Barett’s 1/2 Mile Mazdaspeed 3 Build – Part 1

Hey Everyone, if you don’t know me already I’m the engineering manager at CorkSport Performance & @Halfmilespeed3.  I want to make a formal greeting and invite you to follow along as I take the next huge step with my personal build.  I drive a 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 that has been through many iterations.  I bought it nearly 6 years ago and have since used it in excess to support CorkSport R&D.  Hundreds if not thousands of passes on the dyno with so many parts…it’s been a beaten test mule.  The time has come to set a focus.

2007-2009 Mazdaspeed 3 Crashbar

Now, with the 4th engine going in it, I’m setting the build focus for ½ Mile Drag Racing.  Power, Aero, and some “Mad Scientist” R&D is going into this build.  (see WTF is THAT)

Mad Scientist Add-ons
600hp Mazdaspeed Build Path – CorkSport Barett’s 2009 Mazdaspeed

My goals are 700whp on the CST6 stock flange (with Will @ PD Tuning giving it the sauce) and 180mph in the standing ½ mile.  I plan to play in the 1320, but half mile is the focus.  My first event was going to be Never Lift @ Coalinga Munical Airport in Late March, but with recent events, this was canceled and a new date has not been set.  Fingers crossed the country gets through this and the next events hosted by Shift S3ctor Airstrip Attack in June and November hold.

Back to the build…I know that pushing a Mazdaspeed through the air at 180mph is a lofty goal and that physics are against me.  With the help and advice of Aaron O’neal @ English Racing I am exploring high-speed aero design. 

Gen 1 Mazdaspeed Parts

The primary goal is stability at high speed.  I want to be safe in this type of racing so I need to do what I can to make the car stable and predictable at speed.  This means I need the car to cut through the air as smoothly as possible, and if possible, generate downforce. 

To do this I’ve made a prototype drag wing (which I will share more detail on in a later blog) per the advice of Aaron and my research.  This wing is two feet long at the top! And with the closed sides, this should reduce the amount of lift generated at the back of the car.

There is still a lot more work to do here but you get the idea so far.

Splitter Mount

Upfront I am still very much in the conceptual phase of design.  Nearly the whole front bumper will be sealed off with a single sheet of ABS plastic formed to the front of the car.  The only opening will be a rectangle about the size of the intercooler for cooling airflow.  I also plan to build a chassis mounted splitter.  The red parts in the image above are the one-off brackets I designed to mount the splitter to the chassis and still be able to adjust the height (Again I’ll share more detail in future blogs as the prototype comes together).


The other less intuitive aero bit I’m doing on the front of the Speed is hood venting.  Thanks to Jonathan Castro @ JC Speedworks for the hood vent I’m able to kill two birds with one stone here.  If you’ve done any type of racing you know heat is a killer and must be managed.  With this hood vent, I am both evacuating any high-pressure air build up in the engine bay and promoting more efficient airflow through the intercooler and radiator. 

With the 300 miles I’ve put on the car, I can already see a huge difference in normal operating temps.  Maybe more vents are in the works? 😉 Oh and shout out to @mz_rawr (Aaron Maves) for cutting holes in my hood.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed 3 Transmission Mount Blog

In the process of getting the engine and transmission together, I wanted to fix a 2nd gear drop out issue I had.  Over a weekend @thatonepnwguy (Bryce Peterson) and I split my transmission and replaced the shift forks.  We certainly did it the wrong way and had to chase some balls around and get them back into their respective locations; despite all that, don’t be afraid to tear into things and learn the hard way. 

How To Achieve 400 WHP In Your Mazdaspeed Blog

The powerplant made it in the car and is running great.  Right now I’ve got about 300 miles on the engine.  I’ve been working out some little details with heat management and setup of the Vacuum Pump (WTF is THAT).  I am just now starting to do logs and tuning with Will Dawson at Purple Drank Tuning.  With these goals, I still intend to keep the car street legal and driven on a nearly daily basis (I wish you could see the stares I get from people).  I’m putting this out to all of you as an invite to follow along with the build on Instagram @halfmilespeed3.  All the inside info and goodies are there for you to see along with @corksport for other stories and build updates.  I’m stoked for this season and to explore a racing series that has largely been untouched by the Mazdaspeed community.  I will be finding limits and new challenges for the platform that I hope to overcome.

Customer Collaboration – Adjustable Short Shifter & Shifter Bushings

If I were to make a list of OEM parts that I dislike, in the number one spot would be the shifter. I hate feeling like I am stirring a large pot of soup when I am putting my car into gear. Any auto enthusiast wants a solid shift when they are driving.

Mazdaspeed 3 short shifter, Billet CNC goodness in the form of a Mazdaspeed 3 short shifter

When I was given the opportunity to test out the Corksport short throw shifter, I was so excited. Not only was I testing for a high quality company, but I was finally able to get rid of the sloppiness from my OEM shifter. The install went smooth, it was the first time I have installed a short shifter on my own, but it was a piece of cake with the step by step instructions that came with it.

CorkSport Adjustable Short Shifter

Once it was installed my car felt so much different. The shift felt smoother, and much more solid than the stock shifter my car had in it. Not only am I able to adjust the length of the throw but I can adjust the height, which comes in handy since every driver is different and will have a different on throw and height.

With the short throw shifter alone it took 85-90% of the slip from my shifter, but there was still that slight movement when I pushed the shifter into gear, especially when shifting aggressively. Being as picky as I am it did frustrate me – so when Rich contacted me to see if I wanted to test out some shifter bushings my eyes lit up like the fourth of July. Of course I said yes, and the install took all of 15 minutes. The bushings took the remaining movement out of the shifter and I am SO happy with the quality of the parts that Corksport sent me.


I am honestly happy that I received the short shifter prior to receiving the shifter bushings instead of installing them together. Now I know what part changes what movement in the shifter. I can definitely say that pairing these two products together in your car is in your best interest and that each part does have a dramatic change. These products are well worth their money and I would recommend them to any car fiend that is looking for a more responsive and solid feeling shift.



Don’t have an adjustable shifter yet? Check them out:  Mazdaspeed or Skyactive.

Quality Improvement through Product Redesign

CorkSport is dedicated to providing top quality, reliable products to our valued customers. To ensure that our products can keep meeting the demands of the market and adopting forward-looking design techniques, CorkSport may periodically announce product changes or cease product on obsolete models.

One such example of this is the CorkSport Mazdaspeed 3 Front Sway Bar that was released in March of this year. The bar had gone through several design iterations and had been tested on the CorkSport 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 to ensure fit, form, and function during the development phase, however once the product was released, one of our customers identified an issue, and with his help, we took steps to update the design.

Long time CorkSport customer and autocross enthusiast Steve Kritzberg was one of the first to purchase the sway bar. Upon initial installation of the bar, Steve immediately noticed the difference in handling over OEM bar, “The bar was a big improvement over the OEM bar in handling,” Steve recalled, “It kept the car flatter in the turns, as well as quicker turn in.” Unfortunately the stress that Kritzberg’s sway bar was under during autocrossing and his daily commute to and from work on the pothole and crevasse strewn roads of NYC, caused the bar to fail.

Steve immediately got in touch with CorkSport, “I got on the phone with Derrick and dropped him an email with photos.” CorkSport’s customer service manager, Kelly, then kicked into action and sent a stock bar to Steve to put in while engineering worked with him to identify the issue.

“The original design was pretty unorthodox,” said Steve, “The welds and finishes were nice, but during the CorkSport redesign process, I recommended they go with a more conventional design.”

As part of CorkSport’s design procedures, any major change that may impact form, dimension, quality, function, endurance or reliability, will be directly communicated to customers affected, so while CorkSport worked with Steve to improve the design of the bar, our customer service department reached out to each of the other purchasers to make them aware of the potential problem and CorkSport put out a public statement regarding the product issue.

“As soon as the problem was identified, CorkSport posted on the Mazdaspeed Forums and put the issue on the table,” Steve stated, “That is just good business!”

The redesign took approximately six weeks to complete. “I was contacted by Kelly and Derrick several times during the process to ensure the problem was being taken care of to my satisfaction,” said Steve, “The service was awesome. Not only did CorkSport send out a thank you gift in consideration for helping them with the redesign process, but also contacted me once the new design was completed to ask if I would be willing to test the bar.”

When asked how the new product is performing for Steve, he had this to say, “I really like it! I especially like the combo of the bar and the CorkSport Lowering Spring Set. The new bar is definitely stiffer than the first bar and the car feels more balanced.”

When asked if Steve had it to over again, would he still purchase from CorkSport, he responded with a resounding, YES. “Without a doubt! Great product and great service!”

Every product that is developed by CorkSport is handled with personal accountability and though we develop, design, and test our products thoroughly prior to release, from time-to-time, it is our dedicated customers that help us to refine and perfect our products to the uncompromising standards people have come to expect in CorkSport products.

A special thanks to Steven Kritzberg for working with us to develop a top performing Mazdaspeed 3 Front Sway Bar and for taking time out of his busy schedule to co-author this post!


Customer Collaboration Designs Excellence

We say it a lot here at CorkSport, but it’s true, we really enjoy getting our customers involved with the development process and as an engineer at CorkSport, I get to interact with customers on new product ideas and collaborate on their development regularly.

Many of our new product ideas actually come from customer submissions which have been collected and reviewed during our development meetings. Once we have established whether the idea submission has merits and we feel it is a project worth pursuing, it gets added to our project plan and we begin the process of product development.

It’s important for us to keep our customers close to the development process to make sure we don’t lose sight of the original intention of the product or miss an important feature during development that was desired, so once an idea is approved, we reach out to the customers that submitted the idea and determine their interest level in helping CorkSport test the product and discuss getting involved in the development process by providing additional ideas or expressing concerns about the design.

We stay connected with the customer advocate and make sure things are progressing how they feel is best for the product. Once we have a prototype we will find customers who want to help with the testing and validation process to determine if anything needs to be adjusted prior to proceeding to production.

We also make sure to share our new products with the Mazda community through forum interaction. This gives us exposure to a larger audience of customers who may be interested in the product, and because forums can sometimes be brutally honest it really helps us see what may be lacking or needing change.

A good example of this would be our newly redesigned mud flaps for the Mazdaspeed6. We had originally released these using the same mud flaps that we developed for the Mazdaspeed3 but some customers felt they were too hard to install. We then went back and completely redesigned the front mud flaps specifically for the Mazdaspeed6.

I posted pictures of our prototypes on the Mazdaspeed Forum and Mazda6 Club to see if anything needed to be changed before we got ready to release them. During the discussion thread, some comments were made on the length of the front mud flaps and fitment issues that may occur depending in your ride height, so we incorporated a template into the installation instructions that allows customers to trim the mud flaps to their desired length.

Customer collaboration does not end once the part is released either. We like to follow up with customers who purchased our new product releases and get their feedback and have an active knowledgebase that customers can go to for questions and can contribute to with comments and feedback.

It is important for us to make sure that customers are happy with the product and that the installation instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow. If a step is identified that requires additional clarification or could use additional product pictures, we incorporate that feedback into the new version of the instruction sets that go out. This collaboration helps us improve our products and makes us aware of things that may need to be addressed on other projects.

We welcome questions and comments from our customers at any time. If are installing a CorkSport product and have any questions we encourage you to contact us so we can help and if you ever have any suggestions on ways we can improve any of our products please let us know. It is important to us to remain close to the Mazda enthusiasts that have made our company the success it is today.