Rallying an MX5

i see that there is now an MX5 only class within the MSVR/ Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship.


i think Paul Sheard is behind it. I think it is for Mk1 and Mk2s upto 1800 but not too sure.

The way I read it, its for mk3"s

Sheardy’s is definitely a MK2, it has our 15" MRF tyres on it. 

So is he making roofs for the mk2 now that are fitted with the full race cage as it says about using his roofs, I know he made roofs for the mk3 racers

Just spoke to Paul, he is now making a roof for Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 cars fitted with the full roll cages, so any 1600 or 1800 car is allowed. 1st Race is next Saturday at Oulton Park.

Have watched the Paul Sheard Mk2 MX5s at both Snetterton and Donington recently and both look great fun in the Circuit rally championship, and I am not sure that anything else can be rallied as cost effectively. Gtrat fun per £.

Just need more people in the class.


Just thought I would bring this to the fore again.
A few MX5 Mk1s and 2s have rallied in the MX5 only class in the circuit rally championship over the past 2-3 years and I think that Paul Sheard has also rallied a Mk3 in the “normal” 1600-200cc class in open competition against the Escorts, 205s, Skoda etc etc.
Generally speaking they have done pretty well and certainly seem to be great fun, although most of the competitors were in Paul Sheard supplied “hire cars” I think.
The Mk2 that Paul Sheard built ran with just the mandatory safety modifications made and was on completely standard engine, gearbox, brakes and suspension, so it can be done.
I do know that the class regulations are going to be opened up slightly for the 2020/21 Motorsport News/ MSVR Circuit rally championship, although I don’t know the details of that yet. I think that the intention is to try to make it more accessible to everyone, including the “home preparer”, and not have to rely on Paul Sheard.
My guess is that if you have any MX5 it can be built up for tarmac rallying quite cheaply, and if you already have a car prepared for targa rallies, circuit racing or track days it could be modified quite easily to comply with the rally regs and still be useable in circuit racing or track days or on the road.
I am absolutely convinced that they are the cheapest way in to tarmac rallyIng possible.

Latest announcement from the MSVR/ MSN circuit rally FB site:


New for 2020-21, our MX5 class gets a revamp:

:white_check_mark: Now incorporates all cars from 1595cc to 2001cc
:white_check_mark: Hard tops no longer restricted to a Paul Sheard one

How about that?

For more information on the changes and how to get involved, check out our website :arrow_heading_down::arrow_heading_down:


So, Mk3s now eligible and fitting a hard top is no longer restricted to a Paul Sheard supplied one as long as it complies with the blue book regs, making choice of car and self prep easier.

I had a go in two of Paul Sheard’s rally prepared MX5s yesterday on a rally/ drift day at Oulton Park. I tried both a Mk1 and a Mk2. 5 of us took part during the day with instruction from Paul.
It was an absolute hoot and I really see why these are such good cars for the circuit based rallies. Really very controllable and great fun.
I am now looking in to hiring one of his cars for a proper rally outing or two at 3 Sisters or maybe in a couple of rounds of the MSVR circuit rally series.

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Assuming that lockdown2 ends on time, I have an entry for the Dukeries rally at Donington on 6 December in one of Paul Sheard’s rental rally MX5s. My first rally. Gulp.

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Hi Andy
Are you fixed up for a co driver? If not give me a shout as I’m available and happy to contribute towards costs

Hi Dave that is fantastic.
I Am fixed for a co-driver at the moment (as long as nothing changes) but that is a great offer and will bear that in mind if I do future events.
I am a novice rally driver but have raced ( usually towards the back of the grid) a fair bit so I am a bit nervous about it but looking forward to it.
Hopefully I will be in touch again.
Where are you based?

Hi Andy

I’ve got quite a bit of experience in rallying more as co driver but did do some driving many years ago.
I’ve competed at various levels upto and including international. I prefer forest events but tarmac rallies are fine too.

I’m based in East Yorkshire


Hi Dave, thanks for the interest, we should definitely stay in touch. I live very near Castle Donington.
I am hoping to get my own (scruffy) Mk2 Escort up and running shortly so am hoping to do a few events in that if you are interested?

So, I completed my first ever stage rally yesterday on the Dukeries rally at Donington Park in the hired MX5 Mk2. The rally was part of the MSVR/ Motorsport News circuit rally championship. I was seeded 93/100 and finished 71/74! I think I was near the slowest or slowest on every stage but I improved on each run. There were a couple of minor indiscretions, caused by me locking up under braking but no damage. I was really pleased with that to be honest - the conditions were very, very difficult and, as you can see, plenty of people didn’t finish, many because they just went off.
My car was almost certainly in the bottom three cheapest and simplest and lowest powered cars there and we were on standard Uniroyal Rainsport 3 tyres (got to get the excuses in) so overall I was very pleased and really enjoyed it.
The entry list was interesting as there was a lot of very exotic machinery out - probably more WRC and similar type cars together in one place than has ever been seen together before, even on WRC events! Not that many budget cars at the back of the pack but there were 3 other MX5s in various states of tune (mine was standard, the Mk1 was on individual throttle bodies for about 170 Bhp and the Mk3 was similar power to that), a couple of MG ZRs, a couple of Micras etc.
I recommend the circuit rally championship and similar circuit type rally events at Croft, Pembrey, 3 Sisters, Knockhill etc etc to everyone, and the MX5 is a great, cheap, fun car to drive in these sorts of events.
A very enjoyable day.
And the funny thing is that I did a morning track session at Mallory in Friday in my Caterham and there were several MX5s out there. Most of them would be fairly easy to bring up the Motorsport U.K. blue book standard to get a rally log book and would make great cars for these sorts of circuit rally events. Come on folks in the MX5 community, give it a go!


Hi Andy

Yes certainly interested in doing some events with you

That would be great, Dave. I have sent you a PM with my email address, might be easier to stay in touch that way.

Reviving an old thread… I’m looking to build a Mk1 for tarmac rallying. Glad to hear that there is some precedent for it. My theory was that the handling is good enough to be worth developing the car and getting around the inherent issues - power, strength, rollover protection. If anyone has, or knows of, an ex race or other competition rolling shell or complete car, that would make a basis for a rally car, please let me know.

Ideally I’d want a pre-‘95 import to make the emissions regs easier.

My Basic plan is for a VVT lump, rebuilt Fuji diff, mappable management, bigger mk2 brakes… and develop from there. ITBs and cams could be added later.

Finding a caged shell with some of the motorsport kit already in place, would jump start the process a bit. Need one with a cage that will fit a hard top, ideally.

Input welcome. I have some experience as a rally mechanic and navigator, so have some understanding of the regs, and a downloaded copy of the blue book. I’d really appreciate input on strengthening the shell to cope with yumps, etc on an MX5. I have some ideas, but real life experience is always good.

I am no expert on the technicalities of building an MX5 rally car but I really enjoyed my outing in one of Paul Sheard’s hire MX5s on the Dukeries rally at at Donington Park and also on the “drift circuit” at Oulton Park.
They really handle well and are ideally suited to the MSVR circuit rally series and I don’t see why they would not work well on other tarmac rallies eg the closed road ones, although they might find the rougher airfield type rallies a challenge.
There is an MX5 only class within the MSVR circuit rally series and that is good fun.
If I was building one, I really would talk to Paul Sheard (google for his web site and look on FB) as he is very helpful, knows how to build these things well, knows where suitable donor cars might be, supplies most of the parts needed (including roll cages and hard tops), knows what is required to make a hard top fit, and is keen to see the MX5 class grow.
Good luck.
Oh and there are a couple of potential candidates to turn in to rally cars here:
Not sure if they still have v5s though, but worth a call probably.

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