For the 2009 SEMA Show Mazda is playing it low key, but that doesn’t mean the two vehicles on display are any less cool. Sure there aren’t LCD screens galore, nor is there any 600-hp twin-turbo V8 under the hood, but Mazda’s two modified 3 models are clean and performance oriented – just the way enthusiasts like them.
Both cars get a Crystal White Pearl paint job with some faded gray graphics, reminiscent of the style first shown on the Mazda 787B that won Le Mans in 1991. Many of the remaining exterior details get black paint, including the grille inserts, side mirrors, fog lamp bezels and the roof. The front headlamps also get a black treatment. Then both cars have been outfitted with a set of 19×8-inch forged aluminum wheels straight off the RX-8 with a set of 225/40/19 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires.
The Mazda3s with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder was then shipped over to Mazda’s World Challenge racing partner Tri-Point, which installed the company’s turbo kit to boost power to 250-h thanks to a Garrett GT2871R turbo.
The front brakes have been upgraded to those of the MazdaSpeed3, with rear brakes coming from the Mazda5. Suspension duties were outsourced to KW, with a Tri-Point rear stabilizer bar.
With the MazdaSpeed3 already finely tuned from the factory, only an AEM air intake was added for a gain of 20-hp. Along with the same exterior changes and wheels, a KW suspension was also added but with new suspension mounts for camber adjustability. The brakes were also upgraded to Stoptech units – the same used on the World Challenge cars.
We’ll be sure to track these cars down at the SEMA Show and bring you more photos.
GALLERY: Custom Mazda3s and MazdaSpeed3 for SEMA
Official release after the jump:
With the launch of the all-new 2010 MAZDA3 and MAZDASPEED3, a small team of designers and engineers at Mazda R&D in Irvine, Calif., decided to celebrate with a pair of special projects, debuting for the first time at the 2009 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
Figuring out how to commemorate the completion of the MAZDA3 was easy. Mazda’s line of exciting, fun-to-drive cars are born from the passion of the people who design them, so starting with a MAZDASPEED3 and a 2.5-liter MAZDA3s the team took its knowledge of the Mazda parts bin and its close relationships with MAZDASPEED Motorsports suppliers, looked in the mirror, and decided to build a pair of tuner cars that show its own vision of the MAZDA3.
Both cars are painted to mimic the new MAZDA3 World Challenge race car, but in a more subdued Crystal White Pearl base coat with soft gray tone graphics. The scheme is a modern twist on the famous Renown graphics used on the Mazda 787B that won Le Mans in 1991.
Exterior details, including grille inserts, side mirrors, fog lamp bezels, the roof panel, and the formerly chrome interior of the front lamps are all given a bright black paint treatment. Combined with tinted windows, and dark red taillight lenses, the dark details tighten the car visually, emphasizing the MAZDA3’s taught, muscular shape much like a tailored black suit on an athlete.
Both cars roll on 19×8-inch wheels with 225/40-19 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires straight off the RX-8 R3. The wheels are forged aluminum, giving them strength with exceptional light weight.
The sedan was sent to Tri-Point Engineering for a boost in power. Between World Challenge races, Tri-Point installed their turbo kit, utilizing a rugged cast iron turbo manifold feeding a high-efficiency Garrett GT2871R ball bearing turbo. At a mild 10 psi of boost, the 2.5-liter MZR engine is making well over 250 horsepower at the wheels (final tuning is still being finished).
To handle this extra power, the front brakes were replaced with rotors and calipers from a MAZDASPEED3, while the rear rotors and calipers were sourced from a MAZDA5. Double-adjustable coil-overs from KW Suspension, paired with a Tri-Point adjustable rear stabilizer bar bring the handling back into harmony with the engine’s higher output.
The MAZDASPEED3, already capable of 155 mph, was already nearly fast enough. An AEM cold-air intake bumps output about 20 horsepower, but otherwise, the powertrain remains untouched. Suspension is again KW coil-overs, but this time with modified top mounts on the front struts to increase camber and provide additional cornering grip. Four-piston Stoptech calipers and floating two-piece rotors nearly identical to those on the World Challenge car are used, since the car’s original brakes were transplanted to the 4-Door.
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in the United States in 2010, Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.