With an affordable price tag, low weight, and delightful handling, it’s not surprising that Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is frequently used in motorsports events around the globe. But the new MX-5 GT, unveiled earlier this morning, is much more than your typical Spec Miata: it may well be the fastest MX-5 ever built.
Built by British race team Jota Sport, the MX-5 GT abides by the general principles of the MX-5 — strong, light, fast — but takes them to new extremes. Let’s start with the car’s weight. A base MX-5 tips the scales at an already svelte 2480 pounds, but Jota managed to whittle that down to an incredible 1873 pounds.
How were those 600-some-odd pounds lost? Gutting the interior certainly helped, but other tricks, including carbon fiber door panels and dashboard, polycarbonate windows, and an acid-dipped body shell all played a significant part in that weight reduction.
But the MX-5 GT doesn’t simply receive a crash diet. In fact, Jota’s packed a walloping punch underhood. We’re told the team performed a number of undisclosed modifications to the MX-5’s 2.0-liter I-4, but seeing as power jumped from 167 horsepower to a whopping 275 horses, we’re betting some form of forced induction — perhaps a turbocharger — is involved. Regardless, that engine is mated with a six-speed sequential manual transmission, and is capable of rocketing the MX-5 GT from 0-60 mph in three seconds, and to a top speed of 160 mph.
That may well be the sort of power needed to help the little Miata overtake the competition in the 2011 Britcar MSA Endurance Championship, which consists of nine events held between March and November. Expect the MX-5 GT to take to the track for the first time next weekend, when it competes in a three-hour race held at Silverstone.