In celebration of the 1990 launch of the original MX-5 BBR turbo, British tuning firm BBR has released a 20th Anniversary turbo conversion package for the Mk1 and Mk2 variants of the roadster model in both 1.6 and 1.8-liter guises, as well a more comprehensive tune for the Mk1 with additional chassis and styling mods. We'll remind you that BBR also joined forces with Cosworth to unveil a supercharger kit for the latest MX-5 Mk3, more of which you can read in our previous article here.
The starting package from BBR for the first and second generation MX-5s concentrates on the engine upgrades. Along with the Garrett GT25 Turbocharger with integral waste gate control, water cooling and ported turbine housing with ceramic coating, the kit adds an array of upgrades including a new cool air induction system and an ECU tune.
On the 1.6-liter MX-5 Mk1 and Mk2 models, output increases to a "dyno-proven" 221 bhp at 6900 rpm and 175 lb.ft of torque at 5100 rpm. For 1.8-litre engined cars, the peak power and torque output will be correspondingly higher, though BBR did not release specific numbers.
The turbo package including fitting at BBR’s Brackley based workshop is priced at £4,995 (approx. €5,960 or US$7,750), while a DIY (Do It Yourself) version of the kit is also available as an option, priced at £3,995 (€4,780 or US$6,200).
BBR's second proposal for the MX-5 focuses on the Mk1. Aside from 221bhp turbo kit, this package adds full leather seats and a paint finish in a color of the owner’s choice with prices starting at £7,500 (about €8,960 or US$11,600). Buyers can further enhance the tune with several upgrades including larger brakes, an LSD, bigger alloys and additional power upgrades.
BBR Anniversary Phase One Turbo Specification:
BBR enhanced complete Mk1 Mazda MX-5 Options:
- Garrett GT25 ball bearing Turbocharger with integral waste gate control, water cooling & ported turbine housing with ceramic coating for improved thermal management
- High temperature alloy cast exhaust manifold with ceramic coating and stainless steel heat shield
- Front mounted Air to Air Intercooler and associated pipe work, powder coated black for factory style discretion
- Competition standard hoses and fixings throughout
- Auxiliary BBR Interceptor 2010 engine management computer with 3-dimensional mapping and external manifold pressure sensor
- BBR specification larger fuel injectors
- Stainless steel separated gases exhaust down pipe
- New cool air induction system
- Modified sump
- Modified coolant and oil system piping
- Special BBR Turbo identification badges with BBR anniversary plaque
- Priced at £4995.00 fitted
- A big brake kit including larger calipers
- A limited slip differential
- A longer final drive (for relaxed motorway cruising at lower revs)
- Larger diameter alloy wheels
- Further power upgrades
From BBR Press Release: The History of the BBR Mazda MX-5 Turbo
In 1990, exactly twenty years ago, renowned tuner and BTCC entrant Brodie Brittain Racing (BBR) was approached by Japanese car importer Mazda UK to tender for a 150BHP Turbo kit to fit the new MX-5 sportscar. Initially, there was an expectation that production would run to around 200 units.
Naturally there was competition to win the tender from other UK tuners, but BBR commenced work on the most economic turbo layout for the MX-5. In addition the criteria from Mazda UK demanded that the MX-5 turbo kit was to be a dealer fitment, so it was vital that the key components were simple to install - ‘like Lego,’ recalls Dave Brodie.
After an intensive development process BBR had soon established an ideal turbocharger package and subsequently won the Mazda UK tender, which contained strict design briefs regarding power limitations. One of the biggest design issues in this process was controlling the on boost fuelling, as there was no facility for this in the original Mazda ECU. Rising to the challenge BBR developed its own piggy back ECU called Interceptor, which enabled BBR to manipulate the electronic map settings from the original Mazda ECU to optimise the engine’s fuelling and ignition parameters for the turbocharger set up.
The end result was a Mazda UK approved, dealer fit, turbocharger kit that increased the power on the MX-5’s B16P engine from 115 bhp to 150 bhp. Warmly received by the motoring press and public alike, the BBR MX-5 turbocharger kit swiftly gained a reputation for bulletproof reliability and over the next few years BBR sold more than 1200 examples of the turbo kit, without a single engine failure.
Ultimately, the BBR MX-5 turbo kit proved to be the most popular aftermarket turbo kit yet sold in Europe and arguably, the USA too. Fast forward twenty years and demand and interest in BBR enhanced Mazda MX-5’s is stronger than ever, so that’s why BBR has done it again…