"Where did the transmission land?"
Virginia International Raceway is one of the many areas of refuge where the family of gearheads can take shelter. And like any good family, it has it’s crazies, one of whom decided to have a bit of a fiery meltdown at VIR’s HyperFest. As one of many aggressively-named automotive events, you can expect plenty of octane, tire smoke, and in this case, explosions, to take place. This one ended the life of a first generation Mazda MX-5 and luckily its driver and surrounding spectators survived.
You may be wondering how an MX-5 is able to spew voluptuous clouds of smoke when the first generation only came with 115 horsepower, but that roll cage, those aftermarket parts stickers, and that exhaust note should give all the clues you need to know that there is no way this Miata is stock. Under the hood is, or was, a V8 engine sending power to the rear.
The owner wanted to take full advantage of that power during the HyperFest Tire Massacre burnout contest. Credit should be given where it’s due, and the first few seconds of that burnout certainly deserve it. But things start to get suspicious when the smoke stops, clears, and reveals that the rear tires aren’t moving event though the engine is howling. We get confirmation that things have gone horribly wrong when the whole thing blows and engulfs the MX-5 in flames. That hole in the glass appears to be the result of a clutch being flung places it never should go. At least those places didn’t include a spectator’s skull. Note to all: don't catch on fire at VIR because the fire crew seems to be on the slow side.