LAST year we built MX5.7 – our twin-turbo LS1-powered Mazda MX-5 – to take to Red CentreNATS. It’s next big outing would be Street Machine Summernats 31, but before we could take it anywhere we had to sort out a few teething issues. We replaced the plastic idler pulleys with billet items, and we switched to bigger 60mm Turbosmart wastegates which fixed our boost control issues.
We then sent it to Damien at Bling Designs for a new Valvoline-inspired wrap, which he knocked out the day after Boxing Day.
Summernats was a blast with MX5.7; everyone loved the little Mazda, and other than a melted thermo fan, the car ran flawlessly. Farmtruck and Azn from Street Outlaws even liked it!
Then it was back to MPW for a tune up, ready for its next test – Powercruise #70 in Tasmania! Yep, the MX5.7 and the Street Machine crew were going for a ride on the Spirit of Tasmania.
On sailing day we jumped into a Ford Everest with all our gear, headed down to Port Melbourne and drove on board. Before we knew it we were in Tassy!
Once on dry land we hooked up with former Drag Challenge winner Bubba Medlyn at our accommodation just outside of Launceston. Bubba was in Tassie for business and looking for something to do on the weekend, so he came out to Powercruise with us.
Even though Symmons Plains didn’t open until 5pm we decided to head down early and lucky we did. We unloaded the Mazda and naturally the alternator died immediately.
We wanted to put the Mazda into burnout practice that afternoon, so we put the battery on charge and cabled-tied our jump pack into position. We decided that would work until we had time to fix things properly the next day.
I was pretty nervous; it’s been a long time since I was on a burnout pad and the burnout pad is really small, and the entry chute is pointed downhill at the wall. I used the transbrake to start building boost, held my breath and let go of the button. The MX-5 fired me straight at the wall so I jumped on the brakes and tried to get it turned, she flung around and banged against the limiter. Then the cabin filled with smoke and I couldn’t see so I got off it. This happened a handful of times until I decided to drive it off the pad while it was still in one piece.
The next morning we sourced a new alternator and had MX5.7 up and firing in time for the Off-Street Drags.
Unfortunately, on its second run the MX-5 started missing so we went back to the pits. After pulling the rocker cover I noticed a pushrod was looking at me with the rocker arm sitting loose. “Ah, it’s an easy fix,” I thought, until a closer inspection revealed we had a bent pushrod.
A spare was delivered by former Drag Challenge entrant and Tassy local David Best and I got to work pulling the passenger side cylinder head off the LS1 to replace the bent item. By 9pm she was back up and running, but rather then give it another thrash in the burnouts (most likely what caused the bent push rod in the first place), I parked her up for the night.
The next morning we were on track bright an early. Boy this thing is fun to drive, and with 520rwhp, it’s bloody fast! After I’d had a go I let Bubba have a steer and he was really able to get the best out of it, cutting powerskids down the main straight and drifting around the two main corners of the track.
Then it was time for the powerskids. I hit the transbrake button and brought the boost up, then let loose. As soon as the back tyres erupted I hit top gear and we were on our way, with a large plume of smoke behind. Everything felt good until the rear end stepped out. I tried to correct, but the Mazda started to head straight for the guard rail. The natural reaction was to back off, but that just made things worse. I hit the guard rail with the back quarter.
We taped up the rear bumper and quarter panel with gaffa tape and headed back out for the next cruise session, before getting the car ready for the off-street drags finals. This was where we thought the Mazda would shine. Bubba felt we should stay with the street rubber because the radials were a tight fit with the damaged panels, but given the lack of traction they provided I wanted to use the drag radials.
First up we raced against a tough Cortina. I let go of the red button. Both cars lit the tyres at the startline and the Cortina had a slight advantage, but the Mazda was already pulling back the difference when the rear tyre blew. The edge of the wheel tub had scythed into the tyre on the launch and sliced the sidewall open.
That was it for our Tassie adventure. A massive thanks to all our supporters, including;
* MPW Performance
* Powerhouse Engines
* All Race Fabrications
* Bling Designs
* GCG Turbochargers
* Allfast Torque Convertors
* ICE Ignitions
* Aussie Desert Coolers
* Victorian Speed Pro
* K&N Filters
* Red CentreNATS