3rd Time’s the Charm

We all know the saying the 3rd time is the charm and this year’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs was no exception to the rule.  The past 2 runoffs I have not made it to the finish.  In 2016 at Mid-O I was hit on the first lap and punctured my left front tire.  At Indy, I retired as we developed a fault in the ECU from some beta software we were running and the car dropped into limp mode and I wasn’t able to maintain full throttle.  

We have been working on the brakes for the past 3 years and during the season it limited us from running the car as much as we like.  We have also been chasing a fault/error with the ECU/control system of the car. We were still able to get the car enough starts and race finishes to get qualified for the runoffs in Sonoma.   Granted the car was not happy at most of those races and it was a struggle to get the finish.

2 weeks before the runoffs we sorted out the ECU problem and were confident enough in the car to race it.  The backup plan was to race my Spec Miata if we couldn’t get the Mazda 3 fixed as I ran it this past season as well and had enough starts/races.

With the Runoffs at Sonoma it was within 1-day driving distance unlike the past 3 runoffs at Daytona, Mid Ohio, and Indy so I got to try out the new (to me) truck and trailer.

I had raced at Sonoma one time prior, so the track wasn’t totally unknown like Mid-O and Indy, which all I had was simulator time so I was able to get up to speed quickly on a test day and find out what I needed to work on for chassis setup and driving.  The driving was easy to adjust, look at the data, see where the driver was sucking and had to man up to keep a foot to the floor in some sketchy corners.

The car, on the other hand, had what we call “a good problem to have”, too much power.  We have been running a torsen style differential in the car which works pretty good in a straight line and relatively flat tracks.  Sonoma is not a flat track which unloads the car 3-4 times per lap. With the Mazda 3 and the amount of torque it makes means I was unloading the tire enough for it to spin the inside tire.  Most people think what is the big deal with a little tire wheel spin? It is a problem when you enter turn 10 at Sonoma at 97MPH and you start lighting off your right front tire. Look at the picture below and you can see that front inside tires is barely on the ground and the rear isn’t.  The speedometer would jump around and you could see the right front wheel speed turning at 5-10 mph more in the data.

We tried several suspension changes and driving style changes to make the best of it but in the end, we were way off the pace by 2-3 seconds of the rear wheel drive cars in the class.

The good part about not being at the front of the field, there was zero stress when race day came.

Like any race there was a fun challenge, we would be heading into turn 2 blind as the race was at 4 pm in the afternoon and the sun would be shining directly down the hill.  Since I wanted to see the end of the race I a little cautious at the start and Ali in the other Mazda 3 got around me at the start.

We fought it out for 8 laps and he went into turn 6 too hot and I was able to get under him and pass him on the inside.

After a few laps I put a 4-5 second lead on Ali I was basically in no man’s land, slower than the front guys and faster than the back half of the field so I spent my time working on tire management (it is easy to overheat your left front tire at Sonoma) and made it to the end of the race.

My official finishing place was 10th but after some adventures in tech, I was moved to 9th in the final results.  This isn’t where I wanted to be by any means but the 3rd time was the charm and I made it to the end of the race.

Huge thanks to the support we get racing the car from CorkSport, BFGRacing, Monarch Inspections, G-Loc Brakes, and Mazda Motorsports.

 

Derrick Ambrose

Why Lowering Springs?

Everything to know about lowering your Mazda with lowering springs.

Whether you want the better handling that comes with the lowered center of gravity, or you want to rid yourself of the wheel gap eyesore.  Lowering springs will give you want you’re looking for.

For running the track, or a spirited drive through the countryside, CorkSport lowering springs are the upgrade you’ve been looking for. By adding lowering springs and lowering the center of gravity of your Mazda allows the car to stay more planted to the road.

One of the biggest things to note on stock suspension is how far upward the suspension travels when hitting a bump. It can make the car feel like it wants to lift off of the road; depending on how fast you’re taking corners. Lowering springs help to correct the car’s suspension travel when you hit a bump in a turn.

Corksport Mazda 3 racer

Lowering springs also have about 25% increased stiffness. For the Mazdaspeed platform, increased stiffness in the rear is a must. Mazdaspeeds like to squat pretty hard when hitting full boost, so any way you can manage to stiffen up the rear is a great modification for your car.

Adding lowering springs also gives your baby amazing eye appeal and a much more aggressive look. Whether you drive a Mazdaspeed3Mazdaspeed6Mazda 3, Mazda 6, CX-5, CX-3 or MX-5, lowering springs will get rid of that ugly wheel well gap. The result is a Mazda that carries a much cleaner and more aggressive look and gives you the ability to take it to the track if you want to.

Drop your Mazda for an aggressive look and better handling with the CorkSport lowering springs.

Some people want to drop their Mazda as much as possible, and some don’t. CorkSport lowering springs don’t deliver a super aggressive drop. If you’re not interested in scraping your front bumper on every road bump, the CorkSport lowering springs have the right drop for you, and provide the increased handling capabilities you’re looking for.

 

If you’re curious about other suspension pieces for your Mazdaspeed, check out our Struts and Shocks combo kits, that give you just what you need for suspension.

Mazda Hybrid?

Mazda 3 Hybrid??

I was looking at the Mazda Japan website the other day and noticed that there is now an option for a Mazda 3 gasoline hybrid listed.  Years ago Mazda announced that they were working with Toyota hybrid tech and this looks to be the result.

There isn’t a lot of detail listed with the description of the model so I decided to do a comparison of the Mazda 3 against the current model year of Prius as the 2 vehicles are most likely running the same hybrid drive setup.

Price:  With the current exchange rate the Mazda 3 hybrid is ~$23500 which is almost the same as the current Prius price shown of $23475.  You get more car with the Mazda 3 for the price and a car which handles like a car should. Win here for the Mazda.

Styling:  Right away I can tell you I prefer the styling of the Mazda 3 over the Batmobile inspired Prius which looks like someone used a late 50s Chevy and applied the styling.  

Fuel Economy: This one is the funniest thing and really shows where Mazda’s engine tech is beating all of the other manufacturers.  Toyota Prius 1.8 hybrid gets 56mpg in combined city/highway. Mazda 3 2.0 hybrid gets 63mpg. Caveat on this data, I took the economy listed on the Japanese page and converted it to MPG so they are not based on the same drive cycles.

If your Japanese skills are on point check out the landing page for the 2018 Mazda 3 Hybrid yourself here.  Just a note google translate won’t let you convert the page due to SSL from Mazda’s page.

So you are asking why do I care about a hybrid and in all honesty I probably won’t own one myself but if it does happen I prefer to at least own one that handles worth a crap and has decent driving dynamics.  I can’t say I have ever heard anyone raving about how good the chassis is in a Prius.

 

-Derrick

 

Transmission Motor Mount for Mazda 3, 6, & CX-5

TMM for Gen3 Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-5

CorkSport is proud to introduce the first and only performance transmission motor mount for GEN3 Mazdas. It’s a simple upgrade that can really change how shifting feels in your 2014-2018 Mazda 3, 2014-2017 Mazda 6, or 2013-2018 Mazda CX-5. We saw how an upgraded mount can drastically affect the characteristics of your car with our Mazda 3/6/CX-5 RMM and wanted to take the next step in getting the best driver feel you can out of your car.

We followed a design similar to the OE mount to ensure proper fitment and function for all engine and transmission options. Whether you have a 2.0L Mazda 3 Auto, a 2.5L Mazda 6 Manual, or anything in between, the CorkSport TMM will bolt right in with no issues. We even retained the OE battery tray mounting location to ensure the battery stays stationary. Don’t be mistaken though, the CorkSport Mazda Transmission Motor Mount is a completely different mount than OE.

The OE mount uses relatively soft rubber to ensure the least amount of noise and vibration makes its way into the cabin. It also allows the engine and transaxle to move around a surprising amount while accelerating, decelerating, or changing gears. By using 70A durometer polyurethane, the CorkSport TMM helps to lock down the engine and transaxle for better throttle response, less wheel hop, and much-improved gear changes. When we first installed a prototype TMM in the CorkSport Mazda 3 racecar, we immediately noticed the lack of delay and slop coming from the transmission when setting off from a stop and changing gears.

Don’t think we forgot about vibration and noise though. The size and stiffness of the polyurethane pucks were chosen to help minimize the adverse effects of stiffer mounts. That being said, there is still some added vibration and noise, most noticeable in automatic cars, when lugging the engine, and/or when using the A/C system. Once you are up and cruising on the highway, however, the added NVH is virtually eliminated solely by road noise.

Much like the CorkSport RMM, the TMM uses billet aluminum for the main body of the mount. After machining, it is anodized black for durability and finished off with a laser etched CS logo. A zinc-coated steel sleeve is used through the center of the bushings so you can be sure that your mount is tightened to spec. Finally, stainless steel is used for the hardware, angled mounting plate, and side washers. All of these materials were selected for their strength and corrosion resistance so that your CorkSport Mazda TMM will stand the test of time.

The CorkSport Mazda 3, Mazda6, and CX-5 Transmission Motor Mount will liven up you GEN3 whether you use it as a daily driver or racecar. The TMM is even better when combined with our RMM however, it works standalone perfectly fine. While not for everyone, those who are willing the sacrifice a little comfort for a boost in driver feel will love this mount.

 

2018 CorkSport Garage Update

CorkSport's Mazda 3 guide.

CorkSport Garage

How about something a little different from the usual CS blog? I thought I would give you all a little insight into all the different Mazdas that are owned by employees. Some are daily drivers, some are full racecars, and some are…different (more on that later). So grab a cold refreshment, we’ve got quite a few cars to go through.

The Mazdaspeeds

Owner: Corey
Year/Model: 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata
Mileage: 28,800

Modifications: Full Flyin’ Miata CAI, polished stainless piping, Turbosmart recirculating bypass valve, manual boost controller, O2 signal modifier, boost gauge. Recent Mustang Dyno showed a consistent 189.9WHP.

Corey’s Comments: Purchased new to me at 17,000 miles in 2012 for my 40th birthday. The MSP Miata had been stored for 4 years-everything was original, even the tires. This Miata came from California and had never seen rain. I keep it in the garage and it’s mainly a fair weather/weekend car except during the summer. I enjoy taking a ride in the MSM with each of my kids, but love honking the horn at people and making my son wave back…like he knows them.

 

Owner: Luke
Year/Model: 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 GT
Mileage: 124,000

Modifications: Full bolted, built engine, CS prototype turbo, methanol injection. Too many CorkSport Par

Luke’s Comments: Car has been through stock turbo/stock block, CS turbo/stock block, CS turbo/built block, 35r/built block, and now CS prototype turbo/built block.  Fun fact: my girlfriend went faster in my car than I did when I first bought it.  Stock turbo went 12.8 @ 110mph in the  1320.

 

Owner: Daniel
Year/Model: 2007 Mazdaspeed 6
Mileage: 68,000

Modifications: Custom front license plate delete, CS Interior LED Kit, daily driver dirt.

Daniel’s Comments: Just bought the MS6 a few weeks ago, doing a ton of maintenance before mods. This Mazdaspeed6 started out as a dealer fleet vehicle (whatever that means). Bought it from a guy who owned it the past ~9 years. Hoping to sneak some new Mazdaspeed 6 parts into the CS catalog and feed the zoom-zoom obsession!

 

Owner: CorkSport (shop car)
Year/Model: 2013 Mazdaspeed 3
Mileage: 14,000

Modifications: Virtually everything in the CS catalog for MS3. Plus a few prototype parts that never made their way to the market.

Comments:  Affectionately called “Whitey”. On its 2nd built engine (we use and abuse this thing). This was one of Vincent’s first projects when he arrived at CS: rebuild Whitey’s engine. He just got done rebuilding it for the second time and is now breaking it in.

 

Owner: Barett
Year/Model: 2009 Mazdaspeed 3
Mileage: ~135,000

Modifications: Manley internals, L19 head studs, CS cams, bowl work & porting, all the bolt-ons, 28gph methanol injection, prototype CS turbo, 330mm BBK, other suspension bits.

Barett’s Comments: More info on the engine build here. Made ~465whp at the 2017 CS dyno day. My car hates me and is a constant work in progress.

 

Owner: Brett
Year/Model: 2013 Mazdaspeed
Mileage: 37,000

Modifications: Full CS bolt-ons, big turbo, meth injection, making 430whp 385ft-lbs. BC coilovers w/ custom rated Swift springs, BMSPEC front splitter, Varis rear diffuser, custom side skirt extensions, Volk TE37SL: front 18×11 rear 18×10, paint matched 240Z flares, 330mm BBK.

Brett’s Comments:  I’ve had the Mazdaspeed3 for about 4 years now. It has every CS bolt on in the catalog. Helps that I work here now. This MS3 makes ~430 WHP, and is a stock block for now; built block soon to come. I take more pictures of this car than I do anything else. 

 

The GEN 3’s

 

CorkSport's Mazda 3 guide.
Ready to mod your Mazda 3? You will be after you read this!
Owner: Jennifer
Year/Model: 2014 Mazda 3 2.5L Hatch
Mileage: 100,000

Modifications: Most of the CS catalog for GEN3: Intake, exhaust, lowering springs, adjustable struts, rear sway bar, aluminum skid tray, etc., GEN2 MS3 wheels, big CS livery.

Jennifer’s Comments: The car has been used for the majority of the Mazda3 research and design at CS. This Mazda 3 is daily driven ~80miles each day to torture test CorkSport parts, it helps that the commute to my house is that far round trip. Basically, my daily drive is a perfect example of “running up a hill both ways” for this Mazda 3.  

 

(Left)

Owner: Collin
Year/Model: 2016 Mazda 6
Mileage: 40,000

Modifications: CS RSB, prototype CS FSB, CS RMM, prototype CS performance header, CS license plate kit.

Collin’s Comments: Aside from the performance parts available at CS, I chose this car due to the extra ~30HP compared to most commuter cars. I still get 42MPG on my freeway commute. This is my first New Car I bought myself and I have loved learning how to modify on it. 

(Right)

Owner: Rich
Year/Model: 2014 Mazda 6 GT

Modifications: CS lowering springs/struts, CS front camber plates, CS rear camber arms, CS SRI, CS catback, CS radio control knob, CS license plate kit, 25mm wheel spacers

Rich’s Comments: I drove around the same B2300 for many years while we built CorkSport from the ground up. I finally decided to treat myself and picked this Mazda6 up in 2014. Big shift, and I’ve loved having the luxuries of this Mazda 6. 

 

Owner: Derrick
Year/Model: 2014 Mazda 3 2.5L Sedan

Modifications: Caged, stripped, CS SRI, straight pipe to CS axleback, bunch of custom adjustable suspension, BBK (sometimes), custom racetrack-modified bodywork.

Derrick’s Comments: This Mazda3 could not be sold as a road legal car, so I don’t drive it on the road. There are a TON of track hours on this Mazda 3 and all of it’s modifications. We basically TRY to break our test parts before we let them hit the market, which is good for me because I love to go fast.

 

Owner: CorkSport (shop car)
Year/Model: 2018 Mazda 3 2.5L Hatch
Mileage: 2900

Modifications: CS struts, CS lowering springs, CS camber plates, CS RMM.

Comments: Mainly stock so far, big things to come to the “CBR” (CorkSport Branded Ride). Brett, who has been dailying the CBR, somehow only is getting 23mpg. Expect more parts for facelifted GEN3’s with the CBR’s arrival.

 

The Others

Just because you may not have seen much about them and they don’t get their own category does not mean they’re not special. For me, some of the most interesting cars are down below.

 

Owner: CorkSport (shop truck)
Year/Model: 1995 Mazda B2300
Mileage: 160,000

Modifications: Sweet stickers for extra HP, tire shop wheels, custom faded paint

Comments: Vincent used to own this truck before selling it to be the “new” CS shop truck. He notes that it was involved in 3 accidents, each time the insurance company did not total the truck, leaving Vincent with more money than he spent to buy the truck. No power steering provides an arm workout for those lucky enough to drive this beast.

 

Owner: Derrick
Year/Model: 2016 Miata Launch Edition.
Mileage: 24,000

Modifications: Full CorkSport ND Miata catalog – CS cold air intake, CS catback exhaust, CS front and rear swaybars, CS lowering springs, CS adjustable front end links, VersaTune CS parts tune, CS short shifter – Sparco Drift wheels, Bridgestone Blizzak run flats

Derrick’s Comments: The ND is an interesting car for me as being a lifelong Mazda enthusiast I had never owned a Miata before.  When the ND was announced I had already converted the Mazda 2 into a B-Spec car so I stopped street driving it and went back to my Rx7 turbo as my daily driver so I had gotten used to driving a car with “issues” again.  When I got into the ND for the first time and drove it home it was very surreal expecting some weird sound or smelling hydrocarbons (the Rx7 is old and catless) and the car handled incredible right out of the box.  Of course that lasted all of 3 months until we have Kenton Koch behind the wheel helping us out with the suspension development.  It is one of those cars that I warn people, if you drive it you will want to buy one.

 

Owner: Vincent
Year/Model: 2010 Mazda RX-8 R3
Mileage: 60,000 (original engine, no issues)

Modifications: Turbo XS exhaust, K&N high flow filter, custom VersaTune tune, DBA club spec rotors, Hawk Street/Race pads, Goodridge stainless steel lines.

Vincent’s Comments: I had been wanting a 2nd gen RX-8 since high school. This thing revs out to 9400RPM and is super fun to drive. Just recently sold (hi Aaron) but too good to not include in this blog.

 

Owner: Derrick
Year/Model: 1993 Spec Miata
Mileage: “Lots and lots” (this car has run 25hours of Thunderhill a few times on top of all its other racing)

Modifications: Spec Miata Bilstein shock package, Eibach swaybars, illegal plunge cut cylinder head (lookup spec Miata plunge gate 2014), GLoc brakes, 949 6ul Spec Miata wheels, AIM dash & datalog system, ESR drive side drop floor, Really big radiator.

Derrick’s Comments: I took the advice of all the spec miata people and bought a built car so I didn’t have to spend 6 months building one myself.  The local car was raced for a long time in the northwest and was a front running car before it was parked for a few years.  I picked it up for $6000 with some extra spares and was immediately able to get on the track and go racing after the installation of the drop floor and new seatbelts.  The big question I have people ask me is why did you get a SM?  The real answer is the level of drivers in the class.  At any sanctioned race event weekend there are always SM and someone to race against and I have personally known several drivers go into SM a novice and come out the other side in pro racing.  To win at SM you have to have your shit together.  To be the best you need to compete against and beat the best so here I am.

 

Owner: Barett
Model: Mazda B2600i
Mileage: ?

Modifications: Solid axle swap with Toyota running gear, 4.88:1 axle gears, rear locker, 3 feet of articulation, 8000lb winch, high bolstered seats, 35×14.5R15 Super Swamper Bogger Tires, “lots of f*ckery fabrication.”

Barett’s Comments: This was my first real vehicle, and it taught me lots about owning a vehicle, modifying a vehicle and I have more memories with this beast than I can come up with right now. I beat the SH*T out of this truck and it’s always put away wet.

 Owner: Rich
Model: 1988 Mazda Rx- CONVERTIBLE

 

Modifications: Turbo engine swap, Apexi Power FC, CS Border Style body kit, CS front mount intercooler, CS turbo back exhaust, many other mods.

Rich’s Comments: The Rx-7 is kept in the garage and it’s mainly a fair weather/weekend car except during the summer. I take it out for special occasions or to just show off every once in a while. It’s a nostalgia piece for me. 

 

Not Pictured:

  • 2016 Mazda 3 Sedan. Derrick’s 2nd racecar. Caged, stripped, 2.0L AT converted to 2.5L MT.
  • Mazda RX-7 FC. Owned by Derrick.
  • NA Mazda Miata. Parts car for Derrick’s Spec Miata
  • Mazda 5. Derrick’s wife’s car.
  • Mazda CX7. Kelly’s daily driver.

For those keeping score, that’s 22 Mazdas in the CorkSport garage. The cars have come and gone over the years but one thing will always stay true: our cars will be fun to drive because they are Mazdas. Here’s to more Mazdas finding their way into the CS (and your) garage.

 

Oh and if you have any questions on the above cars, please let us know down below, we’ll be sure to pass on your question to the car’s owner.

 

-Daniel