Red Baron Speed of Newberg

My Name is Symon Powlison and this is my journey of how I got my Mazdaspeed3 and the Mazda community that became my family. 

Let’s head back in time a bit, I was a broke high school student and I had just bought a 1997 dodge avenger, while my friends had all dabbled with modifying their cars at the time, I had not, but I knew I wanted to. The avenger came with an exhaust that sounded ok and some wheels and that’s about it.

When I showed my new car to my best friend Barett (yes Corksport Barett) and talked about build aspirations that never happened, we decided that we both wanted new stereo and subs, 2007-2008 was the time for loud music and lots of bass lol, “Darude Sandstorm” anyone? 

I had a lot of fun with that car but long story short the car was towed away late in the night for having a flat tire in a parking lot. Now with little to no money and my little avenger was never to be seen again. All is not lost though because those early years with that car started me on a slow trek of building my own “Racecar” later in life it was the catalyst that started it all. 

Fast forward to the year 2012, I’m a bit more established now and I’m getting ready to deploy at the first of the year for 10 months, when my Co-Worker decides to buy a BMW 335i, I made the brash decision to follow suit and I purchased a 2004 Audi S4, my wife was needing a new car anyway so I gave her the Kia Optima I had purchased a few months back. 

Everybody was happy because I got my car and my wife got a brand new Kia! My Audi came with Tien lower springs, a nice fender roll job, and a Magna-flow exhaust. The roar of the V8 through the exhaust was great, it had quick get up and go and it looked amazing in the brilliant red paint. This was my first experience with a “quick” car and I was hooked, but with Audi’s, I had no idea how to even begin to work on it if it had problems, and neither did anybody close to me. This is when I knew this wouldn’t last but I thoroughly enjoyed it when I had it. 

Symon Powlison

During deployment, I would leave my Audi in the hands of Barett, and return to resume driving bliss with the car, until I left again except this time it would be for nearly 3 years. My wife and I left for Korea in the middle of 2014. My car was out of my possession longer than in my possession and thus while my time away I grew apart from my Audi and wanted something new, different, I wanted a hatchback. 

I always liked the way hatches look, the bodylines, the mildly flared fenders, the base stance of the hatchback drew me in. I spent countless hours looking at every model of hot hatches, tirelessly and sometimes redundantly, maybe I could afford this or maybe I should buy. I decided to call Barett from Korea and told him I was coming home and I wanted to sell the Audi and get something I truly desired. 

He mentioned getting a Mazdaspeed3, I had seen some videos about them but I was rather set on an all-wheel-drive hatch to drive in the snow, but that was dumb because I hate driving in the snow lol. I decided to give the Speed a deep dive look and man I was impressed, not to mention I had an endless resource if I needed any help. 

I was sold, the price was right, the whole car package was right, it checked all my boxes, I wanted a turbo 4cyl with good base stats, something reliable to a degree, and something that I could learn to modify and have help if anything breaks. 

I arrived home in the spring of 2017, and scoured the interwebz and found the speed of my dreams, a velocity red 2013 tech package mazdaspeed3 with 69k on the dash. With what money I had left in savings, a small income, and an Audi for a deposit. I marched down to the dealership and literally, 6 hours later I walked out of there with my dream car. 

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Funny side note here, when I took the MS3 for a test drive I was by myself, I never drove a 6-speed manual car before and didn’t know how to put the car in reverse, so here I am sitting in somebody’s driveway (huge facepalm) trying to figure out how to put the car in reverse when the homeowner comes out and asks if I need help. I tell him the story he laughs and gives me a push to send me on my way back to the dealer. 

That test drive officially sold me on the car, I can still remember the first time starting that car and the first time I hit 15psi of boost, it was amazing and probably the coolest feeling ever while driving. I couldn’t wait to show my wife, I ripped the speed all the way home, and it was nothing but smiles per gallon. I couldn’t have been happier. I am honored to have such a loving wife who was just as excited for me to have a car I desired so much. This was my very first and only turbo car I’ve ever owned and every time the car plants my back to the seat I can help but grin from ear to ear. 

I kept the car stock for a year on the dot before I started modifying it, if you’re keeping track it’s now April 2018. I purchased all the necessary supporting mods to keep it from going ZZB. I bought an Access port, HPFP Internals, intake, and pro tune and man did that little K04 come alive, a few other supporting mods like exhaust and rear sway bar brought the Mazdaspeed to a different level. 

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The Speed had no changes for another year or less (early spring 2019), finally, it was time for power mods, big turbo, big FMIC, lots of little bits like injector seals, short shifter, motor mounts, and getting a tune from Purple Drank. The car became a monster, smiles turned to white knuckles gripping the wheel from torque steer, turbo noises for days, and a singing bypass valve that subtly lets you know it’s there on any occasion. 

That kept me satisfied for another year till now, this plan is to do both manifolds, cams, and EWG. *Hurray for race car noises*. The transformation of my Speed over the last 3 years has been a rewarding experience, providing me with knowledge and experience and confidence to be able to tackle any problems or situations previously I would have avoided or paid an overpriced shop to fix.

This is the best part of the community I joined when I bought my speed, all the experiences and knowledge that has been shared with me have been nothing short of amazing and I’m truly grateful for the speed community. My wife and I don’t take a lot of vacations, but the two events that come up in the year that you can’t miss are Mazda events. 

Shop Gen 1 and Gen 2 Mazdaspeed 3

I didn’t know that I could miss Idaho as much as I would when I have to leave Papa Keith’s Mazda Takeover event in Boise after a 4-day party. The big bear puts on an amazing event yearly and when it wraps up the withdrawals of it kick in. Those pains are subsided though just two months later when we all get to catch up for CorkSport’s Dyno Day’s! The event that the CorkSport crew puts together is a blast, its high tempo 2-day event that brings our Mazda community together in the Pacific Northwest, I have seen people from British Columbia to Utah come all the way to Vancouver, WA for this event. 

These two trips are something that flows into my DNA and I can’t imagine my life without experiencing them or the people I’ve met along the way. My wife and I look forward to these weekends as I’m sure anyone who has gone to them at least once will, we love spending time with our extended Mazda family and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

In closing, to say that a car would change my life would be an understatement, but it did and I wouldn’t want it any other way, so if you see the Red Baron Speed of Newberg out and about, come up and say hi and chat for a minute. I hope to see you all at future events, keep hitting that Boost, and stay safe. See you all on the road.

  • Symon

4th GEN Mazda 3 SRI

4th Gen Mazda 3 Power

We are proud to announce our first product specifically for the 4th GEN (2019+) Mazda 3: the CorkSport Short Ram Intake. Gain horsepower, torque, and some much needed sound from your 2.5L SkyActiv-G in only about 30 short minutes. Features include an AEM dry-flow filter, a billet machined MAF housing, a custom designed reinforced silicone coupler, and stainless steel T-bolt clamps that combine to be a great and simple upgrade for your new MZ3. Read on for more details!

Increase horsepower in your 2019+ Mazda 3 with the easy to install Intake
CS Short Ram Intake

We’ll admit this intake has been a bit of a challenge since Mazda has switched to a new style of MAF sensor that is very sensitive to changing the intake. We’re happy to report that we’ve figured everything out and have had 5 cars successfully testing the intake for hundreds of miles with no issues. Now, onto the fun stuff!

Let’s jump right into the fun stuff: power! By removing the restrictive factory intake and filter, and replacing them with the CorkSport SRI, we were able to pick up 5-7WHP and 5-7WTQ when tested back to back on our dyno. This was tested within an hour or so of each other, with no tuning changes, and with the only change being the intake swap. Check out the dynograph down below! For both intakes, the only other mod on the test car was a prototype CS axle back exhaust (coming soon!). This will not affect power gain from the intake as it was installed for both tests.

Dyno proven power gains for your 4th Gen Mazda 3
CorkSport

Power is not the only benefit though. The CS short ram intake offers a great visual boost to your engine bay. You can even personalize your intake as you can select between red, blue, and black silicone and filter as well as polished or black clamps. Appearance is not even the best part-the CorkSport intake adds some much needed growl to the engine to give some more excitement when you get on the gas. It’s not obnoxious, but noticeable and definitely enjoyable.

The CorkSport Gen 4 Mazda 3 SRI installs in 30 minutes
Check our 4th Gen parts selection

To make the power and great noise, each component in the CS SRI has been optimized for performance. Starting at the filter, an AEM Dry-Flow is used for fantastic air flow capacity without compromising filtration. A non-oiled filter is used specifically to prevent issues with the MAF sensor.

Next comes the billet MAF housing. We use a precision machined MAF sensor housing to ensure the diameter of the intake near the MAF sensor is an exact match to the OEM diameter. This keeps fuel trims in check and keeps the check engine light off. A billet MAF housing has the added benefit of looking great, especially when finished off with an attractive laser etched logo.

We have 3 color options available for the 2019+ Mazda 3 intake
CorkSport Short Ram Intake

The MAF housing connects to the throttle body with a custom designed and reinforced silicone coupler. It is a perfect fit with the OEM throttle body and valve cover vent hose while the four layers of nylon braiding keep the silicone strong for years to come. This piece of silicone has the added benefit of being completely smooth on the inside versus the accordion OEM rubber piece. This helps promote flow into your engine.

Finally, all of the components are tied together with stainless steel T-bolt clamps. These clamps offer superior sealing characteristics over a traditional worm gear clamp and are not prone to stripping like a worm gear clamp.

Mazda3 Gen 4 Performance Air Intake System
CorkSport SRI

The CorkSport GEN4 Mazda 3 Short Ram Intake is finally here and it’s a great upgrade to start getting your 2019+ 3 to perform as good as it looks. Be sure to check out the product listing and video and don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions!

Mazdaspeed Cast Exhaust Manifold

Today is a huge day for the Speed community; one that has been coming for a long time with both celebration and frustration. Never the less time is up and this project is ready for the community as a whole!

We are proud to announce the Performance Exhaust Manifold for the Mazdaspeed 3 & 6! With over 2 years in development, the MPS exhaust manifold has been long waiting, but for good reason. A project of this scale does not happen overnight; many variables have to be considered, evaluated, and verified.  

I’m confident you have seen “leaked” images from our 6 Alpha and Beta testers over the recent month, but we can make it official.  

CorkSport

But with so many options currently available what makes the CorkSport option compelling? Why should you care?  

That’s a great question and one that can easily be answered with multiple great reasons. The most obvious is the design: this includes the overall shape and the type of material & manufacturing.  

Mazdaspeed Exhaust Manifold

Material & Manufacturing: In our initial investigation and vetting of this project we strongly considered two primary manufacturing methods; Casting and Tubular fabrication (check out the blog here). In a nutshell, we opted for a cast manufacturing method because it reduced the chance of failure modes, reduced the overall size and weight, and gave us more flexibility in design.  

Like most exhaust manifolds, we opted to use 304 stainless steel because it is corrosion-resistant, handles heat well, and is a common and cost-effective material.  

Check out our other Blogs

Following up is Design: The list of details that went into the design is far too long to list here, but we can cover the major items that define the CS Exhaust Mani. With investment casting, we had a lot more flexibility in design with the bend radius, diameters, and wall thickness of the individual runners. This allowed us to increase the inner diameter of the runners to 1.59 inches, achieve a 0.200-inch wall thickness, and fine-tune the path and bends of each runner to optimize runner length and flow.  

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With that flexibility in design, we were able to increase peak flow and improve flow balance per runner. Overall we were able to increase peak flow 45% over the OEM manifold and 33% over the XS Power V3.  

Next up in design, and arguably the most exciting and unique aspect, is the modular flange system.  

Mazdaspeed Exhaust Manifold

This is unlike any other manifold available for the Mazdaspeed today…you can choose your flange between OEM Stock Flange, Precision V-Band, or T3. Sure all these options are available today from other options, but none are modular. Say you pull the trigger on the OE Stock Flange today, but a year from now you want to upgrade your build to a Precision V-band flange. With any other manifold, you would have to buy another $900+ manifold to get the new flange, but with the CorkSport Exhaust Manifold, you just have to get the new flange elbow for your setup. This is MUCH MUCH cheaper and easier to change!

CorkSport

Speaking of install, compared to the typical performance exhaust manifold the CS design is cake to install. With the modular design, you are not fighting the entire bulk for the manifold and flange at the same time. You can leave you turbocharger unmoved connected to the downpipe and intake system, you just install the flange elbow after the manifold is in and bolted to the engine.  

Mazdaspeed Exhaust Manifold

Making life even easier…we opted to develop a pre-fabbed dump tube (screamer pipe) for the Tial 44mm EWG. This is an optional feature for the kit, but one we highly suggest because it’s just so damned easy. Designed for MPS 3 and MPS 6, it fits around most standard downpipes and dumps below the sub-frame right behind the drive axle. Also included with each kit is a SS heat shield that is required for the GEN1 and GEN2 Mazdaspeed 3. You Mazdaspeed 6 guys just get a cool garage ornament.  

So how does the CS exhaust manifold stack up on power? 

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First up is a fully bolted CST4 MS3 with a 6th port fuel system: Comparing the CS EM to the OEM EM, this drop-in test we found that the turbo was spooling faster, carried more mid and upper range power and held that gain through to redline. Overall it improved power under that curve which is what truly makes a car fast and fun to drive.  

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Next up is a fully bolted and built CST6 MS3 with 8th port fuel system: Just like the previous graph, we saw an improvement in spool, mid and upper rpm ranges, and carried it to redline. The difference here is the exhaust manifold we are comparing. This is showing the difference between the CS EM and the XS Power V3.  

With that being said, the CorkSport Exhaust Mani has been proven to 685whp on this same car and with the CST6. We are confident the CS exhaust manifold has far more capacity to support; if we have anything to do with that we will prove it. 

Mazdaspeed Exhaust Manifold

Lastly is sound…we’ve been asked a lot about the sound. How will it affect the sound? Will it sound like a Honda now? Will it be louder?  

We knew the sound was critical because let’s be honest…we are all car guys/gals and Mazdaspeed has a great unique sound to it. We did not want to lose that so we did our best to hit performance goals without sacrificing the Mazdaspeed grumble.  

One of our Beta testers put together a great video comparing the sound of OEM vs CorkSport. The car is a GEN1 MS3 with a built engine, full bolt-ons, CST4, and Cobb Exhaust system. Check out this video link for sound!

In our design, we kept a varied length runner design to help maintain the Mazdaspeed grumble. We believe we succeeded in keeping that classic grumble, but also refined the sound a bit. We like to describe it as exotic. Either way, the grumble lives on, and honestly, none of our beta testers can stop grinning ear to ear with every WOT pull.  

With that being said act fast! We know these are going to fly off the shelf and we are going to do our damn very best to keep them in stock for everyone, but don’t wait!

Grab yours here!

Thanks for tuning in with CorkSport Mazda Performance.  

-Barett @ CS

4th Gen Mazda 3 Sport Springs

The 2019+ 4th generation Mazda 3 is a car that certainly divided opinions when it came out. From its divisive looks to the new torsion beam suspension, even we weren’t quite sure what to make of it at first. However, we have since fallen in love with our shop 4th GEN, a big part of it is what we are releasing today: the CorkSport Performance Lowering Springs for 2019+ Mazda 3 (Sedan & Hatchback for both AWD & FWD). Give your new 3 an aggressive look that is sure to turn heads while improving the handling for those twisty backroads!

2019-2020 Mazda 3 lowering springs
Gen 4 Lowering Springs

Let’s start off with the elephant in the room: ride height. When we developed these springs, it was somewhat difficult as we had to account for different body styles, transmission options, and now even driveline options. With all things taken into account, we found the right range of ride height that looks great on the lightest, heaviest, and all options in between.

The perfect balance of lowering for the 2020 Mazda 3
Why Lowering Springs?

On the lightest GEN4: hatchback, front-wheel drive, manual trans, the CS lowering springs offer 1.5” front and 1.8” rear ride height drop. On the heaviest GEN4: sedan, all-wheel drive, auto trans, the CS lowering springs offer 1.6” front and 2.2” rear ride height drop. Depending on your vehicle’s options, you will end up at or between these extremes. Don’t worry though, your ride ends up sitting level no matter what combination of options you have. The images below show the lightest (upper) and heaviest (lower) Mazda 3.

AWD Mazda 3 low down springs
CorkSport

We also focused heavily on improving the handling with the CS GEN4 lowering springs. A lower ride height means a lower center of gravity which when combined with a stiffer spring rate, means less body roll. This improves handling feel and driver confidence when attacking a backroad. We even increased the rear spring rate more than the front to reduce understeer and help with turn-in.

All Lowering Springs

The CorkSport 2019+ MZ3 springs went through a few different iterations of spring rate and ride height before we found the best balance of ride quality, handling, and appearance. The final spring rates are 3.4K front and 5.9K rear. Compared to the OEM rates of 2.23K front, 4.20K rear, we made a decent jump in rate; however, the new springs are well within the OEM damping rates. The ride is obviously stiffer than OEM yet is not bouncy and you can still comfortably daily drive on the springs.

The perfect lowered stance for your 4th Gen Mazda3
CorkSport

During development, we even tested for the natural frequency changes in the suspension from installing lowering springs. Essentially, the natural frequency is a good way to compare how “stiff” one car feels compared to another, even if their suspensions are different (for more background info on natural frequency, check out this blog). We went from an OEM of ~1.6Hz front and rear to 1.75Hz front and 1.8Hz rear on the CS lowering springs. This increase is enough to feel “sporty” but not enough that it will ruin your drive to work.

FWD or AWD the springs work on all 2020 MZ3
Gen 4 Springs

As with all CS lowering springs, they are a direct fit install that can completely change your car in only a few hours. The only permanent modifications are trimming the OEM bump stops to account for the lower ride height. To ensure they will last as long as your car, each spring is made out of high tensile strength spring steel, which is then powder coated blue for corrosion resistance and a great look. The rear springs even include spring silencers to prevent any added noise from the lowering springs.

The CorkSport GEN4 Mazda 3 Lowering Springs have really changed our opinion on the new body style. With the right set of wheels, our CS shop car turns heads all day long and would fit right in at any car show. If you’re ready to upgrade your 3’s handling and give it an aggressive look, we are happy to help! Give us a call if you have any questions, and be sure to check out the product video on the web listing!

2019 Mazda 3 – What’s new with the suspension?

With the introduction of the 4th generation Mazda 3 there are many questions around the new chassis, engine, interior, and many other components. Here we are going to start investigating the suspension as we move through the process of developing sport lowering springs for the 4th Gen Mazda 3.

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If you didn’t know already, we recently purchased a 2019 Mazda 3 Premium with the 6 manual transmission and Snowflake white paint. Right out of the box the 2019 has impressed us with its intuitive driver feedback through the steering wheel, pedals, and gear shifter. The interior is phenomenal and the exterior is…growing on us.

BUT enough of the chatter lets throw the car on the lift and take a look at the suspension.

CorkSport

At the front of the car, we have a pretty typical McPherson strut assembly with a lower control arm. This type of suspension is very common in modern passenger cars because it is simple, durable, and cost-effective. There are tons of aftermarket support for this type of suspension because it is so common, but from a purely performance standpoint, it does leave something to be desired.

Comparing the 2019 to our inhouse 2018 3rd Gen you can see one major difference. The connection from the steering knuckle to the strut body is now a simple clamp collar vs the two-bolt connection on the 3rd gens. We imagine this was purely a cost-cutting design change. For you, the result is just a slightly more difficult installation.

View all of our Lowering Springs

At the rear of the car, things are drastically different. Instead of the more standard multi-link trailing arm suspension, we have a torsion beam style suspension. Mazda says this was “to reduce unwanted movement in the suspension and increase driver comfort”, but sadly we believe this is straight-up cost cutting at the sacrifice of performance.

Check our 3rd Gen Suspension options

We could go into a bunch of nerdy details here, but in a nutshell, going from multi-link trailing arm to torsion beam takes away our ability to adjust and control camber, toe, and rear roll stiffness because all of these major suspension dynamics are integrated (or discarded) with the torsion beam design. Never fear, the Team at CorkSport Mazda Performance is working on solutions to this, but it will be a challenge.

Now specifically looking at the rear springs, you can see that the spring is very short. This caused some difficulty in design, but we have successfully overcome this hurdle.

View all of our current lowering springs

We’ve tested the OEM springs rates and WOW are they soft. We developed prototypes to validate our target springs rates and have been driving on those for about a few months now. Happily, from this testing, we’ve found that the OE struts/dampers damping rate is more than sufficient for proper sport lowering springs. With that complete, we’ve designed multiple sets of lowering springs with various ride height targets and our tested springs rates.

Lastly, we tested various final prototypes to get our final ride height just right. Ladies and Gentlemen, these will be LOW and will work with Sedan, Hatch, AWD, and FWD!

We are excited to release final production units to the public in #twoweeks. It is important to note, CorkSport 7th Gear Members will have an opportunity to purchase these springs a week before the general release and they will receive free shipping (in the lower 48 states), as part of their membership benefits!

If you have not seen what the future holds for your 4th Gen Mazda 3, see our product pipeline blog here. If you have ideas or feedback, please let us know. We are listening, we want to hear from you!

-Barett @ CS