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I got to sneak in a few sessions on-track to see how much time the new Nitto NT05 tires would shave off of my previous lap time. It ended up being around 7 tenths, but with a much bigger drop in optimal lap time. I didn't have the hours to lap like I had at previous events and there was a lot more traffic. It was still amazing to get 5 laps in quicker than my previous time, with only having about 9 clear laps total. These tires are much easier to drive quickly and I'm looking forward to more laps on a less busy track day.

Seeing as Austin was just about to drive the Miata over 30 hours on the road, I thought it was wise not to be too hard on the car and only drove it for three 20 minute sessions... 22 laps… full bore… I think the saying is, “no ducks given,” although, that doesn't sound exactly right. On the first session out, I immediately put in two laps faster than my best previous time. What had taken me hours and hours of trying to get the perfect lap was beaten in the first 10 minutes on track. Needless to say, the car was much easier to drive quickly. The next session had too many cars to get a fast time in, but the final session of the day had 3 additional laps that were faster than my previous time, with the best lap being 1:59.18. The Race Chrono app said that the optimal lap time is a 1:58.24, which shows I am leaving a decent chunk on the table. With the track antics done, the keys were handed to Austin and I watched with tears in my eyes as he drove off into the Michigan sunset.

With Austin on the road, everything felt right in the world, Nitto helped with the tires, nothing could go wrong, right? 


With clutch slipping confirmed, the first thing I did was to rely on the great support that Professional Awesome has for the Evo and contacted team sponsor, Zeitronix, who was just going to store the Miata for me, to see what connections they had that might be able to help get the clutch installed. Zeitronix knew just the crew for the job, fellow time attackers and car nuts, Road Race Engineering. They’d open up a spot for me and work on the Miata at the last minute. I’d just need to get them the car and the parts.

 

Exedy really came through in the clutch... get it... clutch? Their Stage 1 Organic Racing clutch kit was perfect for my needs with the Miata. Drivability is similar to stock, with just slightly more pedal effort. With that in mind, there is a substantial increase in torque capacity. It's rated to 164 ft/lbs, perfect for future modifications!
 
In order to use the Exedy Stage 1 Clutch, I also had to go with their Racing Lightweight Flywheel. Weighing in at 12lbs, compared to ~18lbs for the stock flywheel, the Exedy Flywheel has a subtle improvement when blipping the throttle, but drives like stock otherwise.

Next, I contacted Exedy USA. When you’re in a last minute rush, usually you take what you can get, but dammit, I wanted the best for the Miata and Exedy makes the only clutch we’ve trusted to use in the Professional Awesome Evo. A flurry of emails and calls were made and not only would they expedite ship a new clutch, they would send an upgraded Stage 1 Organic Clutch kit along with their Lightweight Chromoly Flywheel. The cool thing about this combo is that it allows for the larger 215mm disc diameter of later model Miata’s vs. the 200mm disc that comes with the 1993 from the factory. This simple difference allows for a much higher torque capacity, all while remaining easy and streetable to drive.

 

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