Video: Lightning McBarra on the dyno

In this episode of Carnage, our Barra-swapped MX-5 makes killer power on the dyno

Photographers: Matt Hull
Videographers: Matt Hull

The perfect cure for Mondayitis is a fresh episode of Carnage, and this week we kick off with our Barra-swapped Mazda MX-5 chasing a horsepower PB on the dyno.

It wasn’t that long ago that we had the MX-5 on the Maxx Performance dyno, but we were quickly stopped in our tracks on that occasion when the electronic boost control wouldn’t let us go beyond 10psi.

With that fixed (or so we thought), we asked Maxx head tuner Zane Heath to have another crack at squeezing some more power out of the green-top Barra.

Unfortunately, not long into the session, it was clear the boost issue wasn’t fixed. The wizards from Maxx spent that night diagnosing our shitter and discovered that the digital Racepak dash was trying to send information to the Barra ECU, corrupting any changes we were trying to make while tuning it.

The quick way around that was to unplug the dash – which had no proper readouts anyway – and then dive back into the tuning.

After a few niggly dramas, the car pumped out its best power figure with the Barra to date, peaking with 567rwhp (422rwkW) on around 18psi. Zane reckons there is scope for more boost to be fed in before maximising the stock-bottom-end LPG Barra, but we’ll need to change the wastegate spring in the Turbosmart external gate before he can safely control it.

So, that’s the plan! We’ll change the spring, sort out the gremlins with the dash, and then work towards getting the car tech-approved to run a nine-second pass. Then we’ll send it at the drag strip!