It's just 199 short days until the start of the 15th annual Targa Newfoundland tarmac rally. Since it's still a few weeks until the first track weekend in Texas, there's time to reflect on preparations for Targa.
The two most significant mechanical changes are planned for the suspension and brakes. We need to raise the ride height of the car as much as we can, while still allowing for a good alignment, to reduce the possibility of bottoming out - either from the oil pan hitting the ground (to be protected by a skid plate) or from tires hitting the top of the wheel well (which may require some new bump stops).
Last year, the car ate brake rotors. We used an aggressive pad with a stock rotor, which is pretty normal for Spec Miata, but after just a couple of days, there was a few millimeters of lip on the rotors. We're going to try a different of compound in the Miata in Texas with hopes that combination will work for Targa as well.
Inside the car, we're looking forward to building from our learnings from 2015. The ergonomics were great (out of luck more than planning) and the rally computers were reliable (after fixing a loose fuse) and easy to use. The two additions for this year will be a GPS system (to help reduce lifting off throttle over blind crests) and, hopefully some sort of shift light (to help prompt a downshift / increase rpms if rolling along in the wrong gear).
There will be many things added to the list as the event gets closer, but these are the ones that'll help us try to improve on last year's results.
Bryan Bursey, driver, founded Underbite Racing in 2015.