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SEMA 2016: Mazda reveals lighter, faster MX-5 Speedster

SEMA 2016: Mazda reveals lighter, faster MX-5 Speedster image

Text: Nica Onate / Photos: Mazda, Newspress USA | posted November 03, 2016 07:22

MX-5 Speedster Evolution is Mazda's lightest roadster to date

Mazda recently unveiled a faster and even lighter MX-5 Speedster Evolution at this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

First revealed at the 2015 SEMA Show, the MX-5 Speedster weighed in at 943 kg, an 11-percent reduction compared to a stock MX-5 soft top.

Rear quarter of the Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution

The MX-5 Speedster spent its summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K., where it ran the 2km hill climb. It then returned to Mazda Design Americas, where the Irvine, California-based team that created it experimented to see just how much more weight they could shave off.

Led by Design Manager Ken Saward, the team extracted what remained underneath its dashboard and replaced the gauges with a digital display. They also exchanged its Brembo front brakes with the lighter rotors and calipers from the MX-5 Sport and Grand Touring models to further remove unnecessary weight.

A peek inside the Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution

Its 11 kg stock battery was replaced in favor of the Braille GreenLite G20 Lithium battery that weighs in at a light 2 kg. Apart from these, the design team also shaved an additional 45 kg from the MX-5 Speedster, a total of 159 kg, or 15-percent from the original MX-5 soft top’s starting weight. Now, it weighs only 898 kg.

Finished in White Ether, the MX-5 Speedser is complete with an adjustable suspension from the MX-5 Global Cup racecar and BFGoodrich g-Force Rival R1 grooved racing slick tires, sized 225/45R17—the same model of tire used as the race cars competing in the Battery Tender Mazda Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires.

“With MX-5 Speedster Evolution, our goal was to further deliver the essence of what MX-5 has represented for the past 27 years—lightweight engineering and pure driving joy. In the future, we might see if there is anywhere else we could take out weight,” said Saward, who also owns and races a Spec Miata.

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The Mazda MX-5 Kuro

Along with the MX-5 Speedster is the brand's new concept based on the 2017 MX-5 RF, the MX-5 RF Kuro. It adopts most of the MX-5 Global Cup technology, however, in a more street-focused package. MX-5 RF Kuro also shares its adjustable suspension with the MX-5 Global Cup racecar and its Brembo dual-piston front brake calipers. It is finished in Satin Black Metallic and expected to be released by early 2017.

The rear of the Mazda MX-5 Kuro RF

“We wanted to give MX-5 RF Kuro a stealth look to complement its sleek profile, providing subtlety and purpose. As we move our brand in a direction we call ‘Mazda Premium,’ we want to embrace our longstanding motorsports heritage and reach forward with breathtaking designs like the MX-5 RF,” said Saward.