25 hours of Thunderhill

25 hours of 69

For many people across the USA, the days after Thanksgiving means one thing. To them, it’s the start of the Christmas season. The beginning of holiday shopping, pumpkin spice lattes, and the best home cooked meals you can’t wait to dive into.

However, for a small select few group of individuals and teams, it’s a time for something completely different. It’s a time to see what you are made of, a time to put it all out on the table. A time where you know if the past year of planning, testing, and preparation are about to reward you greatly or tear you down completely. It’s the time where you hope to be able to stand up on a Sunday at noon and can say proudly “I survived the 25.”

For those lucky few (some call them crazy or stupid) the weekend after the Thanksgiving Holiday is what you might call a different type of holiday.

For the past 15 years, the 1st weekend of December is when some of the worlds best pro and amateur drivers descend upon a small city in Northern California known as Willows. Just on the outskirts of this quaint little city lies a little well-known road course titled merely “Thunderhill.” Now what makes Thunderhill so unique, well it’s probably the fact that this venue host the longest and most extreme endurance race in all of North America. For 25 hours straight; teams, coaches, drivers, and fans endure the rain, cold, dark, lack of sleep and more to try and make a name for themselves, and this year CorkSport did just that. Made History…

 

 

While attending the 25 Hours of Thunderhill is nothing new for CorkSport as we have spent the past several years supporting Mazda North America and their racing efforts with logistics, crew, and parts. This year was the first year where we entered a new team ourselves and brought our car, crew, trailer, and everything else you need to try and survive 25 hours of racing.

Sadly MNAO did not attend this year so it was up to us to make sure that the brand and name would make a forceful showing at the event and that is precisely what we did.

 

 

To start this whole thing off, we brought out our 2016 Mazda 3 GT. You guys are more than familiar with this car as Co-owner, and founder of CS Derrick Ambrose has been piloting this ride for two race seasons now in SCCA racing. We spent several weeks leading up to the event preparing the CorkSport Mazda3 for this daunting task.

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We got extra safety equipment installed, upgraded our data acquisition package, optimized and engine tune for the  2.5L engine, and even installed some upgrade prototype pieces to have the car suited for the race.

Some of the CS goodies that were on the car during the run where our SRI, Cat-back exhaust, RMM, sway bar, and some prototype pieces like our aluminum skid tray and upgraded transmission engine mount. We needed the best parts we could get in there if we wanted to be competitive and make history.

No one has ever raced the 3rd generation Mazda 3 for this long in any endurance race. This car started off just like any other Mazda 3 and still retained a full OEM chassis, transmission, and engine. The engine internals where untouched and the transmission received a CorkSport LSD.

 

The team showed up on a brisk and cold Thursday morning, and we went to work. We immediately set up and got the drivers briefed. We got some practice in on Thursday followed with some qualifying on Friday all to be prepared to push this car to the limit for 25 hours. The team grabbed the pole position, and we were 1.5 seconds ahead of the next car which was fantastic. It showed we had the pace and ultimately the faster car. Fast forward to Saturday, and the flag drops green.

We had a great start and excellent drivers in the car. We struggled a bit through the night with consuming tires at a rate faster than we had anticipated and also had a few issues with how quickly we could get fuel into the car, despite the problems the team and the car pushed through the night. With just a brake change and tweak to the exhaust through the night, we maintained a good pace that ultimately got unwound due to the fuel issue mentioned above.
There was a Miata in our class that could get better fuel economy and tire consumption and slowly crawled there way up to lead during the night.

As the sunlight begins to break through, we are in a healthy 2nd place but a bit far off the leader, however, it does not worry us too much as we still have a shot at a win. Things were looking good till right about hour 22. One of our driver’s radio’s in and let us know he lost 4th gear (that’s not good). None the less we keep pushing knowing we have a spare transmission should we need to swap.

 

Now at hour 23 we get another message. “I lost 2nd gear” The transmission has now lost two gears, and we get a bit nervous. The car is still going and driving strong but our lap times do suffer from not being able to use all of the gears. After a quick powwow with the team, the decision is made to leave the car out on track and finish the race between 3rd and 5th gear.

With only 2.5 hours to go swapping out the transmission did not make sense as we were very secured in 2nd place. So we did just that and pushed on through, and you know what happened? We did it. While we didn’t get the P1 spot like we had wanted we did what no other SKYACTIV-G Mazda3 had done before.

We survived the 25. We proved the chassis and the platform, we pushed harder, longer, and further than absolutely anyone else has. The car was relatively unscathed, and minus the transmission, the vehicle performed excellently. All of the CorkSport parts did precisely what they needed to and outperformed all expectations.

We took the 3rd gen platform and solidified it as a competitive car and chassis that can be used and used well at all levels of motorsports.

So, what happens next?

The Mazda 3 made it back home and now lay dormant inside of HQ. We will be spending the next few weeks going through a ton of data and running through the car with a fine tooth comb.

We’ll take the transmission apart and see what her demise was. We’ll likely strip the SKYACTIV 2.5L down as well to check out what two years of racing looks like on her. The oil is already out of the car and on its way to the lab so be sure to stick around and see what we find out there.

Now one of the great things about this is what our success brings to the community. Everything we learned here can and will be applied to all of our parts and products moving forward. When we win, you guys all win. So, celebrate our accolades with us and wish us luck as we begin to prepare for the 2018 race season.

 

Do we tackle the 25 hours again next year? Do we show up with a turbocharger and more aero? And do we fight our ways to a P1 finish? You better believe I am going to try.

 

-Vincent  

CorkSport Power Series Catback Exhaust

Mazda Catback Exhaust Installed

The Mazda 6 guys and gals have waited long enough! CorkSport is proud to announce the Power Series Cat-back Exhaust for 2014+ Mazda 6 models.

Mazda 6 Catback Exhaust Muffler

There are two types of Mazda 6 owners in the community: a person with a CorkSport Axle-back and the person that sadly still has the OE exhaust. Well sit back, grab a beer, and I’ll explain why that needs to change!

First, the cat-back exhaust sounds great! Watch the video below and compare the axle-back and cat-back exhausts. While they both sound awesome, you can tell the cat-back brings a whole new level of greatness. It’s not especially louder than the axle-back, but it provides a deeper rumble to the exhaust note throughout the RPM range. Best of all there isn’t a significant increase in cabin drone, so you can still enjoy your long cruises to the beach with friends.

Second, the cat-back exhaust looks great! Starting from the exhaust manifold, you have a thick, laser-cut flange that bolts right to the OE exhaust manifold. Following that is the machined O2 sensor bung that is precision-TIG welded. Next up are some multi-point hangers to get your exhaust in place with a large packing-filled resonator that helps manage the cabin drone we talked about earlier. Continue along those gorgeous lines of the Mazda 6, and you find yourself at the axle-back section. Here you will find two packing-filled resonators and two double-wall tips that only extenuate the curves of the Mazda 6.

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the most exciting aspect of the CorkSport Power Series Cat-back Exhaust. It makes power! That’s right ladies and gentlemen: More power could be yours if you improve your exhaust style and sound.

For an otherwise 100 percent stock car with no additional tuning, the improvements are impressive. I think the real turning point is the unsightly squashed section of the mid-pipe. Check it out below.

Mazda 6 OEM stock exhaust

Yeah, that looks awful. Now let’s see the numbers. Check out this dynograph to see some other impressive curves. The Mazda 6 performs a whole lot better with the addition of the cat-back.

Mazda 6 Performance Dynograph

If that doesn’t convince you that the change is worth it, nothing will! Although, have I mentioned that the CorkSport Power Series Cat-back Exhaust is manufactured and CNC-formed from 60.5mm T-304 stainless steel pipe? It’ll look great for years to come.

Ready to install your Mazda 6 Cat-back Exhaust? Once you do, share a video or photo with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages. Have fun out there!

-Barett @ CS

Everyone Loves the 2016 Mazda MX-5

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 has driven its way into the hearts and lead feet of car aficionados everywhere. The Atlanta Business Journal says this bad boy “squarely hits the nail on the head,” and Motor Trend couldn’t get enough of it.

Our reaction? Roughly summed up, it looks something like this:

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We love it, and we want you to love it too. So we’re going to share what this little number’s got going on under and above the hood, and let you know about the ace aftermarket parts we’ve got for you to make it even better.

Continue reading “Everyone Loves the 2016 Mazda MX-5”

Everything A Noob Should Know About The Catback Exhaust

How to choose the perfect catback exhaust.

There you are, sitting behind the computer screen trying to decide which type of catback exhaust you want to purchase. It’s a stressful time considering you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible quality exhaust system.

So, what are some key factors that come into play when trying to make a decision? Is it the diameter of the exhaust that persuades you? How about the type of steel used? Do you care about perfect fitment? These are all things to consider when making a decision on an exhaust.

Here at CorkSport, we make it our number one priority to meet the expectations of our customers. Whether you drive a Mazdaspeed 3 or a regular Mazda 3, we’ve made sure to engineer a perfect fitting exhaust that maximizes engine performance.

Take the Mazdaspeed 3 for example: When you purchase a CorkSport Catback Exhaust, you’re getting T304 stainless steel piping that has been polished to a mirror-like finish.

Everything you need to know about upgrading to a catback exhaust.

You’re also getting true 80mm piping, which is slightly bigger than three inches, making our exhaust one of the biggest bolt on catback systems.

What to consider when choosing an upgraded exhaust system.

Fitment is also a big concern to us. We make sure our exhaust systems are mandrel bent and TIG welded to make a perfect bolt on fitment.

Now that you know our exhaust is 80mm piping, polished to perfection, and made to be a direct fitment, you can bet this exhaust will increase performance and sound. By installing our catback exhaust, you’re removing the secondary unmonitored catalyst making the exhaust flow much faster out of the motor. By increasing velocity of exhaust gases out of the motor, you increase power and make your turbo spool up a little bit faster.

Among the power gains you’ll see from installing the CorkSport Catback Exhaust, you’ll also have a car with a deep growl to it. Our exhaust has one of the best sounding tones on the market. With a quality made exhaust, comes quality sound.

When you’re ready for a catback exhaust, make sure to check out what CorkSport has to offer to ensure you get the highest quality parts.

Luke McCarvel-01

CorkSport September Featured Car of the Month: Brandon Graser

Brandon-CorkSport-Car-Of-September-Mazdaspeed-Mazda

Brandon found himself looking for a new car, and in the price range that he had at the time, he test drove quite a few. He was hooked on the fact that the Speed 3 was the “best bang for your buck and the most fun to drive”. He enjoyed the overall look, style, a feel of the car; “this one” was the one to get.

CorkSport-Mazdaspeed-3-Eyelid-Headlight-Cover

Every car he had ever modded started with an intake and since “CorkSport was right here in town, just a couple miles away” it seemed like the most realistic option for him to check out what we had to offer. He can’t quite recall whether or not he purchased the CORKSPORT Stage II Power Series Short Ram Intake for Mazdaspeed 3 by itself or if he walked away with a lot more that day after talking with Austin. (Our records show he definitely did: CORKSPORT 2010+ Mazdaspeed 3 Cat Back Exhaust, CORKSPORT Urethane Exhaust Hangers, CORKSPORT Mazdaspeed 3 Downpipe).

CorkSport-Featured-Car-Of-The-Month-Brandon-MS3-Engine-Bay

He does know that he definitely went on a binge and found himself at CorkSport quite often. Of course, he found himself working on his car even more. CORKSPORT Underhood LED Light KitCorkSport-Featured-Car-Of-The-Month-Brandon-MS3-Underhood-LED-Kit

He’s never been to a show, nor has he entered a contest, so let’s just say he’s batting 1000 at this point, after winning the CorkSport Featured Car of the Month with his extensive submission and CS plastered Mod list.

Brandon’s list of Mod’s:

CorkSport Stage II SRI w/CorkSport  turbo inlet pipe
CorkSport  catted downpipe
CorkSport  catback exhaust
CorkSport Urethane Exhaust Hangers
CorkSport  short throw plate/weight
CorkSport shifter bushings
CorkSport  mudflaps
CorkSport  big brake kit w/ STOPTECH crossdrilled/slotted rotors
CorkSport  rear brake pads and stainless steel rear lines w/ STOPTECH crossdrilled/slotted rotors
CorkSport  front mount intercooler
CorkSport  race rear motor mount
CorkSport  front eyelids
CorkSport  LED underhood light
MAZDA OEM J-Spec Mazdaspeed Axela Tail Lights
Synapse Engineering Diverter Valve
Cobb AccessPort
Redline Tuning hood strut lift kit
Kuda Mount w/ hardlined Iphone 5 Proclip charger

And of course, a handful of CorkSport vinyl stickers!

CorkSport-Featured-Car-Of-The-Month-Brandon-MS3-Speed3-CorkSport-Sticker

AMO, (Awesome Mazda the Original) as his one of his lady friends has christened it, is something that he’s pretty proud of. “I’ve done most of the work myself with the help of some friends, and all of it with very little previous DIY experience.”

CorkSport-Featured-Car-Of-The-Month-Brandon-MS3-Speed3

When asked what his “favorite” mod was thus far, he said, “The most significant difference in the car is how it sounds now, after the cat-back exhaust and the downpipe were put in.” CORKSPORT 2010+ Mazdaspeed 3 Cat Back Exhaust, CORKSPORT Mazdaspeed 3 Downpipe.

Next on the list for upgrades will be some lowering springs or coil overs. “The car pretty much looks stock at this point. You can’t tell how much work has really been put into it, because I’ve left the styling alone except for the eyelids and array of stickers of course. It’s a “NEED” to make it look better, and the improved handling will just be a plus.” CORKSPORT Mazdaspeed 3 Lowering Spring Set, CORKSPORT Coilover Suspension Kit Mazdaspeed 3/Mazda 3

Brandon doesn’t find himself alone in the car that often. Remo, his full breed miniature long haired dachshund, is normally right there in the shotgun seat being a perfect copilot. “He’s an old quirky little guy, but always up for a drive.” You can find Brandon and Remo around the Vancouver, WA area, headed to and from work or taking the occasional drive out to Sunset Falls. “It’s in the middle of nowhere, with zero traffic, lots of twists and turns and of course the privacy to drive a ‘bit’ faster.”

CorkSport-Featured-Car-Of-The-Month-Brandon-MS3-With-Him-Mazdspeed-3remo

Do you want to show off your Mazda? Think you have what it takes to be the next featured car of the month? Send an email with at least 3 high quality pictures and a full mods list to kim@corksport.com and you can find out!!!