A fantastic car that you need to try out in any sim racing title, the Mazda MX-5 will be coming to RaceRoom.
If there was ever a car that stood as absolutely fantastic in the sim racing genre, the Maza MX-5 stands above many and is on its way to RaceRoom.
Every generation has its aspirational car. An icon that seems to represent the zeitgeist of the time. Think Golf GTI and AE86 at one end, or Lamborghini Countach (for people of a certain age) and Bugatti Veyron at the other . But Mazda’s MX-5 has somehow pulled the trick of being the car for every generation, reinventing itself in subtle ways to remain one of the world’s go-to starting points for genuine driving joy and tuning possibilities.
It’s why the MX-5 can be seen as the flagship of our December Raceroom Drivers Pack – perfectly complementing the other three cars we’re releasing – and it’s the perfect machine to explore the limits of the Charade track that’s also part of the the content drop.
The MX-5 isn’t flashy. It’s not expensive. Out of the box it’s not particularly high powered. The platform is lightweight, compact and – heresy of heresies for the claim of being a performance car – a drop-top. But there’s no question that this is a true driving icon.
The first MX-5 was delivered unto the world in 1989, and since then we’ve seen four iterations over three decades – but the spirit of the car has never changed. It’s still instantly recognisable, with its mechanical principles the same over all that time (two seats; front engined; rear-wheel drive) and it’s mostly the superficial body styling that’s evolved to keep it looking fresh, along with minor bumps in power output.
In its origins the MX-5 openly tips a hat to what’s seen as the ultimate lightweight racer-for-the-road, Lotus’ iconic Elan from the 1960s: a giant killer on and off the track. The first MX-5 bore rather more than a passing resemblance to the Elan: but as a reference there could be fewer more deserving targets, and purists’ grumblings were soon rendered irrelevant as the Mazda sold by the ton – and well over a million have been enjoyed (and are likely still being enjoyed) all round the world.
Originally released as the Miata in North America and known as the Eunos Roadster in its homeland of Japan, in Europe it’s always been the simpler but still memorable MX-5. And almost immediately it was clear that the MX-5 presented a unique opportunity for those of us who can’t afford supercars or high-performance GTs. With the MX-5, the driving experience would be the thing to show off, not the exterior bling or look-at-me scream of a V12 (that likely never gets used in anger). The MX-5 sat was the sweet spot in the Venn diagram of just the right amount of everything: power, grip, feedback, stability… fun.
The latest fourth-generation ND MX-5 that you’ll soon be driving in Raceroom has taken the car back to its roots. The MX-5 was admittedly getting a little larger and a little heavier over time, and has benefitted from a fitness regime. The newest ND is actually shorter than the original model and almost as light; a balance of modern materials countering the effects of more stringent safety regs that inevitably add weight despite their necessity.
The original model is still the standard by which all later models were judged, such was its quality, but the ND has earned rave reviews since its release – and most importantly is as drivable and enjoyable as ever. It still features a normally-aspirated, inline four-cylinder engine, though it now develops 181hp and is mated to a six-speed ‘box to make it the quickest off-the-shelf MX-5 yet.
We’re featuring the ND2 Cup model in Raceroom, so you can let it loose in an MX-5’s natural environment of door-to-door racing in a massed pack of cars. Pretty much every country with a racing pedigree boasts an MX-5 Cup series: it’s a staple of global motorsport and always has been since the car was launched. It’s just a natural thing to do.
The Cup shows just how few modifications you need to make to an MX-5 to turn it into a bona fide racer. There’s the roll-cage for safety, an uprated ECU and improved cooling, a strengthened transmission, you can upgrade the suspension… and that’s about it. You just don’t need to do much to it – although being such a pure platform you can if you want: the possibilities are endless, as shown in the tuning scene.
But in Raceroom we think you’ll love the ND2 Cup. It’s a proper racer’s racer: nimble and just quick enough, but not so quick that overtakes are easy: building up your skill against equally matched cars is what will make the difference, and practice will be everything. Especially as we expect our online ranked races with the Mazda to be super competitive!
Four cars, one track. Our Drivers Pack gives you the MX-5: the perfect starting point, a simple thoroughbred racecar that encourages simple, elbows-out racing. There’s the Crosslé 9S, a classic sports prototype from the ‘60s that’s barely changed since that time, a compliant car that wants to be taken to the limit. Its sister, the Crosslé 90F is full-on, wind-in-your-face throwback single-seater fun: a tiny missile of edginess. And then you’ll get the modern Praga R1, the pinnacle of performance, laden with downforce and rocketship-fast. All curated to be quick out of the box, but all with their quirks that need to be mastered. France’s epic Charade track, our Drivers Pack circuit of choice, will be the perfect place to put these four to the test.