Here's a video that features my car. I'm the red car in front of the red #8 car at the start. I'm starting 2nd and the camera car is 4th. If you make it past 15:00 or so, the red car in position 5 makes an appearance running with the orange car that starts first. Orange car is fast, but was making sure some problems he was having were good before coming up to speed.
It took the camera car a few laps to get his legs, but he started to open it up about halfway in. Well, sort of. His car was faster than the others, but he just wasn't using it. He held a reasonably good line around the track, but had poor throttle management.
The biggest comment I have for this guy is that "if you're not hard on the brakes, you should be hard on the throttle!!". He had a habit of having the clutch pulled in before the corner, but still had his right foot on the throttle enough to tickle the throttle with the clutch pulled in. Why would he do this? This wasn't a downshift. He was tickling the throttle before he moved his foot to the brake!
You should never be able to hear a downshift. It should only happen during braking, and only to prepare the car for going back to hard throttle.
He definitely held back on the first few laps to film his father and I (his father is in #8). His car is definitely more powerful than the others. He's a 1.8l prepped for SM, the 3 red cars are 1.6l prepped for SSM. I think the orange car is a SSM also, but I don't remember and don't know the guy.
I partially agree with your throttle assessments. His braking isn't his strong suit. In his defense, that is a funky track. It is severely crowned for drainage all the way around and doesn't have the nicest/smoothest pavement. Also, there are at least two braking zones where there is a small rise followed by a small drop before entry. Need to get most of the braking done during the rise as there is little grip over the crest and down into the entry. The wide angle camera really hides that.
He also had a habit of holding his up-shift on the straights. It was like he was hesitant to go into top gear. It doesn't matter whether you hit the next gear for 1-second before jamming on the brakes, you still go to that gear.
This track and stock Miata gearing don't get along well. If you do shift at the end of a couple of the short straights that put you right near red line you will lose a half a car length. Miatas rev up around 7500RPM. Best bet on a straight is to shift a little lower than that as power starts to drop off over 6700 or so, but the shift itself isn't worth it for the few seconds you're falling off the power band.
It took him a while to realize that he could hammer it through the high-bank concrete turn, but even then he was lifting quite a bit. You have to lift a little entering it because it isn't a smooth transition, but once in the bank, that's where it is a blast to totally hammer it and feel the G's push you into the seat.
The carousel is nasty. We all pretty much launch into it near the speed we'll go around it, no smooth transitions there we're catching air. But, it's bumpy and will spit you out if you try to go full throttle through it. About 2/3 of the way around it smooths out and you can hammer it and get launched out.
He also had a habit of braking into the hairpin too late and overshooting the apex. He was still braking by the time he got to the outside line. A little bit more of that and he'd be in the grass.
Actually not a bad line through that turn. It reminds me of a motocross when you get a bunch of cars going into it. Some going deep, others tight, and all coming out about the same. It's super tight with crazy off camber and the exit is the inside of the track onto the really long straight that follows. Both left's that follow are full throttle if you setup the hairpin correctly, so it's really about the exit speed. The lines that bigger cars, like vettes, have to take through there is almost comical watching on video. There's just not much room to get the car fully turned and wind up pinned to the inside of the track on exit so you don't have to lift on little bend. I don't go quite as deep in as I rotate the car more under brakes, but his way works.
His car appeared to be pretty fast with the way he could easily overtake several of them on that one corner at different times. (Appeared to be his favorite corner.) He could actually be pretty good with a little better throttle management.
I agree, a little more experience and he's going to be quite quick. He has no fear and has improved quickly.