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Inside Mazda

How the Mazda Miata Keeps This 66-Year-Old Driver Young at Heart

Celebrating 30 Years of the MX-5 Miata begins with celebrating our fans and their stories. We asked owners and enthusiasts from around the country to submit their MX-5 stories to celebrate the debut of the 30th Anniversary MX-5 Miata at the Chicago Auto Show.

At 66 years old, Kaitlyn Lydell isn’t your typical race car driver. With more than 20 years of experience with the MX-5 Miata, serving as president of the Bay Area Miata Club and tracking her MX-5 for the last decade, she’s at the track more than 30 days a year and couldn’t be happier.

It all started in 1999 when Kaitlyn was in the market for a new car to replace her Nissan 300ZX. Although she hadn’t driven an MX-5 in nearly a decade, she just had a feeling it would be the right choice. Kaitlyn went from dealer to dealer on the hunt for the MX-5 that was just right for her. She was determined to get her hands on one.

“I kept going until I found one,” Kaitlyn said. “It was a 1996. I didn't even need to drive it to know that I wanted it. I was completely hooked.”

Kaitlyn has owned several MX-5s since purchasing the 1996, however didn’t know about her local Miata Club until seeing a sticker on the window of a new MX-5 she bought.

“I noticed it had a Bay Area Miata Association sticker on the window,” Kaitlyn explained. “To make a long story short, I joined and ended up taking over the club. Soon thereafter, I launched and hosted driving events and tech days. Through these activities, I started learning and seeing what a thrilling thing the Miata Club could be.”

In 2007, Kaitlyn was once again on the hunt for an MX-5 that would last her a long time--one she really wanted to keep. After finding “the one” – a 2002 Titanium Grey Metallic SE and driving it for nearly a year, she took herself and the car out to the track.


“I was 55 years old at the time,” Kaitlyn explained. “I'd never even been on a racetrack. I had no idea what to expect. But I knew I liked to drive fast.”

After stepping down as president of the Bay Area Miata Association, Kaitlyn started running a Miata driving group. In 2013, she bought a second Miata- a friend’s 1991 MX-5 that was in pristine condition and it became her daily driver.

“It had very low miles and was supercharged,” Kaitlyn said. “It was beautiful.” In addition to driving the 1991, the 2002 was turned into a track car. “She's got 209,000 miles,” she added. “I flog that car at the track. It just runs.”

“I have been doing 30 to 35 track days a year. I'm having the time of my life. I never would have imagined this.” Along the way, the friends I’ve made in the Miata community are priceless.

From the way the car handles to its beautiful, timeless design, there are many things that Kaitlyn loves about her MX-5s. Ultimately though, it comes down to the car’s spirit and lively driving dynamics.

“The car is made for driving,” Kaitlyn explained. “It's freedom.”