means that it packs more power than the GT3, that it is even lighter, even more track-oriented and that it is more stable during high speed runs and neck-breaking cornering. Mind you, all these are the improvements on the abovementioned 911 GT3 which is already a hardcore version of the supercar that the standard Porsche 911 is.
This particular one is the 997 generation of the 911 GT3 RS. It comes with ‘zero lift’ aerodynamics, electronically adjustable PASM, dynamic engine mounts and loads of other acronyms that spell hardcore racecar. The GT3 RS cars are so good that they are often entered in endurance races in their stock form. Moreover, some standard versions of the 911 have more power than the GT3 RS, but their added weight and more comfortable suspension settings mean that the GT3 RS easily leaves them behind on the track.
Ah, yes, the power. We can’t know which version of the engine this is, since there are two. Whichever, the car has between 450 and 500 hp. It sprints to 62 mph in just over 3 seconds and tops out at 193 mph. An awesome beast! Describing it only through the horsepower rating really does not do it justice.
So, the secret weapon
Robert Serwanski, ladies and gentleman. The guy behind the wheel of the Miata is a Swedish race car driver currently employed as a test driver at Koenigsegg. “Why is he not driving one of the beastly Koenigseggs”, you might ask. Before Christian von Koenigsegg deemed him worthy of testing his savage creations, Robert was competing in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Sweden, literally obliterating the competition there. Yeah, he loves the Miata.
Can he really be the main reason behind the amazing achievement? Maybe the GT3 RS driver is really bad? OK, the Porsche guy is not the best racing driver ever, but he is far from terrible. Serwanski is simply that good. Just look at the perfect cornering lines he takes and amazing balance as he exits the curves, not to mention his razor sharp nerves (not weakened even by the unmannerly drivers slowing him down) from the third minute of the video when he enters some jumpy curves at top speed. Damn, that’s smooth.
If you really want to learn something from this video, pay attention to the paths he chooses and his braking strength before the curves (red bar) and throttle timing on the exits (green bar). Simply amazing!
Watch the video below, but also have a look at the bonus after it.
Apparently, Robert Serwanski gave his car a bit more tuning and had another go on the same track in the meantime. The improvements include a larger coolant radiator, new coilovers, close ratio gearbox with bad 2nd gear synchro, new flywheel and some structural reinforcements. Also, this time, there was no rude GT3 to slow him down and Mr. Serwanski reduced his best time to 7:49.74. That’s faster than the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, V12 SL65 Black Series, SLR McLaren, Nissan GT-R and many other beasts. If you thought the main reason for the previous video was a bad driver in the Porsche, I’m afraid Mr. Serwanski just shut your mouth.
Here’s the record breaking run.