Video: Getting the Barra-swapped MX-5 ready to race!

In this episode of Carnage, Scotty gets the MX-5 tech-inspected and legal to run nines at Summernats Slam

Photographers: Matt Hull
Videographers: Matt Hull

As much as we joke about hacking stuff together for a good laugh on Carnage, safety is one of the few things we actually take seriously, especially when we’re planning on going as fast as we’re hoping to with our Lightning McBarra MX-5.

Because of that, a big part of the car’s preparation for its first trip down the strip with its new Barra heart has been getting it IHRA tech-inspected and signed off. The car has previously run a 9.9 with its old twin-turbo LS deal, but it wasn’t teched and we promptly got kicked off track.

When the car was first built, the champions at All Race Fabrications fitted a really solid rollcage, so we didn’t need to do any major fabrication in that area to get the car approved. What was needed though was some SFI-spec padding for said ’cage, so that was one of the jobs on Scotty’s list.

Another, sadly, was removing the eyeballs from the windscreen. As much as it’s a cool part of the livery, officials on track can’t see into the front of the car, and that’s a big issue in the event of something going wrong, so it had to go.

An X-bar also had to be welded into the exhaust tip, because in the event of a turbo or catastrophic engine failure, it prevents large chunks of debris shooting out of the exhaust and hurting anyone trackside.

One modification that wasn’t required for tech, but in our eyes was still a necessity, was upgrading the dash. Until now, the MX-5 has been using a Haltech-spec Racepak iQ3 dash, which is a bit old-school, but more importantly, it couldn’t talk to our Barra ECU.

The fix for that was Haltech’s new digital iC-7 dash, so Bill Hooton from Hooton’s Harnesses came down to the workshop to fit the CAN-bus Barra connection we needed. Now the iC-7 reads directly from the stock Barra ECU – how cool! Scotty finally has rpm, coolant temp, fuel pressure and all the vitals we didn’t have with the old Racepak.

With those and a few other niggly jobs done, the final piece of the puzzle is one last dyno check-up before the MX-5 hits the freshly repaved surface at Heathcote Park Raceway next weekend (21-22 May) for Summernats Slam!