Miata Isn’t Always the Answer

Mar 3, 2023

When people ask for track car recommendations, especially for beginners, it’s a guarantee “Miata” will be the one of the first 3 cars on the list of beginner-friendly cars.

These days, however, the BRZ/GT86/GR86 family has been heavily part of the conversation and we can certainly understand why. With an easy-to-modify platform, wide aftermarket support, a solid community of autocrossers, trackday warriors, and cayon carving enthusiasts, it’s plain to see why this platform rivals that of the Miata. While the Miata is the most popular car at the track for beginners and advanced drivers, the shared Subaru/Toyota platform has definitely made its mark. Unofficial track league competition centered around the platform has been popping up everywhere, rivaling that of the “Miata gang” scene.

Much like the Miata, the BRZ/86 platform can do well out of the box, needing just DOT 4 brake fluid and better brake pads to stave off brake fade going into corners.  All-seasons may not be the best choice on a track for faster lap times, but beginners may not even reach the limits of adhesion. The above example is bone stock and already looks like it’s ready for the track!

The seats will hold the drivers firmly in the seats and the no-frills interior (ignoring the upgraded head unit) will provide few distractions to the beginner driver. In more “advanced” setups, the steering wheel could be replaced for an aftermarket one, the shifter could be modified to have stiffer bushings, and the seats could be swapped out entirely for true bucket seats. The possibilities are endless!

Powered by a Subaru Boxer engine, it has just enough power to make it respectable, though some owners will definitely be wanting more.

On the other side of the BRZ spectrum, the previous owner of this 2022 model year decided to improve upon the car’s handling capabilities and driver ergonomics. Granted, the 2022 is vastly improved over the 2017 cousin, but it’s still the same formula that allows for maximum enjoyment on and off the track!

With upgraded coilovers, suspension linkages, super sticky tires, and lighter wheels, the toss-ability factor of the ’22 BRZ has been ratcheted up. The previous owner made sure not to touch the car’s engine, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Grab a Miata if you want, but the extra room is useful for friends (or track tools and spare tires/parts).

Nevertheless, while we appreciate everything Porsche, we celebrate the cars that bring it back to basics. Sure a Boxster or Cayman can do the trick, but would you really trust a beginner to not scuff up a Porsche on their first outing?