Subaru BRZ Vs Mazda MX-5 Drag Race Is A Close Sports Car Battle


All things being equal, we suspect drivers in the Subaru BRZ and Mazda MX-5 will prefer tortuous canyons over straight-to-stick drag tracks. That’s not to say old-fashioned drag racing isn’t fun, and we rarely see these two lightweight sports cars battling for quarter-mile dominance. This video is from Motorcycle gives us no less than six races, and each one very close.

On paper, Subaru had a slight advantage. The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four produces 228 horsepower (170 kilowatts) and 184 pound-feet (249 Newton-meters) of torque. The Miata isn’t that powerful, posting 181 hp (135 kW) and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) from its factory 2.0-liter four-cylinder. However, the Mazda is up to 400 pounds lighter, creating a nearly equal power-to-weight ratio. And both cars use power the old-fashioned way – sending it to the rear via a manual transmission.

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To ensure there is no dispute about which car is faster, we were treated to a dig and roll race. It started with a standing start, which kept both cars dead even through almost half the track. Mazda did take a slight advantage early on, with the overcooked Subie driver at launch then banging the rev limiter on a critical shift. However, the larger BRZ engine sped off at the end of the track. This win is roughly half the length of the car – not a big win, but a win.

Two more standing races take place, with each racer improving their launch technique. However, the result is the same. Through half the track it was neck and neck, but at the big end, the BRZ’s power was too much for the Miata. After a tight first race, Subie extended wins to more than one car for the last two races. The advantages of BRZ, but the features of this contest six race. How about wobbling with both cars starting from the reels?

A target speed of 31-mph (50 km/h) was set for the last three races. With the launch dispensed with, the BRZ’s horsepower advantage is firmly established and yes, this is another win for Subaru. The gap isn’t that big, and the second race saw the MX-5 jump a bit early. It’s not much, but it’s enough to hold a charged BRZ to give Mazda fans a win. The final race saw a balanced start and another Subaru victory.

Yes, power matters in a straight line and Subaru wins this contest. But what about the lap times on the winding trails? It’s a race for another video, another day.


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