SEMA: Mazda exhibits much lighter MX-5 Miata Speedster Evolution, MX-5 RF Kuro [Live Photos]

Article by Anita Panait, on November 6, 2016

Like many automakers, Mazda North American Operations knows what the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association Show (SEMA) is all about. Held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, the event allows many designers the chance to think out of the box and come up with a number of excellent dream cars. For the 2016 SEMA Show, Mazda will be exhibiting the more ruthless yet lighter MX-5 Miata Speedster Evolution and the MX-5 RF Kuro. The MX-5 RF Kuro in particular is based mainly on the 2017 MX-5 RF retractable fastback and slated to be released early next year to the U.S. market.

It was during the 2015 SEMA Show when Mazda first unveiled the MX-5 Speedster. Compared to the MX-5 soft top on which it was based, it weighed 2,080 lbs., a reduction of 11% or about 150 lbs. After that, the MX-5 Speedster was then taken to the Goodwood Festival of Speed held in U.K., where it underwent the 1.16-mile hill climb. Later the model was brought back to Mazda Design Americas located in Irvine, California, where a team started to look into how to make this version even lighter.

The design team was led by none other than Design Manager Ken Saward, who took out everything beneath the dashboard and made sure to replace all the gauges with a digital display. In addition, the team also removed the Brembo brakes in the front and instead used the calipers and rotors of the MX-5 Sport and Grand Touring, as they were lighter. Furthermore, the standard battery which weighed 25.1 lbs., was replaced with the Braille GreenLite G20 Lithium battery which only weighed 4.5 lbs.

As a result, the design team did manage to come out with a lighter version for this year’s SEMA. Specifically, the MX-5 Miata Speedster Evolution now weighs 1,980 lbs., a reduction of 15% on the original MX-5. In terms of design, it comes in White Ether paint allowing the MX-5 Evolution to enhance the brand’s performance heritage even further. The new version is fitted with the adjustable suspension seen first from the MX-5 Global Cup race car. Further, the MX-5 Evolution is equipped with the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival R1 grooved racing slick tires that are sized 225/45R17. This tire model is the same one used by race cars that participate in the Battery Tender Mazda Global MX-5 Cup.

Aside from the MX-5 Speedster Evolution, the brand is expected as well to unveil the MX-5 RF Kuro concept, mainly based on the 2017 MX-5 RF. This concept car also utilizes the technology of the MX-5 Global Cup but placed in a package that is more street-focused. The MX-5 RF Kuro also shares components with the MX-5 Global Cup race car like the adjustable suspension and the Brembo dual-piston brake calipers on the front. This concept car comes in a Satin Black Metallic paint.

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