Mazdaslow to Mazdaspeed

Let me take you to an extraordinarily dull time in my life, the last time I started my car when it was still stock.

September 14th, 2018 was a beautiful September day in Washington. I started my car at 6:45 am, just like every other weekday. The car burbled to life, but it was relatively quiet, flat, and a bit uninteresting. No one knew I was leaving for work – I wasn’t shaking any windows, but that was going to change.

At CorkSport

Once I arrived at work and spread some Friday cheer, I settled in. Almost immediately, I could feel the pile of parts in the corner behind my desk, glaring at the back of my head. I thought to myself, “Don’t turn around – focus damn it!” The day had finally come – install day. Thankfully with our awesome half-day Fridays, I was out of the office and on my way to Brett’s house before 12:30 pm. 

After we loaded up Brett’s Rodeo with a load of parts, we set sail to our destination, a place where many tears have been shed, knuckles have been busted, and where dreams have come true; Brett’s garage. Every tool you’ve ever needed and gadgets you didn’t know existed. There were even a few specialty items present, that if he didn’t have quite frankly, this couldn’t have happened.

Shop all Mazdaspeed 3 Parts

We started with thorough degreasing of the engine bay and setting up the essential supplies- because what is an install day without beer and snacks! Once the car has cooled down, I started with taking out the battery box, intake, and intercooler; and then the fun really started. I’ve read the horror stories, I’ve watched the videos, and I thought I spent enough time mentally preparing myself for what was about to come – I was wrong.

The Downpipe

We all know about the Mazdaspeed downpipe on our cars. The devil engineered the placement of this thing, and he had his minions tighten the bolts. There isn’t enough PB blaster in the world to help the corrosion and excessive heat that these bolts withstand. We got the first one out with little to no issue, but it just got progressively harder from there. It was only a matter of time before rounding off the edges of that last bolt. Thankfully Brett has an extractor tool that we hammered on there, and with the small act of god, it was successfully extracted.

My experience with removing the downpipe from the exhaust, as is everyone’s experience, was different. Mine was influenced by the previous owner adding a 2.5″ resonated exhaust on it from the second cat back. The downpipe didn’t want to come out until I wiggled a pry bar in between the flange and put Brett’s Caliper spreader in there (again tools I didn’t even know I needed) and applied sheer grunt force. I got the flange to bend, and after learning a few new choice words, we got it out. By this time, it was 11:30 pm, and we still had a few other things to unbolt before the exhaust came out. Instead of using power tools and waking every neighbor up in a two-block radius, we called it a night.

The Morning After

After some much-needed coffee, we made it back from the hardware store (replaced the downpipe nut from hell) it’s time to party. We started with sliding in my new downpipe with the High flow Cat what a breeze compared to taking it out. Next came my intake, I went with the 3.5″ so I don’t have to buy another one when I finally go with our CorkSport CST4 turbo. Still might go with the new CST5. Then I put in my ECU Relocation Box, and I have to say, what a clean looking piece to have in your engine bay! 

Mazdaspeed 3 TMIC Top Mount Intercooler

We changed out the OEM spark plugs for some NGK 6510 gapped to .026 and started to put on my new TMIC that is rated up to 450WHP after we got the TMIC it was time to put on my shiny new boost tubes Engine bay= Complete.

Now time to get underneath and put on my highly anticipated Non-Resonated Cat-Back exhaust and my Stage II RMM. Goodbye, torque steer! Once we had the exhaust mostly in place, I realized if I didn’t have the CS exhaust hangers I would have been in trouble. The person before me had his exhaust welded quite poorly in place of the hangers, and I didn’t have an option to use my OEM ones. 

Moment of Truth

After everything was double-checked and rechecked, it was time for the moment of truth. I hooked up my battery, I flashed my new tune from Erik Bjork at Drama Tune, and now it was Go Time! I will say hearing my car make those sweet sounds was one of the best moments of my life. I’ve been waiting for this moment since I purchased my car, and it was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had.

We let the car run for a few minutes and checked to make sure I didn’t have any leaks, and then we headed out for a test drive.

In the immortal words of George Takei “Oh My!”

That was my thought, EVEN on just a base map. My car felt and sounded 1000% different than before. The intake was amplifying fun new mechanical noises – like I was hearing my turbo and BOV dance for the first time. The crackle from the exhaust on a hard 2nd to 3rd upshift was intoxicating, all the while my RMM putting in work to make sure I don’t torque steer into someone’s front lawn. What an experience! I would even call this life-changing for me. The funny part of the story is that I wasn’t planning on buying all these items at once – true intentions of a foolish car enthusiast. Thankfully for me, I have a fantastic career within CorkSport and have a great friend that helped me make my dreams come true. Who wants a stock car when you work for the number one place in the world for Mazda Performance, not this guy.

Zach from CorkSport

Keep an eye out for my turbo blog, because it’s only a matter of time until the mod bug bites me again.

Performance Parts for the 4th Gen Mazda 3

Today we are going to lay it all out; we are going to tell you about what we are working on for your Mazda 3 and WE ARE EXCITED!  Who are we?  If you don’t know already, we are CorkSport Mazda Performance based out of Vancouver, Washington.  We are the number One Performance Aftermarket Mazda Parts Company and we have set our sights on the 4th Generation Mazda 3.

Below are the first projects we are developing for the 4th Gen Mazda 3 and CX30.  Engine performance, suspension performance, and styling are all covered here and we are closer to launch than you may realize.  Sit back and enjoy, there’s a lot here and we want you to see it all. 

CorkSport – Lowered on CS Springs

One of the most sought after and anticipated performance items for the 2019+ Mazda 3 are the CorkSport Sport Lowering Springs.   The CS springs provide the most aggressive drop on the market today while providing a sporty and comfortable ride for daily driver use.  With that, we have confirmed fitment on FWD manual transmission hatch and AWD automatic transmission sedan.  We found that the Auto AWD Sedan rides just slightly lower, but is still within proper ride height for suspension function.

See all of our Lowering Springs

We design our springs with more than just looks in mind (but they do look great).  Spring rates and the suspension frequency are critical to performance and comfort.  With that being said we increased the front spring rate 52% and rear rate 40% based on the OEM 2019 FWD Hatch MT springs.  

CorkSport

Now if you’re looking at the images and thinking “Damn those wheels look good” then you are correct and we agree; they look amazing and fit the car and CorkSport springs perfect.  

Here are the specs: Advan RS 19×8.5 +38 with 235/35 Kumhos.  We have just the slightest rub on the inner fender on large bumps.  Besides that they are perfect and you can have this setup too!

See all of our Axle-Backs

Next up is the CorkSport Axle-Back Exhaust.  Off the showroom floor, the Mazda 3 is ghostly quiet which is pretty disappointing. Our goal with the Performance Axle-Back Exhaust is a noticeable but mellow tone that you can enjoy every single day; gents this is Wife/Girlfriend approved. 

CorkSport – Using OEM Springs

We are proud to announce that will we be supporting multiple models on launch.  We have confirmed the Sedan, Hatch, Hatch w/Aero Package, and the CX-30.   Along with that we have confirmed fitment for both FWD and AWD models for all cars listed.  

See all of our Strut Bars

Look closely, there’s a couple new products in this engine bay…long in development is the Short Ram Intake System which replaces the OEM airbox with a high flow dry element filter, billet aluminum MAF housing, 4-ply silicone coupler, and stainless steel T-bolt clamps.  

Upon launch we will be offering various color combinations between Black, Red, and Blue.  You can see them below.   

See all of our Intakes

In our testing we have seen repeatable 5whp gains at peak with a nice increase across the RPM range.  Street driving our butt dyno agrees with crisp throttle response and a lovely intake induction noise.  The combination of induction noises, exhaust note, and sporty feedback from the sport springs really turns the Mazda 3 from an A-to-B car to a great enthusiast hot hatch.  

CorkSport

The other project sitting in the engine bay is the CorkSport Front Strut Brace.  Bracing the strut towers to each other improves chassis stiffness and reduces suspension complicity.  This results in increased driver feedback and thus a better driving experience.  The powder coated steel brackets and polished aluminum cross bar add a nice loot to the engine bay.  

See all of our Swaybars

Lastly, and still in development, are the rear sway bars for the FWD and AWD 4th Gen Mazda 3.  This project has been interesting because of the new torsion beam rear suspension found on the 4th Gen Mazda 3.  It’s interesting because there is no factory equipped sway bar.  Instead of just developing a larger rear sway bar, we are developing a sway bar from scratch along with the attachment methods.  

You also notice that there are two different bars in the image.  This is because the AWD and FWD torsion beams are different due to the AWD drivetrain.  Long story short, we are developing a RSB for each drivetrain specifically because that’s the correct way to do it.  

Wow, that was a lot, and trust me there is more we are investigating, but we can’t let ALL the secrets out yet.  We would love to know what products you would like CorkSport to develop for the 2019+ Mazda 3 platform, you can do so right here by Submitting a Product Idea.  

Also, we love sharing with the community directly and have been doing so in these groups.  If you don’t know about them then check them out and join for more info.  

Thanks for tuning in with CorkSport.  We hope you are as excited about the 4th Gen Mazda platform as we are!

-Barett @ CS

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
CorkSport

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).

CorkSport

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.

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

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.