Mazdaspeed once offered an optional steering wheel mounted lap timer where you could conveniently time your laps without moving your hands too far from the steering wheel.
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Around the late ’90s, Mazdaspeed, Mazda’s tuning arm much like Mugen, TRD, and SVT, had an accessory catalog where you could order go-fast bits for your Mazdas. In the “Steering wheel & time trap” section was a clever piece of timing equipment that mounted to the optional D-cut steering wheels of the time. With large start/stop buttons mounted close to where you’d hold your hands while driving, drivers hot-lapping on the weekend in their Miata/RX-7/MX-6 etc. could hit the start lap button and record lap times as they crossed the start/finish line.
Check out a gallery of images including a shot of the Mazdaspeed accessory catalog below.
Also, if you’re looking for an English translation of the instructions, I’ve copied and linked it over here.
Priced at 12,800 yen or around $120, it’s admittedly a pricey bit of kit for what amounts to a Casio-like watch on a steering wheel. For 1998 technology, it also isn’t particularly groundbreaking. Someone could theoretically fab up their own steering wheel mounted watch for much less.
But that’s not what people are paying for, I guess. The timer is elegantly designed and a solid unit at that. The aforementioned large lap timer buttons do make it easier to start timing a lap without having to search for a tiny timer button, and the added color helps. Also, since you have to physically screw it into the steering wheel, it isn’t exactly going to fly off if you’re chucking it around a corner at speed.
Realistically, I reckon not many people actually bought these since they were so expensive. And those that bought them probably hoarded a handful. On the rare chance someone did mount them on their steering wheel, they probably didn’t actually hot-lap consistently.
Nowadays, if you have a data plan, you can mount your phone on your dash and there are apps that will time you via GPS, with no input from yourself, so these are all but obsolete.
They still are a pretty neat accessory and go for around as much as they cost when they came out, around $100 a pop.
If you come across one and can get a deal, I say pull the trigger on one. It’s a great showpiece you can bring out to car meets, track days and the like, and it’s real-deal Mazdaspeed.
What do you think of this Mazdaspeed time trap lap timer? Do you have one of these yourself? If so, are they useful? Let me know in the comments below.