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Thread: Elise/Exige Super/Turbo Charged vs sorted Miata NA Turbo (like Bob Bundy)- help pick

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    Default Elise/Exige Super/Turbo Charged vs sorted Miata NA Turbo (like Bob Bundy)- help pick

    For lack of better space on forum where both cars are discussed actively, I am posting here.

    I am long-time Miata Turbo owner, had 6 in 15 years now.
    Looking always for fun car for driving fast on our California mountain/backroads and track-days.
    Looking out for best drivers car.
    Ultimate goal is to get into a 911 derivative, when money allows.

    Ran this weekend into a 2005 Elise that is track-prepped: built motor and transmission, turbocharged, Nitron 2-way coilovers, some aero and brakes, and more. Its sorted car with modest 5 track days on build and less than 40K miles.

    On first sight the Lotus is an easy pick for track-car, its chassis is purpose built and with super/turbo chargers they gain sufficient go to be more fun everywhere.
    Than I check Lotus Cup Car laptimes, at Thill and Laguna, and realized that fast Miatas run those times: TC rotrex Miata now owned by Tom Hogan, with junkyard 1.8+rotrex w/220whp and put together by Tony was doing 1.55 at Thill.
    Bob Bundy does 1.36-1.37 at Laguna.
    SuperMiata can dip into 1.43 and Spec Miata into 1.44 at Laguna, on tail of some Lotus Cup racers.

    So made me think that maybe the answer is not so clear: yes I am not looking for fastest car, but what is the point of spending money on Lotus with its potential for expensive off if its same as Miata in track-capability at best?

    Can you school me?
    I love the Lotus interior and chassis, I am scared of its front and rear clams and in case of an off, and they all cost more than sorting a Miata. Thanks.

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    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    One thing I'll say is that, in my humble opinion, the Toyota 2zz is a POS. It's a glass engine that you should consider to be disposable. And, yet, they are somewhat expensive. In the MR2 community, I don't think I know of anyone who has not had to replace a blown NA or FI 2zz at least once. My 2zz lasted about 2 hours.

    So, in addition to fiberglass clam shells you'll be periodically replacing motors. I'd still choose the Elise, but give strong consideration to swapping in a K motor. I've seen aftermarket clam shells that are reasonably priced.

    EDIT: I see you want to do forced induction on a 2zz. I wouldn't do that if someone paid me, if only because I'd only be able to drive the car one day out of every 3 months between engine swaps. Don't do it.
    Last edited by SDSUsnowboards; 11-02-2015 at 05:10 PM.
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    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
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    I think you've answered your own question in your post. If your goal is to eventually get a 911, I'd save the Lotus money and get a Miata. There are several Super Miatas out there for sale that would be very fast if you added a super charger. You might want to upgrade the brakes too but you'll still be out way less money than a Lotus. I like Lotus cars but I guess I don't have the budget to take one to the track.
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    Senior Member Silversprint's Avatar
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    I think $1700 for a replacement used 2zz is fairly cheap in comparison to some other engines for similar power, specially a boosted 2zz that is making 280whp. At that price a 2zz engine is literaly disposable. Some track guys spend 3 times that price on tires every year.

    A boosted stock Miata engine won't make the power of the stock boosted 2zz.

    I bet a 1700lb NA Elise that makes 180hp will get a lot of boosted Miatas a run for their money.

    An Elise or Exige is way cheaper to own and maintain in comparison to a 911.

    Whatever boosted car you get the hard part will be to keep the heat down to be able to track the car. The heat is a lot harder to control on track cars.
    Last edited by Silversprint; 11-02-2015 at 12:53 PM.
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    To sustain turbo-stress on track, the Lotus/Toyota motor should be built: the one I am looking at is built, as its transmission.

    Although I "answered my own question", I was/am looking for feedback by those that have experience direct or indirect, so am glad we generally converge in the view.

    This car has original clams, so now buying the $1600-2000/each front and rear clams, painting them, is another $6000K investment to potentially lessen accident financial damage..it would be OK if rebuilding one such car, but not economical now.

    The most surprising/impressive part to me is that fast Miatas run Elise race-car lap times. On paper the two are not close to evenly matched, as they are not in person. But Miata works.

    Mine is quiet developed, short $5K to be fantastic, still on OEM long block and weak-er 5 speed. Built motor and 6 speed is a $5K upgrade, but I do agree that just saving up for 911 and meanwhile enjoying Miata as is, is the best solution. I am not looking to be fastest, just have fun.

    Have you observed that Elise/Exige track/race cars indeed run similar lap times to developed Miatas?

    My car(s) are dual purpose, mostly mountain roads, and some track, so SuperMiata is not an option for now: too busy with family life to dedicate myself to long race-weekends. My gratification has to be near-instant, a 3hr loop in the mountains, a trackday.

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    Here's an orthogonal thought: have you considered just renting a race car for trackdays? Depending on how many track days a year you do, it might well pencil out cheaper since you don't have to worry about engines (unless you blow a shift and hit a billion rpm), brakes, tires, etc. And being a race car (assuming we're not talking something like a Pro Mazda or Formula Atlantic) it's a lot more "tolerant" or any off-track excursions, etc.

    Obviously, this doesn't cover the mountain road scenario, but I find that once you get hooked on really driving flat out on the track (something I was never willing to do in a street car) I lost a lot of interest in being superduperuber fast in street cars (i.e., a stock Miata with racy tires would be more than enough, ssuming I was girly enough to drive a Miata)

    Steve

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    Steve

    I have considered renting race cars on track.
    Another tangent: cars for me are a total obsession, and dialing them in is purpose.
    So its a whole science and emotional perturbation behind any new pursuit such as this Elise with Turbo and more.
    And its as much about experience of a car, as performance, all under the economic reality clout.

    I totally agree on loosing interest for driving fast on roads, once you push hard on track: but I am tarmac rally driver at heart, so its not an option to leave road work off the table. I like both, but there are no tarmac rally events here hence backroads (way out of sight/mind of general population, usually with partner in crime).


    What I really wanted to get out of this discussion was that a well built Miata such as Tom Hogan's Rotrex (Former TC's) and Bob Bundy in his wonder stroked 3071 350whp yet dual purpose and reliably running 1.36 with just roll bar and door bars for stiffening, is as capable chassis as is Elise, although with far less "style" inherent Elise beautiful aluminum chassis and overall layout and build.

    Because when objective measurable performance is comparable, its easier to let go of the "styling" and save myself lots, as I wait for P car to happen someday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alpinaturbo View Post
    . . . Than I check Lotus Cup Car laptimes, at Thill and Laguna, and realized that fast Miatas run those times: TC rotrex Miata now owned by Tom Hogan, with junkyard 1.8+rotrex w/220whp and put together by Tony was doing 1.55 at Thill.
    Bob Bundy does 1.36-1.37 at Laguna.SuperMiata can dip into 1.43 and Spec Miata into 1.44 at Laguna, on tail of some Lotus Cup racers..
    Don't forget Andrew Kidd:

    Willow Springs: 1:27.08[/B]

    Laguna Seca: 1:36.2[/B]
    Last edited by Loose Caboose; 11-02-2015 at 03:52 PM.

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    FWIW, Bob's car dynos something like 350 RWHP IIRC, and while I don't recall any numbers from Andrew's car, I doubt it's any less than that if not a bit more..
    Both are quite far from that mythical junkyard engine with some turbo slapped on.

    Also, I don't know if this happened, but did any SPM actually run a 1:43 at Laguna?

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    top 3 SPM just ran 1:34s qualifying yesterday at WSIR, and it wasn't ideal condition. it would easily be a 1:33s in the first cool weather session. may be a high 1:32s if stars aligned or with a little draft.
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    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    top 3 SPM just ran 1:34s qualifying yesterday at WSIR, and it wasn't ideal condition. it would easily be a 1:33s in the first cool weather session. may be a high 1:32s if stars aligned or with a little draft.
    What are the specs on SPM machines? I can't keep track of all these Miata classes.
    Last edited by SDSUsnowboards; 11-02-2015 at 05:08 PM.
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    Senior Member Silversprint's Avatar
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    A stock 160whp elise can run 1:35 at willow springs.

    If as you indicated you want to build the 2zz and add a turbo you are looking at 350hp. 400hp if on corn juice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDSUsnowboards View Post
    What are the specs on SPM machines? I can't keep track of all these Miata classes.
    140 whp
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    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red_5 View Post
    140 whp
    2300 pounds
    225 45 15 RC-1s
    EP type air dam
    Rear spoiler
    Thanks. 1:34 +/- 1 second is what I'd expect from a car with those specs. I wonder what a stock Elise at 164whp, and 2050 lbs. would do at WSIR. I'd guess about 1:32. It's probably making more down force and drag. What time did Manny put down with his modified Elise?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDSUsnowboards View Post
    Thanks. 1:34 +/- 1 second is what I'd expect from a car with those specs. I wonder what a stock Elise at 164whp, and 2050 lbs. would do at WSIR. I'd guess about 1:32. It's probably making more down force and drag. What time did Manny put down with his modified Elise?
    if SPM run Hoosier, easily 1:31s.......

    it really is all about tires..
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    if SPM run Hoosier, easily 1:31s.......

    it really is all about tires..
    No kidding. At MRLS last month I put on 2 year old set 205 RC-1s on Sunday and instantly went 3 scary seconds slower than I went the day before on much newer 225 RC-1s.
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    Z06 is awesome value.
    But its not a backroad car, however its fabulous track car.

    I think I'll wait out for 911 variant, and enjoy Miata.
    I cringe at cost of front and rear clams, and the motor is hard to access if anything is less than perfect.

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    So at Willow Springs, what does Miata do sorted a bit for track like SuperMiata etc?
    Elise 1.34...
    SPM on Hoosiers 1.31...
    Sounds like they are evenly matched on similar or same tire?

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    Silversprint:
    I am actually looking at the car with Turbo and built motor and trans.
    So its exploration of options.
    If motor turns out fragile- to build it again is $$.
    And there is risk of damage far exceeding cost of repair of Miata.

    SPM speaks loudly for Miata capability.
    So a SPM with 250whp vs Elise Turbo with 250whp..are seems like closely matched in performance on track...
    Would have thought Elise with better aero and lighter weight is faster, and easier to drive fast.

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    Senior Member Silversprint's Avatar
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    Building a 2zz engine to handle 250whp is a waste of money. Most 2zz engines that die on track do so from excessive heat or oil starvation. Building the stock 2zz doesn't fix those issues. The built 2zz mostly just increases the horsepower potential of the 2zz.

    A stock 2zz easily makes 250whp with minimal boost 6-7hp. My car can make 300whp at 9 to 10hp on the race gas tune. I run stock engine because they are cheap to replace compared to the time and money of a built engine. I just settle for less power on a reliable tune.

    The driver is going to be a huge part of comparing lap times. To put things into perspective a 210whp 1zz turbo spyder without the fancy lotus aero, better gearing, suspension and brakes of an Elise recently did a 1:52 at buttonwillow. Imagine what that driver can do with a lighter Lotus with 50hp more.
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