S2000 vs ND2 Miata: Which Japanese Roadster Dominates the Track?

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These two JDM titans battle it out at Laguna Seca Speed SF Challenge. Is the S2000 drivetrain enough to take the Miata?

Which is the superior car, the S2000 or the Miata? It’s a question that can start a lot of arguments among auto enthusiasts. These two cars have a history of competition, inextricably linked by their similarities, and equally contrasted by their differences. The ND2 Miata is a spry and agile ride with the advantage of less (-400 lbs.) weight. But the S2000 has VTEC, an undeniable advantage in power: Making 240 hp to the Miata’s 181 hp. So let’s lake it to the track.

In this video by You Tuber Zygrene (aka Fenton Sun), he is on the track at Laguna Seca, the perfect arena for these gladiators. Participating in the Laguna Seca Speed SF Challenge, he is not just battling a ND2 Miata, but also his PB time from last year: 1:46.4.

Fenton Sun (@zygrene) 2002 S2000

Prior to the race, entrants get a solid 15 minutes of lap time. This helps Sun know his strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, the S2000 has one weakness right off the bat. Due to last-minute toe settings, the car is understeering.

The video is shot from the driver’s POV, and at this point the ND seems unbeatable, even going uphill. As Sun reaches Turn 9, one of his favorite corners, he can feel the tires reach peak grip. He gets an assist from the downforce, but the Miata holds a firm lead. A speck on the horizon.

Sun loses gorund at Turn 5, an area he admits has been problematic for him all day.

“I tried saying in 4th gear, but my RPMs almost fall out of VTEC.” he says.

S2000 Vs. ND2 Miata at Laguna Seca

At Turn 10 it appears as though the ND2 is losing a little ground. Sun is still coming along strong, but his grip on cornering seems looser.

Finally, Sun does what we all do in times of car-related stress: He yell-prays at the car. “C’mon! Give me one more lap! Please!”

The skies part and the automotive Gods answer by giving the VTEC a chance show it its ferocity, finally overtaking the Miata.

S2000 Vs. ND2 Miata at Laguna Seca

There a few good lessons learned.

Harness: Sun needs a harness. He notes that the stock seat belt has him at a disadvantage, making him jerk forward when braking.

Tires: The Federal tires he has are pretty greasy by the end. “Alright, my tires are gone,” he says. “They only grip about 10 minutes.” Or, about 5 laps at Laguna Seca.

Understeer/Oversteer: Sun ran into some issues here due to the last-minute front toe setting. He also explains that“The car is understeering like crazy right now. Which, I guess, makes it easier to push the car because I’m less afraid of oversteer at some of the corners.” It was necessary as the steering wheel was off center, but it ultimately cost Sun some time.

The takeaway here is it is awesome to see the S2000 beat the Miata. And this Miata is truly a hell of a competitor.

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