New “Mazdaspeed” Finally Coming Down the Pipeline

In case you haven’t heard, Mazda officially announced on November 15th that they are bringing the turbocharged 2.5L CX-9 engine to the Mazda 6.

Now, this announcement did not come with a huge amount of information, but it got everyone here at CorkSport all sorts of stirred up. This fantastic news comes coupled with a new facelift, better quality interior, and a few extra options. Check out the teaser shot down below, in my opinion the CX-5 grill looks great on the 6.

While we do not know if this new turbocharged Mazda 6 will carry the Mazdaspeed badge, we do know it will sure feel like a Mazdaspeed.

The SkyActiv-G 2.5T produces 250hp and 310lb-ft while on premium fuel. That power and torque are more than enough to move around the big CX-9 so it will definitely be interesting in the Mazda 6 that weighs almost 1000lbs less. Two more factors remain for the new 6 to truly be a Mazdaspeed6: manual transmission and AWD.

Since the CX-9 and Mazda6 are based on the same platform and have similar chassis, carrying over the AWD system with the engine is a distinct possibility. Plus, Mazda already offers the 6 in AWD in the European and Japanese Markets. The big question remaining then is the manual transmission. While the manual mode on the CX-9 automatic is nice, it is just not the same as a full-bore manual gearbox. It’s not looking too good as the CX-9 only comes in auto and the teaser images just show an automatic but hopefully Mazda can surprise us with a manual transmission.

Since this 2.5T has been in the CX-9 for a few years now we at CorkSport have had a few opportunities to check out the engine, see how it’s packaged, and look for potential performance gains.

What follows are simply observations that we have made, don’t get too excited (yet):

  • The turbo inlet pipe gets quite small on its route from the airbox to the turbo. Enlarging this would definitely help the turbo breathe better.
  • The exhaust is fairly restrictive at about 2 3/8”.
  • There is a good amount of space where the turbo lives for a high-flow downpipe and even turbo upgrades.

Additionally, this engine was designed to fit in the same compartment as the naturally aspirated 2.5L so we may even get some Mazda 3 love down the road if the SkyActiv-X doesn’t steal every engine bay.

This new Mazda 6 may be coming sooner than you expect.

All Mazda models have gotten a 2018 model year, except the Mazda 6 which is currently at 2017.5 and the Miata that’s stuck all the way back in 2017. Hopefully this means the 2018 model year Mazda 6 has the turbo option. Maybe Mazda is even planning a 2018 Miata update but only time will tell.

Look for more info on the new “Mazdaspeed” 6 during its full unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show on November 29th. We’re just as excited as all of you and to be honest, if a manual option gets announced, one will likely find its way into the garage. Stay tuned to the CorkSport Blog, Instagram, and Facebook to make sure you don’t miss anything!

CorkSport BIG Turbo

Good day boosted enthusiast!

We wanted to take some time to give you all a quick update on one of the many projects we have brewing up here at CorkSport Headquarters.

The project I’m referencing, in general, is our 2nd turbocharger upgrade for the Mazdaspeed 3, Mazdaspeed 6 and CX-7. This unit is a substantial upgrade over our current 18G turbocharger. This Turbo will cater to those looking to take their performance and power goals to a higher level.

Not only will it be capable of putting you well into the 465whp range but this CorkSport Turbo upgrade will be able to do it without giving up on reliability and throttle response.  

It will be very beneficial to those who have mildly-built blocks and a supporting fuel system that will allow them to get higher in the HP range.

So, let’s talk about some of the features you can expect on the upgrade and why we decided to utilize them.

 

 

Let’s start at the heart of the Turbocharger.

The new CorkSport turbo will take full use of a GTX3076R center housing and rotating assembly (CHRA). The unit is equipped with a fully sealed ball bearing cartridge, which is a nice upgrade when compared to a standard journal bearing unit. We chose to go with a ball bearing unit for a few reasons.

  1. The enclosed design of a ball bearing system allows us to eliminate the need for a thrust bearing, which can account for about 40% of the bearing system drag on the turbos rotor assembly.
  2. Ball bearings reduce the viscous drag, which allows a ball bearing unit the ability to spool up about 15% faster than its journal bearing equivalent.

The next thing you will notice on the new Mazdaspeed Turbocharger upgrade is the holes that are drilled into the compressor cover. These little holes are known as anti-surge ports and are intended to expand the turbochargers compressor map. The ports function to move the surge line further left on the compressor map which gives the Mazdaspeed turbo some more headroom before it falls out of its efficiency island. Anti-surge ports are becoming increasingly more popular in modern performance turbochargers and with great reason. They offer some unique benefits as mentioned and will be fully integrated into our unit.

 

Last but not least, as with our CorkSport Turbo, this bigger Mazdaspeed Turbo will once-again be a true drop-in unit; minus the 4” compressor inlet.

There will be no cutting, modifying, sourcing oil and coolant lines, running to the store to buy couplers, etc. This unit will come with everything you need to have a trouble-free install. As with the current CorkSport 18G turbocharger, the new Garrett-based design will come with all studs, gaskets, washers, and knowledge that you need to have a nice weekend install.

So keep your eyes peeled as we get closer to delivering more performance for the Mazda community!

– The CorkSport Team

 

SOURCES: Miller, Jay K. Turbo: Real World High-Performance Turbocharger Systems. CarTech, 2008.

 

Luke’s Build: My Mazdaspeed 3 Journey

Hello CorkSport family!

I have been thinking about how much my Mazdaspeed3 has gone through in the past couple weeks; I figured I would allow all of my CS crew to enjoy the look back on my journey with me!

2009 Mazdaspeed 3 GT.  Mods include:

Built engine CorkSport Mazdaspeed intake manifold CorkSport short shifter
Turbo back exhaust CorkSport MAP sensor Cobb AccessPort
CorkSport prototype big turbo CorkSport EBCS CorkSport adjustable strut/shock/ spring combo
CorkSport heat shields CorkSport FMIC Drag bags
CorkSport 3.5” intake AEM methanol injection kit Purple Drank Tuned on 92 pump and 92/methanol

I have always had a love for cars, due to my dad always owning some sort of sporty car throughout my childhood. My love of cars started because my dad would let me control the steering wheel in our BMW 318i while cruising on the freeway. That continued as I got older, and as my dad bought faster cars, and of course as I was allowed to start learning to drive.

My very first boosted car was a 2003 Mini Cooper S.

The Mini Cooper S in that year came standard with a 1.6 liter, inline four cylinders, with a supercharger on roughly ten pounds of boost stock. As soon as I bought the car, I was instantly hooked, and had a need and desire for more power. In the time that I owned the Mini, I was able to do a few modifications to it, including: 15% reduction pulley on the supercharger, cold air intake, upgraded top mount intercooler, and a catback exhaust. Those modifications bumped the boost up to about 15psi. For what the car was, it was pretty quick. I owned the car for about three years, and along the way, the car started to have small issues here and there, and eventually, it was time to part ways with the Mini.

When I went looking for my next car, I test drove a 2005 Subaru WRX. Let’s just say that I didn’t know what was best for me at the time.  

I took the WRX home to let the girlfriend see it, and instantly got a “HELL NO!”  The interior was too basic, and the mileage was pretty high for the price the dealership was asking. I took the car back the next morning and looked around some more.

All of sudden there she was, my Mazdaspeed.

The car showed up overnight, and as soon as I saw it, I had to drive it. I called the girlfriend, and instantly got a NO NO NO.  I told her this car was different, and that I thought she would like this one. Took the Mazdaspeed3 home, grabbed the girlfriend, took her for a test drive and got the approval (I know I sound a little whipped here… but, I knew it was going to be more than just a car, so having her approval meant it would be easier in the future when I asked for more). I signed the paperwork, and took the car home. When I acquired the Mazda, it was pretty much stock.  It had a short ram intake, and a downpipe installed, other than that it was mine to build and enjoy.

Fast forward about six months, and I had decide to buy a Cobb AccessPort after reading all of the forums. I did that to make sure I could monitor certain things like knock and fuel pressure. Two essential things to keep an eye on. While I was reading the forums, I noticed that people kept bringing up making sure you had your fuel pump internals upgraded. I had no idea if mine had been done. The only thing I knew was my fuel pressure never dropped below 1600psi under wide open throttle. Bought the internals, and sure enough, I had stock ones in there still.  After that happened, the modding bug took full effect.  Soon enough, the car was fully bolted running e85 for all of the timings. Tuned by Purple Drank, the car went 12.8 @ 110mph in the 1320. I was impressed with the stock turbo at this point and considered my car to be “fast.”  Little did I realize there was much more to be had.

I landed the job at CorkSport, and as you can imagine, the car almost instantly got a turbo upgrade.

I kept running the stock block but decided to no longer run e85, and just run pump and methanol.  Using the additional fueling, the car made 400whp and 400wtq.  My tuner even warned me that I was dancing with the devil at this point.  I cared, but not as much as someone else because I secretly wanted a built engine anyways. Took the car to the track one night, and sure enough, on the last run, the car blew a quarter size hole in piston 3. I knew I had a chance of ring land failure, and it failed hard!  I guess that meant it was time for a built engine right?

So it was,  I decided to rebuild the engine with forged Manley goodness. I had beat the crap out of my MS3 so why not?  

I put the car back together towards the end of 2016, slapped the CorkSport turbo on and started the break in/ tuning process. Once the engine was fully broken in, it was time to turn up the boost.  Ryan Martin, at Purple Drank Tuning, was excited to give me more power than I had ever had before. The car was making 25psi of boost at 3500rpm, and on the top end, the car was making right around 420whp.  Impressive turbo, considering it’s not the biggest snail, but on a built engine it sure packs a wallop.

As more time went by, the more my coworker Brett kept saying that I needed to be way faster than him if I was going to have a built engine.  I should have just ignored him, but I caved in to the peer pressure and bought a used Gt3582r!

I should have just stuck with the CorkSport turbo; only a couple months later, this turbo decided to destroy its oil seals and turn my car into a diesel truck. 

So what am I currently running you may ask??  

The new CS prototype turbo may be a thing of our future, but for now it’s keeping me going.  Some of you may have seen its development posted in places on Facebook, for some of you this might be the first time.  Check out this beauty though!  Still in testing phases, but results are looking good!  The current plan is to finish the pump gas tune, and then turn on the meth and see what the turbo will do.

I have owned my Mazdaspeed3 for a little over four years.

When I first bought the Mazda, I thought it was the fastest car ever.  Now I look back on those days and think how slow the car actually was. I have put back-breaking hard work into making my car as fast as it is today.  It really just goes to show you that hard work and dedication allows you to reach your goals with your car.  

For all of the Mazda Enthusiasts out there, it doesn’t matter where you are with your build, just stick with it.

At some point, you will reach the goal you have been working towards (or find that you have new goals once those are reached). I know this because I have done it!  If anyone reading this ever has any questions, feel free to contact me at CorkSport!  Until next time!

Cheers,

Luke  

Kill The Nannies

Nannies. One thing we have discovered while racing our Mazda 3 is that the OEM safety systems in the newest generation of Mazda 3 work well, too well in fact for racing.

Each year, new safety features are added by Mazda which make the cars safer and reduces the risk of collisions. This is great for day to day driving and commuting, but it presents a problem if you plan to take your car to the track to race it.

The OEM system in the car really frowns on lifting a rear tire off the ground, or when you get wheel spin accelerating out of a slow speed corner. They design the cars against these things happening for safety purposes (understandably). However, Mazda does give you a button on your dash to turn off the traction control. This gets us racers around the limitations to a certain degree.

Let me explain:

When you disengage traction control, the system which measures yaw/pitch and ensures your car has all the wheels on the ground is actually still working, even with the button off. What the button does essentially is give you a sort of leash with more leeway, until the computer thinks you have gone too far of course, then it will kick in traction control again.

So, how do we get past these nanny systems so we can push our cars for maximum performance?

Can you simply unplug the computer which controls the this? I wish it were that simple, but you cannot. The systems in the car are all tied to each other, and the car may not start, it may not run safely, or it may run in a limp mode. A good example of this in our 2015 Mazda3 is: if you unplug the rear view mirror the car won’t start. The ABS is also controlled by the same unit, and this is very handy to have on the track.  The ABS is very good in the Mazda3 by the way, so I recommend you keep it.

The solution we’ve come up with at CorkSport is pretty simple: Leave the computer plugged in and turn it over.

That’s it, simple, nothing else is required. What happens when you turn the computer upside down is the computer loses its physical reference point, so it defaults by turning off the stability control and nannies, but most-importantly, the ABS still functions.

A big word of caution: The computer which controls the nannies also runs the airbags. If you race your car on the track, the airbags will have been removed from your car already. DO NOT drive your airbag-equipped car with the module flipped over.

The reason this solution works for the track is that our Mazda 3 race car has additional safety equipment installed, with the 6-point harness and halo seat, along with the rest of the driver’s safety gear, that keep you from injury in the event of any wrecks.

FYI: When using this “hack”, your Mazda 3 dashboard will light up like a Christmas tree from all of the warnings; but that is a small price to pay for the improved performance while racing.

–Derrick

DISCLAIMER: This modification is for racing purposes ONLY. Doing so will render many of your car’s safety systems ineffective. Installing other safety systems after this modification is essential.

 

FACEOFF: 2018 Mazda 3 Touring vs 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

As a car guy, I can appreciate any newly-released automobile despite my individual taste and opinions. I believe every car has its own style, character, and soul, and should be given a chance to win you over.

With that being said, let’s compare the style, character, and soul of two different cars that have found a way into my life this year and see how they measure up against each other.

In one corner of the ring, we have a 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport trim, equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. In the other corner I have a 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback Touring trim, equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

I realize these two cars don’t provide a perfect “apples-to-apples” comparison, but I think the differences will make for an interesting comparison, so let’s roll with it.

Exterior Overview:

Walking up to the Civic Hatchback Sport gives me a rush of being a teenager with a new car, as if I was 17 and my dad just gave me the keys to his coveted R34 GTR (maybe that’s pushing it, but you get the idea).

There’s an overwhelming urge to jump in and fast-track the chiseled 4-door to the nearest curvy canyon back road; not to return till the E light brings me back to my senses.  

The hard lines, pronounced fenders, and smooth roofline from hood to end of the hatch tell you that the civic hatchback is here to party, but then there’s more.  Bump it up to the Sport Trim to add a little attitude with the piano black finishes, grill, hatch spoiler, and matching front/rear lips and side skirts.

Now that I’ve had my teenage fun, it’s time to throw on the button-up and head into town for an eventful evening… with the Mazda 3.

The Mazda3 gives me a different feeling than the Civic: the more refined and sophisticated appreciation of being a car guy. I walk up to the Mazda 3 Hatchback smiling; wondering which German exotic I’ll be mistaken for today and knowing that I can enjoy cruising the strip just as much as the autocross course at the local track.

The body lines of the Mazda 3 emphasize the beauty of simplicity: long defining curves, with just a bit of a sharp edge, follow the natural shape of the hatchback from front to rear. The curves tie-in with the front and rear fenders, headlights, and the hood line providing a fluid motion style.

The 3rd Gen Mazda 3 Hatchback does not immediately scream “speed”, but it does whisper “sweet nothings” in your ear. What more could you ask for? However, if you are looking for a little more of an aggressive look, then opt-in for the piano black lip and side skirt kit available from Mazda.

Interior Overview:

Now that we have made it past the sleek curves of the Mazda3, let’s take a seat inside to get a little more up-close and personal.

The first impression of the Mazda3 Touring Model interior is great, to say the least. Strapping in, the black leather seat is plush and supportive with functional but conservative side bolstering. The brushed nickel style accents are purposeful and not overwhelming in the steering wheel, dash, doors, and center console, with the all-black interior broken up with tasteful chocolate/maroon leather in the door panels and center console. Lastly, the beautifully simple exterior curves are brought into the cabin from the door panels and up through the dash. If there wasn’t a large chrome “M” on the steering wheel, I might begin to mistake the Mazda 3 for a more exotic automobile.

Back to the Honda Civic and its more aggressive visual language.

That same language carries into the interior, but in a less-refined manner than the Mazda 3 provides. The Civic’s interior is full of sharp edges, much like the body, and some touches of brushed nickel and carbon fiber print to give it a sporty feel. The seats follow a more functional style with the sports-inspired cloth material, carbon print inlay, and conservative side bolstering. They do the job in creating a sporty look, but leave something to be desired in terms of higher-end quality.

Power:

Both platforms have two engine options, both of which are a naturally-aspirated 2.0L 4-cylinder, producing around 155 hp each. Lucky for me, neither the Honda Civic nor the Mazda 3 have those lowly-base model engines.

The Honda Civic Hatchback Sport comes equipped, standard, with the turbocharged 1.5L 4-cyl, putting down an impressive 180 hp and 177 lb-ft, according to Honda. Most inspiring of all is the spirited 1.5’s ability to produce the torque from a meager 2000 rpm and carry it to 5000 rpm before beginning to fall off. Pair this with the slick 6-speed manual gearbox, and a curb weight of just 2868 lb, and you have a very fun daily driver.

Jumping back in the Mazda 3 Hatchback, we have the 2.5L Sky-Activ G 4-cylinder laying down 184 hp and 185 lb-ft, according to Mazda. The naturally-aspirated 2.5 provides alert throttle response and power that continues to build through the RPM range. The peppy feel of the hatchback could be improved a bit if you opted for the 6-speed manual transmission, unfortunately the automatic takes away from the responsiveness a bit. With similar power, the Mazda Hatchback comes in with a curb weight of 3098 lb for the AT, and 3046 lb for the MT.

Looking at the dynographs, you may notice an issue:

Honda’s claimed crank horsepower and torque match our measured wheel horsepower and torque. Did Honda sandbag their numbers? I can neither confirm nor deny, but we are not the only ones to see this in testing. The Mazda 3 dynograph shows a more typical drop in power and torque to the wheels, as the drivetrain does have some parasitic losses that rob power.

Honda vs Mazda Dynograph  |  Red = HondaGreen = Mazda

Handling:

Enough about the style and looks, let’s dive into how do these automobiles drive.

Looking at the chassis and suspension, both the Civic and Mazda3 have a 106.3 in wheelbase, 18 in alloy wheels, MacPherson struts up front and multi-link suspension for the rear. Other than the curb weight, we have two very similar vehicles. However, we really start to see differences in the driving experience.  

Tossing the Hatchback Sport around corners feels almost effortless; the 5-door is nimble on its feet and eager to respond to every input. The steering is light, bordering on almost numb feeling, but does not show any sign of wandering with inputs. The chassis likes to move around, whether diving into a corner or with body roll through a corner. Despite the moving body, the Civic is predictable and confidence-inspiring. It wants you to rip around low-speed corners with a smile on your face.

Daily driving the Hatchback Sport is also a pleasurable experience; the suspension is not too harsh, perhaps more on the soft side, providing an easy and no-jarring cruise along the interstate. Looking at the lineup Honda has for the Civic this makes sense. The Sport Hatchback stays under the “sport” level of the Civic SI, and if you really want a canyon and track toy, you opt for the Civic Type-R. I do have one major complaint about this model: the clutch engagement is really… disappointing. Tighten this up, and provide a bit more feedback and you can have a real winner.  

Now, how does the Mazda 3 hatch stack up against the Honda?

Driving the Mazda 3 again inspires confidence with it’s tidy and playful response to steering inputs, however the steering feels a bit heavier than that of the Civic. The steering provides a bit more feedback and a desired amount of effort; it reminds you that you are driving a full size car instead of a go-kart. The Mazda3 really comes alive through the corners, and you begin to understand why the ride quality has just a bit of stiffness for a daily commuter. The “3” dives into corners with great steadiness, then plants and pulls through the apex. However, the extra 230 lb can be felt, as the car just feels like it’s trying to move more weight around vs the Civic.

For the daily routine, the Mazda 3 hatchback is a joy to drive through the city or on road trips. The slightly-stiff suspension reminds you that the Mazda is willing at any moment to kick it down a gear and have fun, but is still refined enough to sit back and relax. The only criticism I can really comment on is that it feels like the Mazda 3 is really trying to be a “jack of all trades”, unlike the Civic Hatchback Sport.  Perhaps, if Mazda brought back the Mazdaspeed or equivalent to the lineup, they would be able to offer more specific performance setups for customers to truly choose what they want, leaving the base Mazda 3 to be a little softer.

Coming back to my earlier sentiment: every car has a style, character, and soul that should be given a chance to be appreciated by any gearhead. Both the Honda Civic and the Mazda 3 have loads of each and love to show it.

When faced with the decision to choose between the two, it’s a difficult choice.

I’m a performance-oriented car guy and I love the fact that the Honda now has a turbo engine in the line-up, so that’s a huge selling factor for me, as well as the boy-racer in me who jumps to put pedal-to-floor every time I look at it. The Mazda 3 Hatch reminds me that I could have my cake and eat most of it too.  The exterior is still edgy enough to keep me hooked as a speed-fiend, and the interior is just great, far above what you would expect at the $20k to $23k price point.

Pricing: Honda = $21300  |  Mazda = $21890

SPECIFICATIONS
  2017 Honda Civic
Hatchback Sport
2018 Mazda 3
Hatchback Touring
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
POWERTRAIN:
Engine Type: turbocharged & intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block & head, direct fuel injection naturally aspirated DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block & head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 91 cu-in, 1497 cc 151 cu-in, 2488 cc
Manufacturer Claimed Power: 180 hp @ 5500 rpm 184 hp @ 5400 rpm
Manufacturer Claimed Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm 185 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm
Chassis-Dyno Recorded Power: 180 hp @ 5750 rpm 160 hp @ 5900 rpm
Chassis-Dyno Recorded Torque: 180 lb-ft @ 3100 rpm 175 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
CHASSIS:
Transmission Type: manual, 6-speed automatic, 6-speed w/manual shift & sport mode
First Gear: 3.643 3.552
Fourth Gear: 1.024 1.000
Final Drive Ratio: 4.105 3.389
CHASSIS:
Wheelbase: 106.3 in 106.3 in
Curb Weight: 2871 lbs 3100 lbs
Front Suspension: MacPherson strut
w/stabilizer bar
MacPherson strut
w/stabilizer bar
Rear Suspension: multilink
w/stabilizer bar
multilink
w/stabilizer bar
Steering Ratio: 10.93:1 14:1
Brakes F/R: 11.1 in / 10.2 in 11.61 in / 10.43 in
EPA-ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY:
Fuel Type: Regular Unleaded Regular Unleaded
City: 30 25
Highway: 39 34

To make a long story short, you can accomplish many of the same goals with both candidates, but in two very different ways.

So, whether it’s the brand, the trim, or the balance of style and performance, ask yourself: which one speaks to you?

Let us know in the comments!

-Barett, CorkSport Engineering