Racing for MK2

I have recently purchased a 1998 Mk2. I plan to make some performance modifications and use it primarily as a track day car to improve my driving ability.


That said, I’d be open to potentially racing it competitively if that were an option at some point. From what I can see online, there are only race series available for Mk1 and Mk3 in UK. Is this the case? If so why can you not race Mk2’s?


Thanks for any info!

Try the hill climb and sprint series, either through the Club or join a local Club that enters hill climb and sprint events. Strictly one car at a time, over a timed course, best time of the day earns you points towards a possible final win in your series (up to 2L class I imagine)

It isn’t cheap, but great fun if you can afford it over a season. Also a lot safer for you as a driver, though you will need to take care of the car.

There are two events at Curborough sprint course next year, both with the Club, a lot cheaper than entering a sanctioned sprint event, why not give it a try, and see if it suits your need for speed. Shenstone and District Car Club own and run Curborough, and each spring they hold an ‘Introduction to Sprinting’ event, which is free, the aim being to introduce would be drivers into joining in the fun, and officially blessed by the MSA as being a valuable event for doing what they do best. I can thoroughly recommend it - if it takes your fancy.

try the Mazda Spring series, info on the forum somewhere, and no restriction on MK2s. Promoted by us and Javelin.


It is odd though that MK2 got missed by the race series, nver understood that. 

Or Rallying of course. 


For Mk1s, only the 115hp 1.6 is covererd by races.


Mazda ran a European Mk2 cup competition that fizzled out after a few seasons, once it served its purpose.


I suppose for the Mk1 v Mk2, it comes down to numbers; there are a lot more Mk1 1.6s in Japan and US than the other models, and that allows for more development of go-fast parts. UK just mimic’d the US Spec Miata series. Parts are more plentiful and cheaper than the later Mk1 and the Mk2.


Mk1 racing was promoted when Mk1s were cheap, and the racing amateur. Mk3 racing was bigger bucks to get into; more pro (relatively).

Afterthought - The main advantage of sprint racing is you can run the car ‘as is’, there is a road going class, which allows you to do this. You can also qualify for a ‘B’ license, which goes along with the car, as run. Any car which is ‘prep’d’ as a sprint car needs an ‘A’ license, which you can’t get till you’ve qualified as a ‘B’ driver.
You will need a ‘Shut off switch’ (ignition ‘kill’ switch,) which must be located according to general rules and be visible to any marshal who may need to use it after a crash, or a fire. Clothing - overalls must be flameproof, and shoes, socks etc are also preferred, as is underwear. A crash helmet, according to the rule book. IIRC - you need to compete in at least eight events to gain enough points to cover the season, many attend more than this. No event is ‘next door’! I follow on sprint driver - a former Club member, and every event must cost him between £400 - to £450 with entry fee and accomodation. Nothing comes cheap any more.

Racing is a different kettle of fish - Apart from specified clothing, you need to pass an ‘ARDS’ test, the car needs a total strip down, passenger seat, carpets, trim and any non essential bits. It also needs a full roll cage, which add s to the bill. Also a full race harness is required. You normally cannot drive to an event, you need at least a trailer, and a hefty beast to tow it. Or, if you are loaded, a converted truck or other large vehicle that you can drive to the next event with the car onboard, or towed beínd it. Some even tow a caravan, accomodation isn’t cheap, and you need to stay overnight for either sprints or racing. Entry fees are also expensive, the reason many race drivers need sponsorship. A good driver - and car, may win races, this keeps the sponsor happy, being a tail end charlie ends in withdrawal of sponsor, so that’s the spur that keeps you foot hard down. Then there’s the spares list, which can be endless, depending on your season.

Never heard a driver say how much a season has cost, but my guess is at least £10K, probably more. You need to be committed totally to racing to allow you to shrug off the cost - that’s apart from ‘preping’ the car - are you? In F1 you can even ‘buy a seat’ if daddy is a millionaire and you are a good driver - the team needs the money. Otherwise it’s a hard life, starting at 5 year olds.

Thanks for all of the responses so far.


Upon reflection I think I will keep the car road legal but make modifications to optimise it for track (and only drive on road en route to the track days). Having it as such will allow me to focus on becoming a better driver with more money for track time and tuition.


I’d love to get involved in a racing series as I have already passed my ARDS test (and am looking at doing so in Formula Vee) but may try a few arrive and drive events before committing the sort of cash referenced for a full season of racing.

I would say doing a few track days will teach you a lot about the car and your own skills so that is a good place to start.

And its surprising how intense it can get when you try and get around that little bit quicker than the last lap.

Enjoy the car.

Hi Donald,

To answer your question about MK2’s and racing, there is actually no reason at all why you could not build a MK2 race car and some will exist.

The reason you do not see a MK2 race series is relatively simple in that they offer nothing extra over a MK1. The first independent race championship, which was MaX5  started in 2004 and so MK2’s were still current or pretty new where as MK1’s was not. Going forward, even though it has started to change certainly MK1 donor cars have been plentiful and could be had for peanuts. The need for a MK2 series to appeal to drivers would be that they would need to be faster than the MK1’s to justify the additional cost which would come from newer and more involved cars. With MK1’s outputting a reliable 130bhp and the MK2 inherently heavier even running the 1.8 engine there would be precious little difference in lap times and it uses a surprisingly large amount of extra fuel just to deliver the same performance. While the balance of cost may well be swinging now in flavor of the MK2, rust issues and the very fact that there are probably at least 200 built MK1 race cars in the UK many of which could be yours for £5K means there is very little appetite for MK2 race cars within a one make set up. 

Other options do exist of course outside of one make series and there are various club races where they would be eligible however, while the existing race one make race championships make for great, close racing, when compared to open classes MX-5’s are generally just not fast enough. Even with significant power hikes, the chassis and general handling is outgunned by better designs.

Sprinting or racing comes down to what you want. Sprinting is essentially you vs. the track. Racing is more you vs. your competitors and in general you will always find someone to race against no matter where you expect to finish. It is never “cheap” no mater what you do. 

To add onto what nick has said above…

so fast forward to 2008 and the mk1 ace cars were plentiful, I decided to build a newer modern race car…so the obvious choice was a mk3

and this is when the mk3 race car was born. Move on again to 2015 and as the mk4 was June on the streets it was a natural progression to build a mk4…


if your seriously wanting to race (not sprint) a mk2 give me a call…I have some ideas

Paul Roddison

If you dont want to spend much join your local motor club and try Autosolo. Road legal cars, very competitive.

£20 or so for club membership, £30-40 per event plus fuel and maybe a set of tyres.

Worth a look, motorsport doesnt have to be expensive.



The Mk 2 could be raced in CSCC Modern Classics up to 1800cc Class, 750mc Roadsports/ Club Enduro, or MSV Track Day Trophy. Straight forward to build to those regs and with a set of TBs would be very competitive probably.

An alternative is to try rallying. Paul Sheard has established a class within the MSVR/ MSN Circuit Rally Championship for either Mk1 or Mk2 MX5. As the name suggests, all rallies take place on single venue events at race circuits set out as a series of rally stages.

Paul has prepared a MK2 to a very simple spec to prove the concept. All the approved safety gear, hard top and standard engine, brakes and suspension. Looked really good fun at Snetterton and Donington Park where i saw them.

I am not sure how much a car like that would cost but i am guessing about £3-5k. Depending on how much you can do yourself. And very cheap to run. Whats not to like? Give it a go!