In order to take full advantage of the aftermarket fanboys trolling around SEMA, Mazda released more than a few examples of the paths tuners could take when modifying its MX-5 roadster, Mazda2, and Mazda3 models.
The Mazda2s seen here are designed with two different goals in mind: looking slick on the street, or tearing it up at the track.
The Mazda2 Street keeps it simple by getting lowered on a set of 15x9s and adding some lower-body graphics, while the Mazda2 Evil Track gets the same rims, more aggressive vinyl, and enough safety/racing gear to meet NASA and SCCA standards. The "Evil Track" also wears a Mazda Design body kit and rides on H&R coilovers.
Next are two Mazda3s, a Turbo 4-door and the "Redline Time Attack". The Redline model is said to put down over 500 horsepower through 18-inch Volk wheels thanks to a fully built 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The sedan, however, keeps the output more modest. Instead, the turbo'd four-door gets a power bump to "well over 250 horsepower", a sporty black-out treatment, front brakes from a Mazdaspeed3 (rears from a Mazda5), and 19-inch RX-8 R3 wheels. The sedan also sits on a KW coilover setup and gets a new rear sway bar.
The Grand-Am GT RX-8, as you can see, is a race car. Built by SpeedSource and Riley Technologies, it has a tube frame skeleton, a 3-rotor 20B Mazda racing engine, and has been doing well in the Grand-Am GT series by taking six of twelve races.
Last are the two MX-5s. The MX-5 Cup, targeted at racers, has been put on a diet and gotten a little juiced; it now weighs under 2,600 lbs and its engine puts out 195 horses. For more on the Cup, scroll on down for the specs.
The other MX-5 is an anniversary model called the Super20 in celebration of the car's 20th American anniversary. The hardtop Super20 gets its fenders expanded around the 16-inch Enkeis, a stripped-down interior with roll-bar and suede (those two go hand-in-hand), and a supercharged Cosworth mill. Other mods include an improved brake system (lines, rotors, pads, ducts) and performance-oriented suspension tuning (hollow sway bars, shock tower brace, Mazdaspeed coilovers).
Mazda North America design director says, "The versatility of Mazda vehicles is extraordinary. With just minor modifications to a stock Mazda, it can be ready for the track or a car show. Our SEMA cars demonstrate this ability; taking a vehicle from the dealership and making it a truly unique piece."
Clearly Mazda knows how to do the small sporty thing; now, if they can be as successful moving upscale as they have been with cheap, fun racing, there are more than a few companies out there that should be concerned.
By Phil Alex
MX-5 Cup Car
Engine Modifications: A MAZDASPEED cold air intake system is required.
Chassis Modifications: The only modification is the addition of the 3-piece front strut tower brace that comes with the sport package.
Transmission/Final Drive Modifications: The stock six-speed gearbox is used by all cars.
Suspension/Steering Modifications: The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development MX-5 Cup kit is comprised of double adjustable shocks, specified springs and threaded-perch coil-overs. All cars also run identical anti-roll bars and end links.
Brake System Modifications: Brakes must maintain stock brake rotor specifications.
Wheels: All cars run their choice of the stock alloy 17x7" wheels available on MX-5 Miatas.
Tires: The series spec tire is the BFGoodrich g-Force R1, size: 225/45/17.
Body Modifications: None
Safety Modifications: All MX-5 Cup cars run with full safety equipment, including an eight-point rollcage that must be welded into the car. Other safety equipment includes a racing seat, head/neck restraint, an electrical shut-off switch and an incorporated fire-extinguishing system.