Make / Model Search

Future models - Mazda - Spirit racing

Track-enhanced Mazdas have aesthetic focus

Mazda MX-5 and Mazda3 RS models debut at Tokyo Auto Salon, both production ready

18 Jan 2024

UNDER the banner of Mazda Spirit Racing, somewhat akin to MazdaSpeed, Toyota’s Gazoo Racing, Nissan’s Nismo and others, Mazda pulled the wraps of some rather tasty looking examples of the Mazda MX-5 and Mazda3 at the recent Toyko Auto Salon, a car show that specialises in modified vehicles.


The operative words here are “tasty looking”.


The display indicates Mazda still has a semblance of sporty soul in its engineering department with the cars on show rocking enhanced looks and possibly more track focused dynamics. Word from the Salon is both models will make it into production soon.


Disappointingly, no powertrain performance upgrades were announced meaning the engines and gearboxes remain stock and somewhat underwhelming when compared to other sports cars and hot hatches. Mazda seems to be happy to leave upgrades in these areas to owners.


Adding a level of excitement for Mazda rotary tragics were strong hints from the Salon of the reappearance of the rotary sports car though that could be in an unfamiliar configuration where the engine is used as an electricity generator and is not connected to the wheels.


While describing them as “hardcore” could be considered a step too far, the Salon Mazdas hold a level of appeal for enthusiast drivers, particularly the rear-wheel drive MX-5 that is now nearly a decade old and has already undergone a couple of updates including a modest power increase a few years ago.


The tricked-out Salon concepts, two MX-5s, one a soft top the other with a hardtop, and two Mazda3 hatchbacks sported RS badging and looked ready to rock and roll on the track and off the production line.


Though full details of the RS models have yet to be announced they will likely be sold under the newly minted Mazda Spirit Racing brand, a reborn version of MazdaSpeed.


As we have seen in past Mazda limited sporty editions, its intent with the RS models is likely to produce what it terms “track-focused” cars with suspension and aerodynamic enhancements that use lessons learned from the Super Taikyu Series.


In essence, it means both concepts ride on larger Rays wheels with performance Bridgestone Potenza tyres. The MX-5s are based on the recently launched ND3-series model featuring a pair of Recaro bucket seats with a racing harness and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with a red 12 o’clock mark.


The car also has a mild body kit with decals, enlarged single exhaust tip replacing the twin outlets on the standard model, Brembo brakes, and blacked out badges. Though not confirmed, the display cars seemed to have a lower ride height which would indicate suspension mods and benefit trackability by lowering the centre of gravity.


The handsome Mazda3 RS has an unusually large front splitter, enlarged side skirts, and a carbon fibre rear spoiler and  gains bigger exhaust tips and darkened badges along with Brembo brakes and what looks like a stiffer suspension judging by the lower ride height.


Recaro seats, red stitching, and Alcantara details define the otherwise standard cabin.


Although Mazda MX-5 engineers have recently announced “very cool special editions” of the model, it is unlikely to translate into a power boost based on past experience, unless someone like the late great Aussie Alan Horsley (responsible for the MX-5 SP turbo and Australian RX-7 race team manager) reappears to put a rocket under head office…

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Mazda models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here