How To Achieve 400 WHP In Your Mazdaspeed

Today I want to share with you a simple blog on just one way of taking your Mazdaspeed to 400WHP. After checking out this blog, If you would like more in-depth information on some of these parts, I thoroughly suggest picking up a copy of our Ultimate Mazda Performance Guide. This simple read is packed full of information on modifying 2004+ NA and Mazdaspeed models. It’s also a great place to start for folks who are new to aftermarket performance parts and the modification game.

Let’s Get Started

The MZR DISI engine in the Mazdaspeed platform has been around for just over 10 years now. CorkSport along with the community of racers, shops, and enthusiasts alike have learned quite a bit about these engines. We have learned what they like and what they don’t. How they react to certain mods, how to maintain them, and also some of their weak points. We also learned how to take this platform well over 400 WHP.

We recently hit 684 whp with the CST6 — Check it out here.

Among the many things we have learned, we have developed a great understanding of what is needed to get these engines to make power. More specifically, with the right set of bolt-on parts and tuning one can easily and safely make 400WHP on a stock bottom end of your MS3 or MS6. The torque will just need to be kept under control.

It’s not a secret or rocket science on how to achieve this power level in a Mazdaspeed3 or Mazdaspeed6, and it is very much doable.

Stock Red Mazdaspeed3
Stock Mazdaspeed3

Disclaimer:

There are certainly many variables that can come into play when trying to achieve 400WHP safely, such as the health of your engine, quality of engine tune, octane rating of fuel, engine management software and more. This is by no means an all-inclusive guide and the only way of making this level of power. However, this is a tried and tested method of making high power safely and reliably. We come from years of experience doing it ourselves and helping the community with their Mazdas as well. We have spent years and years developing this platform and continue to do so on a daily basis. What I aim to do is educate you on how you can make the most out of your MZR engine.

Necessary Upgrades To Make 400WHP

Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, there are two modifications that are a must before going down the 400whp quest. Those are high-pressure fuel pump internals and a tuning solution such as those provided by COBB or VersaTuner. These parts do not inherently increase hp and tq levels, but they are 100% necessary to give you most out of your hard part modifications and do so with safe and reliable power. A high-quality tune is worth every penny, and when paired with things such as an intake or exhaust, you can capitalize even more so your parts and net more horsepower.

Understanding the DISI MZR 2.3T

The DISI MZR 2.3T is not much different than any other gasoline direct injected engine that you would find on any modern automobile. Here is how it operates:

  • Air goes into your Mazdaspeed.
  • Air is combined with the correct ratio of fuel.
  • The air/fuel mixture gets compressed.
  • A spark event occurs that ignites a controlled burn.
  • This event forces the piston downwards.
  • Exhaust gases then leave the Mazda.
  • The cycle repeats.

So in an oversimplified matter, that is all an internal combustion engine is – a glorified air pump with more bells and whistles. One of the best ways to make a really effective air pump is to optimize the movement of air into and out of the cylinders. For that reason, it’s best to start at the front and back of our car to help give it a little breathing room.

Intake & Exhaust

Mazdaspeed 3 Power Series 3.5

Mazdaspeed3 Power Series 3.5″ Intake

It’s no secret that an intake and exhaust system are among the most popular first upgrades for any vehicle, and it’s for a good reason. Letting air in and out of the engine as easily as we can is a great first step to create more power. Doing this will free up restrictions with the manufacturer parts, especially on a factory turbocharged vehicle. OEM parts are by and large designed with emissions regulations and pricing priorities, rather than performance.

Upgrading your Mazdaspeed to a 3” or 3.5” intake and pairing it with a turbo-back exhaust will create the airflow efficiency that we need to reach 400 WHP. We’re able to do this by increasing the exhaust pipe diameter and either eliminating our catalytic converter or replacing it with a high-flow race cat. By increasing the efficiency of airflow from entry through the exit, the engine is effectively working less to produce the same amount of power.

By adding an intake and exhaust to your Mazdaspeed, you can net an easy 50+ whp when paired with the proper tune. As you continue down the modification road, you’ll find that this is the most effective dollars spent to horsepower ratio. Now that we are able to take more of the power stroke, we can focus on getting more power to the wheels, rather than letting it be consumed by byproducts such as waste heat, noise, and vibration.

Mazdaspeed3 Exhaust Setup
Mazdaspeed3 Exhaust Setup

Intercooler & Turbo

Another great way to make more power with your Mazdaspeed, and to get closer to 400whp, is to increase the level of boost pressure running through the engine. OEM boost levels are around the 14-15 PSI. But once we have our intake and exhaust installed on our Mazdaspeed, our tuning solution can allow us to start increasing that level into the 19-21 range.

A natural byproduct of increasing the pressure within the system is a corresponding rise in air temperature. To be able to make the most of the increased boost levels, it’s important to keep the temperature at a lower level. To do this, you’ll want to upgrade to a larger top mount intercooler (TMIC), or even go a step further and upgrade to a large front mount intercooler (FMIC) core.

The intercoolers primary function is to act as a heat exchanger, and we know that heat is the #1 roadblock for any engine to make more power. The more efficiently we can remove heat from the system, the more power we can create safely and reliably. We should also note that the stock TMIC in the Mazdaspeed platform is a terrible bottleneck in the system so this will free up extra flow.

Mazdaspeed Front Mount Intercooler
Mazdaspeed Front Mount Intercooler

Now that we have a good way of getting air into, out of, and keeping it cool at the same time, we want to increase the total volume. An easy way to do this is by upgrading the turbocharger in your Mazdaspeed. This is an easy process that replaces your factory k04 and creates the potential to throw down some serious power. When you reach this point in your build, you open up options on how to proceed:

  1. Make the same power on less boost
  2. Make more power on the same boost
  3. Make way more power on WAY more boost!!!

If we are shooting for 400whp, then we generally like to choose door #3.

CST4 Turbo
CST4

Side note: We highly suggest / possibly need a 3.5 bar MAP sensor and an electronic boost control solenoid (or EBCS). Once we start to increase our boost pressures north of 21psi, the OEM electronics begin to lose resolution and can negatively affect our tuning if not addressed.

By upgrading our MAP sensor we are allowing the powertrain control module (PCM) to recognize and look up higher boost targets than those equipped from the OEM unit. With this upgrade, the computer can now accurately record and look up these values. We also upgrade our electronic boost control solenoid (EBCS) to allow more fine-tuning of our maps and boost targets. An OEM EBCS just won’t allow us as fine of control of our boost pressure, which can result in some headaches as we approach higher horsepower levels.

The Finishing Touches To Reach 400 WHP

With the above combination of mods and proper tuning on a healthy engine, a medium frame turbo on pump gas can get you into the 330-340whp range. If we go another step further, we will open up more ‘breathing’ mods such as the intake manifold, taller lift camshafts, or a larger throttle body. This will stretch us into the 350-360 whp range.

That being said without the help of e85 or aux fueling we can’t go any closer to our 400whp mark. We simply hit the limits of the Mazdaspeed factory fuel system and need to look into upgrading that system as well.

Making the switch over to e85 allows us to get in the 380 range, but we soon run out of fuel injector headroom in the Mazdaspeed at this point and max out our injector duty cycle. We then have to look at aux fueling (Meth or Port Injection) as a solution to get us to our 400whp mark safely. What’s unfortunate is that at this point we are also looking at upgrading our hard parts such as our in-tank fuel pump to keep up with demand if you plan to run PI. There are quite a few options for AUX fueling which are beyond the scope of this blog.

Now, as mentioned this is not the only way of making these power levels, but it could be said that it is one of the easiest and most popular. It’s important to remember that along the way we supplement the engine with other supporting mods to ensure we are safe and can make full use of our power. Things like lower heat range spark plugs and a stage 2 rear engine mount can go a long way.

Thanks for following along and feel free to leave us a comment if you have any questions or want some more specific information on a product.

Featured Car of the Month – Tony’s 2011 Speed3

Mazdaspeed 3’s are a rarity in Mexico. Only 500 are imported a year, so when Tony decided to buy his 2011 Mazdaspeed 3, it took three months for the car to arrive.

Tony has been a car fanatic since he was very young. He learned to drive at the age of eight with a set of pillows and coke cans so he could reach the pedals and at age 12, this Mexico native started driving his first 1947 Ford F1.

Tony drove German cars for the better part of his life and even raced amateur and DE in TX in a 2005 911GT3, but when he decided to get a new car in 2010, he looked at some of the vehicles that were not available in the US like the Puget 307 and the Alfa, but at the end of the day it came down to two cars, the Speed3 and the Focus RS. What swayed him to the Speed3? After a lot of research and decided he wanted a car that had a good performance support from companies like CorkSport!

When his car finally arrived in Mexico, he got straight work on his mod’s. He started by adding a CorkSport Stage II Power Series Short Ram Intake and CorkSport Airbox, CorkSport DISI Silicone Boost Tubes and Silicone Bypass Valve Hose, and a Forge stock location recirculation valve. He also added a large top mount intercooler and downpipe along with upgrading his fuel pump.

He upgraded his lighting with the CorkSport LED DRL kit, LED Interior Light Kit, and LED Underhood Light Kit and adjusted the drivetrain with a short shifter and engine mounts.

To improve handling Tony added a CorkSport Mazdaspeed 3 Front Sway Bar and Front Tower bar, a CorkSport Adjustable Rear Sway Bar and CorkSport Lowering Springs. To compliment his TSW wheels, he added CorkSport Lightweight Lug Nuts.

“After the suspension was done on the car, the change was so dramatic that it felt like it handled as well as the GT3” said Tony, “The first time I tested it out on the open road in Mexico, I blew by a couple of AMG 6.3’s and M3’s. The look on the the owners faces in my rear view mirror was priceless!”

Tony has no projects for the speed 3 planned until he moves back to the states, but as far as we are concerned, CorkSport is well represented in Mexico when Tony is around!

Gwynne

PRESS RELEASE: CorkSport Power Series Front Mount Intercooler Kit For the 2010-2013 MazdaSpeed 3

Mazdaspeed-3-FMIC

Due to the popularity of our Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC) Kit for the MazdaSpeed 6 and first generation MazdaSpeed 3, we are proud to release the kit for the 2010+ MazdaSpeed 3. This kit will bolt on with no bumper modifications needed and increase boost levels while decreasing intake temperature. The kit also takes advantage of the hood scoop by mounting the intake under the stock intercooler shroud, leaving a stock look and maximizing airflow.

Features:
The CorkSport FMIC Kit features an aluminum core intercooler (24 x 6 x 3.5 in) with custom cast end tanks. Flowing into and out of the intercooler is 2.25” aluminum mandrel bent piping with bead rolled ends. These are connected via silicone couplers (your choice of black, red, or blue) and stainless steel T-bolt clamps. The kit includes everything needed for installation including our uniquely designed ram-air box. The ram-air box counts to the factory intercooler location to utilize the stock plastic cover and hood scoop to maximize airflow to the engine.

The CorkSport FMIC Kit can be ordered for use with the stock, HKS, or Greddy Blow-off Valve flanges. The kit can also be custom powdercoated to match your engine bay, or give it a totally custom look.

Testing:
Our FMIC Kit has been developed and tested specifically for the 2010+ MazdaSpeed 3. It has been tested in all types of conditions including hot and cold, rain and snow, freeway driving, and stop and go traffic. The kit decreases pressure drop by about 2.5 psi over the stock intercooler (down to 3 from 5.5 psi). The FMIC kit also offers an icrease in thermal efficiency of roughly 20% over the stock intercooler (up to 86% from 66%)*. On top of all of this, the core flows 30% more air than the stock intercooler. All of these features add up to a kit that was designed and optimized for the 2010-2011 Mazdaspeed 3.

Available Now:
The CorkSport Front Mount Intercooler Kit for the 2010+ MazdaSpeed 3 ships with all the hardware needed for installation and is available now via our website or CorkSport Customer Service (360-260-2675). Full color step by step installation instructions and telephone support are also included with your purchase.