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Project Thunderbolt, The LS3 V8 Miata - Part 13: Testing, Testing, 1,2,3!

The last time you saw Project Thunderbolt, we took a close look at the finished product and then went for a mountain run to see how it drives. Since then we’ve been racking up the miles in order to break in our new Chevrolet Performance LS376/525 crate engine, while at the same time checking bolt torque specs, cutting open and examining oil filters and generally keeping a very close eye on everything.

To make the break-in process go by a little faster, I racked up hundreds of miles by checking out a bunch of car meets and shows. This included a trip through the world famous “Tail of The Dragon” in Deals Gap, North Carolina, which boasts an eye-crossing 318 curves in 11 miles. No matter the place, Thunderbolt always draws a crowd. The reaction from folks young and old is always fun to be a part of. When people hear the V8 rumble coming from a Miata, they want to see what’s going on for themselves.

During those break-in miles, Thunderbolt was subjected to a variety of harsh conditions, including hot, humid 100+ degree temps, heavy rainstorms and long periods of idling while stuck in traffic. I’m thrilled to report that the car handled all of these situations without breaking a sweat. No problems arose and everything worked perfectly. This is clearly a testament to the high quality components that we used to build this little monster.

But now I'm happy to report that break-in time is over which means it’s time for some performance tests! Be sure to check out the video to see and hear it al! After all of these tests, what have we learned? First, Thunderbolt is a real performer. All of the ingredients combine to make a very well rounded combination that isn’t finicky or require special conditions to perform well, it just does whatever you ask it to, whenever you need it. I think the best thing about this car is its split personality. It will happily tool around on date night with the wife in air conditioned comfort, but drop that hammer and things get serious in a hurry. I love driving this car and it turned out so much better than I hoped it would.

In the future I hope to do more testing, specifically to see how Thunderbolt brakes and handles. I’m hoping for excellent results in these categories too, so I’ll share that and more impressions as time goes by. Thank you for watching and reading!

Here's the video version of this update. Check it out!

Thanks for reading and watching, see ya next time!