Hello from Chicago!
A few years ago I bought a 1997 Miata to drive at track events. It was quite ugly when I bought it:
Here's what it looks like now:
I've driven many track events with it. I started out driving bone stock; massive body roll, tiny tires, and the slowest guy in the run group. Over time I've gotten to be a much better driver, and have improved the car incrementally to where it is today.
Here's the major stuff:
-Corbeau seats and 5 pt harnesses
-Hard dog roll bar
-Depowered steering rack
-Deleted soft top, antenna, radio, air bags, air conditioning.
While I'm based in Houston, TX, I took the car with me on a long term assignment in Chicago to drive the tracks of the Midwest. In the past few moths I've driven Autobahn, Gingerman, Mid-Ohio, and Road America.
Once I fix all the broken/worn stuff from the track season, I'm planning to do a full race-prep over the winter, starting with a cage from miatacage.com. I'm planning to compete in NASA TTE and perhaps later wheel to wheel in PTE or an IT class.
I have aspirations of an LSx swap at some point, with perhaps a turbo 1.8 along the way, but for now I'm just having a blast with the stock motor, harassing expensive high-horsepower cars.