There have been several unique Mazda MX-5 models over the years, but perhaps one of the more special models was the one developed by Mazda Australia.
For over thirty years, the Mazda MX-5 has been the dominant two-seater sports car, known for its excellent road-handling and driving feel, but it has not been known as the fastest of sports cars. In 2002, Mazda Australia thought it was time to explore the performance potential of the MX-5 and fulfil the dreams of its many fans by building an even more powerful version.
Allan Horsley, Mazda Australia's Motorsport manager, was asked to build an MX-5 with more power and torque, and so, the Mazda MX-5 SP was developed. He said, "From day one, our goal for the MX-5 SP was to deliver a car with a progressive, lag-free, user-friendly power and torque curve".
Based on a standard Mazda MX-5 NB model, Mazda Australia installed a water-cooled turbocharger system incorporating an intercooler to lift the car's power and torque peaks significantly. This would allow the MX-5 SP to output 33% more power and 55% more torque. This resulted in taking the benchmark from 113kW and 181Nm, all the way up to 150kW of power and a whopping 280Nm of torque. Adding additional power and torque to the MX-5 equation produced one of the quickest, most enjoyable, point to point sports cars on the road.
Only 100 examples of the MX-5 SP were ever built, and it was the first time a turbocharger had been fitted to any MX-5 sold by Mazda. The success of the MX-5 SP in Australia would inspire Mazda Japan to begin producing their own turbocharged MX-5 that would sell worldwide.