Video: Our MX-5 gets a new turbo!

Lightning McBarra returns with some new go-fast parts


It’s been a while since we gave old Lightning McBarra some love. If you’re new to Carnage – or just forgot about our MX-5 – the car debuted at Red CentreNATS four years ago, sporting a twin-turbo LS1 set-up and a different colour scheme.

A couple of years later, it evolved into the turbo Barra-powered, Cars-themed machine you see here. We had some fun with it at Street Machine Summernats 33, before blowing up the silver-top donk on the Maxx dyno in early 2020.

Until now, the car ran a turbo pilfered from the LS set-up, which maxed out at around 500rwhp. So Scotty got in touch with Force Fed Motorsports, who hooked us up with a Pulsar 3584 snail. That means more boost and more power!

The new turbo was a great time to sort out a few other things around the Mazda. First on the list was an ANDRA and IHRA-friendly dump pipe that exits down and to the side instead of up. That brought with it a fancy new tubular subframe, offering more real estate under the car.

Scotty had to run a new brake line as a result. Thankfully, a primo Raceworks flaring kit made the job much easier.

Another bugbear on the car was a stupid-looking header bottle that poked up and out of the engine bay. Josh from Custom Alloy Welding knocked up a neat (though somewhat phallic) downward-facing piece to redirect coolant, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work in the space available. However, with the Maxx Performance boys working their magic on the thermostat housing and a few more fittings and lines, Lightning McBarra’s now got a much neater overflow arrangement.

With the coolant and brake systems finished, it was time for Lightning’s first start with the new turbo and pipe. As you’ll hear in the video, it’s just as loud as you’d expect!