The Mazda Miata has long been a crowd favorite with driving enthusiasts. While it's an amazing vehicle, the level of excitement can be taken to the next level with the right equipment.
Tires are a top priority and the Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec and Hankook Ventus RS-3 (Version 2) are both favorites. When we tested each last fall, the ZII Star Spec handled amazingly well in all conditions. It delivered excellent grip, steering and braking response and driver feedback. For the driver not interested in near race-level grip from their tires, consider the Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position and Michelin Pilot Super Sport.
For wheels, Kosei has many great offerings. The Kosei wheel line has been a favorite due to its history of being a durable wheel that is lightweight, at a very affordable cost. In the photo (a Miata I once owned), the wheels are black, because I spent an evening "plastidipping" my Kosei K1 wheels for a different look.
When considering suspension options for the Miata, the sky is the limit. For a good budget combo, combine a Koni Sport shock with an H&R sport spring and set the adjustable perch to your liking. The H&R sport spring offers a nice spring rate, while the Koni shock offers the ability to adjust its rebound. Koni and H&R recognizes this set-up and offers this combo as a kit for many vehicles, including the Miata. When setting the spring perches to its lowest setting, fender modification using a fender lip roller may be required to clear larger tires or more aggressive offset wheels. Sway bars should also be considered and Eibach, H&R and Hotchkis all offer options in varying degrees of stiffness and adjustment.
There is some debate on what is best within the Miata community when it comes to brakes. While I feel aggressive brake pads are a personal opinion, many track-orientated drivers will use the Hawk HPS brake pad on the front and Hawk HP Plus pads in the rear combined with a Brembo or Centric rotor. Goodrich G-Stop Brakeline Kit with ATE Blue brake fluid will increase pedal feel. The ATE fluid will be resistant to heat and brake fluid boiling when on a road course. This set-up is very well balanced.
A Miata prepped to this level falls into the SCCA Street Touring class and will be an absolute blast to drive.