Video: Our Barra-swapped MX-5 gets a bigger turbo!

In this episode of Carnage, our MX-5 gets a big turbo upgrade!

Videographers: Matt Hull

Our Barra-swapped MX-5 is already by far the quickest and fastest car in our Carnage fleet, capable of low nines and around 150mph!

Nines isn’t quite good enough for Scotty though, so now we’re on the hunts for eights with the little Mazda. Scotty recently swapped the stock-bottom-end, LPG-spec Barra out for one with upgraded rods and pistons, as we’d hit the limit of the factory Ford internals.

Once we spun that engine up on the dyno, we found the old turbo was the new limiting factor, so that’s what gets rectified in this episode with a brand-new Pulsar G42 1450. That ‘1450’ stands for 1450hp, and when you see it in the little Mazda’s engine bay, you can believe it!

Because we’re the only people crazy enough to put one of Ford’s monster mills in an MX-5, finding an exhaust manifold that fits its specific engine bay is not really a thing. We’d previously run a stock Ford one with our smaller low-mount turbos, but this time around we had to change to high-mount, so we commissioned the boys at Maxx Performance to make us a custom steampipe manifold to suit the car, as well a new dump pipe.

Another needed upgrade that Scotty ticked off the list was the sump. The MX-5 uses a Territory front sump, so under hard launches, there were issues with oil sloshing to the back of the engine and away from the pick-up.

To fix that, Scotty got the steel pan upgraded by Russell Oil Pans. They baffled it and increased the capacity on either side while also reducing the overall height of the pan, as we also found it was ever-so-slightly touching the ground when the car would come down from a hard launch.

The final upgrade in the pursuit of eights was some fresh engine management from Haltech. Until now, we’d been running a retuned Barra turbo ECU, which did the job, but at this level it had its shortcomings.

We wanted things like two-step and more tuneability, so Bill Hooton from Hooton’s Harnesses made a patch loom for the Elite 2500 ECU and the boys from Maxx neatly mounted it under the passenger-side airbag cover in the dashboard.

In the next episode, you’ll see the new package hit the dyno with some truly awesome results, before Scotty goes hunting for eights at the Ford Powered Nationals at Heathcote.