I'll be entirely honest- I have no clue what I'm doing. I got together with Rick and Charlie, and told them that instead of waiting 5 years to build an Evo to go to Pikes Peak, I'll just take the little Pinata and rebuild it from the ground-up yet again, and get it ready for either the 2019 or the 2020 Pikes Peak event. Charlie stepped in and stopped me right here, making it very clear that there is no sense in rebuilding a car that I have not even driven on a track ever since the initial rebuild. Why two different years? Because Pikes Peak is an invitational, and without sufficient experience- I will not have the opportunity to race even in 2020. For this reason, the black Miata has received a number of little mods and repairs, to make it somewhat track-ready. While the red Miata is getting some love, the black one will be my practice car that I will be taking to auto-crosses and racing in small series just to get some seat-time. I also have another task for this little car, but that's for later discussion.
There are quite a few things to address on the Pinata in order for it to even qualify for PPIHC. For starters, the cage will be cut-out (done as of 12/1/17). The reason behind this is simple- the cage itself sucks, and combine it with my (lack of) welding skills, it's downright deadly. Considering how I'm not the greatest driver, I will need a cage that will be able to withstand a drop from the "Devil's Playground", much like the experience Jeremy Foley and Yuri Kuznetsov had in their Evo. For this, I got in touch with TC Design in San Jose, CA. They will be taking care of not only the cage, but also the fire suppression system, and the seat mount. After this, I will take possession of the car in order to begin the basic testing.
Before I take it out to the track, I will need to repair the dent in the quarter panel that was left by a mysterious douche-bag who did not even bother to leave a note. Said douche-bag is quite fortunate, however, since he hit the car right in the spot that was originally going to be cut out anyway, in favor of some fiberglass over-fenders. The car will be running a 225/45/15 tire set-up in the initial testing stages in order to determine the direction we want to go with this build. These will be wrapped around some really wide 9 inch Konig Dial-In wheels. Mind you- I am not sponsored by any of the mentioned manufacturers unless I explicitly specify that I am, so do expect very honest reviews of whatever will be going on the car.
With that being said, I'd like the first honorable mention to go to CCP Fabrication for their awesome composite work. CCP Fabrication is a little company specializing in composite parts located in Florida- and I purchased my doors from them. The doors fit well, and they are as light as promised. I do think that they could use some sort of a strap to be included with the kit that could act as a door stop, so as to not let the door open too far and break off of its hinges. I think it would also be beneficial to offer an optional door pull- 911R style, but outside of the car. In addition, I think it would be great to offer an optional mirror reinforcement or mount of some sort, maybe even brand-specific, such as APR. The other honorable mention goes to LRB Speed, also a shop in Florida. Despite being hit with Irma, they still followed through with my order and delivered a seriously good product for the daily. A big thank you goes to all of my friends and family that are supporting me through this, and a huge thank you to Kevin and Debra Buckler, and The Racers Group for welcoming me into their ranks, and helping me gain the confidence to go through with the build.
Now that we have the honorable mentions out of the way, let's talk more planning. The plan is to finish the cage, and to take the car to the track. That's about it for now. Charlie made it clear that spending any more money on parts we may or may not need is wasteful, and it is best to simply drive the car in the meantime and get familiar with its dynamics, and the differences in each set-up. At the moment we don't even have any adjustable sway bars, so the settings there will be "on" or "off". The dampers are KONI Yellows, which only offer 3 ride height settings-too low, just right, too high- and they also offer a rebound adjustment knob. The tires are some Hoosier scuffs that I picked up for 20 bucks- definitely not what will be on the final set-up of the car. The wiring needs a ton of work (as will be seen in the video), and the brakes are going to need to have to go through some trials in order to increase my confidence in the pedal. All of this and more is going to come in the second week of January, and if the (rather awkward) video wasn't clear enough- I'm incredibly excited for it. Stay tuned!