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 2nd 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 4th 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 has 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  

My CorkSport Mods: Keith’s Mazda 3 Sport

I’ve met a lot of amazing people thanks to my Mazda 3 Sport, but Yolanda Sampson (Instagram: @bluehalogirl) is the one I blame for this addiction we call “modding.” When we met, I hadn’t done much to my car yet, just a couple minor things like tinted windows and tinted taillights. She had a feeling I’d be into meeting some more like-minded locals and invited me to a meet. We got along like only two Mazda nuts could, and it was game over for me.

Mazda 3 Sport

Continue reading “My CorkSport Mods: Keith’s Mazda 3 Sport”

Five 2015 CorkSport Releases You Still Need to Buy

2015 was a good year here at CorkSport. We released a whopping 26 new products! With the New Year upon us, it’s not too late to snag some of our favorite new parts we released. Here are our top five picks for upgrades you still need in 2016.

Mazdaspeed 3 Adjustable Short Shifter 

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Improve your driving experience with the CorkSport double-adjustable short shifter for the 2007-2009 MS3. You can personalize the throw distance and shift knob height just how you want it. Not only is your shift time faster with our shifter, it’s more precise and controlled. Got a newer MS3? Don’t worry, there’s a short shifter for you too.

Mazdaspeed 3 Front Mount Interiorcooler Kit

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Cool down your boost air temperatures without compromise with our front mount intercooler kit with either the small or large intercooler. Featuring all new piping for better fitment and performance, our FMIC comes standard with the high flow small core or the optional big core with crash bar. Our FMIC Kit features a new variable diameter piping that reduces boost lag and improves throttle response.

3.5 Bar MAP Sensor

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Introducing the first Plug-N-Play 3.5 Bar MAP sensor designed for the MZR DISI. The MAP sensor provides instantaneous manifold pressure information to the engine’s ECU. The custom injection molded body features the OEM style connection for a quick and clean installation; no adapter wiring harness needed! And we made it even easier for you by putting the necessary calibration scalars directly onto the MAP sensor, making tuning calibration a breeze.

MX-5 Miata Axle Back Exhaust
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Great sound, great looks, and great quality. It’s that simple when it comes to the MX-5 axle back exhaust. We’ve tested multiple designs to provide you with an exhaust that delivers top performance without the annoying drone so typically found in aftermarket exhaust systems. Our exhaust is manufactured from T304 stainless steel, CNC mandrel bent, and TIG welded for a perfect fit and long lasting durability. Only the best for your new Miata.

Mazdaspeed 3 & 6 Drop-in Turbo Upgrade

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You know we’re all about that boost life. Experience a serious boost in performance with our drop-in Mazdaspeed turbocharger. It easily bolts in and replaces your undersized OEM turbo with no mechanical modifications. Yes, you read that correct. No mechanical mods. Our turbocharger comes with all the necessities you need for increased power performance so there’s no need to buy additional parts.

What’s on your mod list for 2016?

Cheers,

CorkSport

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

Product Release! CorkSport 2013+ CX5 Axle Back Exhaust

The new Mazda CX5 is a striking vehicle, the flowing lines of it’s “Kodo” design language are somehow angular and graceful at the same time. Such a design was begging for a quality exhaust to match its’ looks and enhance its’ sound. With that need established, the engineers at CorkSport attacked one of the first 2013 CX5’s in the United States and set to improve on an already stellar car.

 

CorkSport Mazda CX-5 Exhaust

Constructed using T-304 stainless steel from flange to tip and weighing a full 8lbs less than the stock exhaust, the CorkSport exhaust not only performs better but brings a deeper, more aggressive sound to the CX5 as well.

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The CorkSport Guarantee

  • CorkSport Service and Support: Receive a 2 year warranty, full color installation instructions, all of the needed installation hardware and knowledgeable telephone support.

CorkSport Mazda CX-5 Exhaust installed

The CorkSport Mazda CX5 Axle Back Exhaust is available at our online catalog for only $599 and are available and in stock today! For more information please visit our product listing at: https://www.corksport.com/corksport-mazda-cx5-axle-back-exhaust.html