We want YOU to help us design the next CorkSport Branded Ride!

As if it wasn’t obvious, we have a plethora of vehicles to work with around here. True to fashion of course, we at CorkSport have gone and done it again: We went and filled some of the last remaining shop space with ANOTHER CAR.

Not just any car. Say “Hello” to our newest addition: 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback, touring 2.5L SKYACTIVE-G. Equipped with an automatic transmission and some of the nicer creature comforts.

We love the sparkle of the Eternal Blue Mica and of course her 18” gunmetal dancing shoes. However, as with all things good and standard in the world, we couldn’t help but think that the potential for upgrading is endless.

Do we strip it and go full race car? Perhaps something crazy and AWD swap of sorts? Or maybe we take it way out of left field and go rally-style with it?

With the opportunities being endless, it was starting to make our heads hurt, so we decided to take a step back and start with the basics. We asked ourselves:

“What would our average customer who just picked this car up do?”

And that is exactly what we are doing.

If you guys are anything like us, then you have several hobbies that extend beyond just cars. Some of our team’s personal favorite other hobbies include hiking, camping, traveling, water sports, chilling at the beach, and has recently included obstacle course racing. With all these interests taking up different aspects of our time, we would need a ride that can accommodate our lifestyle. While it would be awesome to have a 6-second drag car, we’d probably have to lose some creature comforts or find a pot of gold to cover the cost, and that’s just not what the average Mazda enthusiast is about.

This project, like we said, is for YOU. And if it’s for you, then we need your help in putting it together.

PIC: NWAPA – Vinnie Nguyen

This car, or as we are designating it: “Project CBR” (CorkSport branded ride), will be built by the people for the people.

We are going to take you with us on the full journey of this car; from the basic mods to the full on weekend task. From the daily driver to the long road hauler. From the car wash to the full service details. We are going to show you everything and anything on this car.

And through the whole process, everything is going to be built with your help.

Over the next several months as we put some miles on our test mule, we will want your guys’ feedback.

  • Do we put springs and shocks on it or full coilovers?
  • What type of wheels should we get?
  • Tint the windows, wrap it, get rid of the chrome?
  • The list goes on!

Every couple of weeks, we will keep you updated on where the car stands and what you think we should do next.

We will create a section on the CorkSport site so you can follow along, ask questions, provide suggestions, and fully immerse yourself into the car. Ever so often, we will also host a poll and you guys will vote on what happens next!

Think reverse sponsored: Instead of CorkSport’s name being the only one on this ride, we will be giving Sponsorship Cred to the Mazda Enthusiasts who give us the ideas for our mods. (first come, first credits).

We’ll put YOUR NAME on the CorkSport Branded Ride.

If you have a Dream Mod, and We pull it off on the CBR, you’ll get the credits… Remember: The CBR is By the People, For the People!

Stay Tuned, we’ll need your feedback soon!

CorkSport

Why CorkSport Loves Our Family Of Customers

Hey all!

Although normally we have a ton of technical information for you, this time around, we wanted to take an opportunity to share with you an awesome customer story we had happen a couple weeks back.

CorkSport is all about growing our family base, and constantly trying to connect with our community. Let’s be honest, we are here because of our family of customers, and we will continue to be here as long as our family is as well.

As most of you know, our company runs on internet-based sales, but we are also present Monday through Friday in the office to field any walk-in customers we may have. Anyone is welcome to come visit us at our HQ, and also to pick up parts we have in store. Most people wouldn’t guess that we have a showroom, but as you walk in you can see an exhaust hanging from the ceiling, and a handful of parts we display on the shelf, so people get an idea of what we do in-person.

We would love to see more people come through our front doors, and we welcome anyone from anywhere to come visit us.

A couple of weeks ago, we were paid a special visit from a customer named Rick and his wife, who came all the way from South Carolina on some business, and wanted to stop by CorkSport while they were in town.

Rick and I had a conversation about adding some Drag Bags to the rear of his MS3 in order to keep it from rubbing. He later called and told me it worked perfectly and thanked me for my recommendation. Rick has a first generation Mazdaspeed 3, and he was wondering what type of modifications he would need in order to make a certain whp. After chatting with him for a bit, and giving him a list of parts he would need to reach his goals, we decided it would be a good idea to snap a couple pictures to make sure we saved the memory!

After Rick and his wife had left, I realized that those are the types of experiences and interactions that our team at CorkSport loves.

It was very refreshing to talk with a customer multiple times, and then be able to put a face to the voice on the other end of the phone. This is what CorkSport is all about. We are here for YOU. We want to see you succeed.

CorkSport takes a lot of pride in making sure our customers come first. It’s also our highest priority that if you as the customer ever feel like you are not being valued like you’re “Number One”, we will do what we need to in order for you to feel that way.

CorkSport wants to make sure the entire community is part of our family. We would love nothing more than to hear our customers feeling like they can come to us for anything, just like Rick did, because well… that’s what family is all about.

Cheers,

Luke

Is Your Chick Flappy? – Mazda 3/MS3 Mud Flaps

Merry Christmas CorkSport family!!

Oh wait, it’s not December. It sure can feel like it sometimes when you are getting more and more parts in the mail. Am I right?

So let’s get down to business here.

This will be the one and only time you hear me say that your side chick needs to be MORE FLAPPY! If you want to protect her skirts, and booty, then making her flappy is a definite must.

CorkSport is proud to announce that we are bringing back our 2010-2013 Mazda 3/MS3 Mud Flaps by popular demand. Ask and you shall receive!

Made from 80 durometer urethane, these 1/8” thick flaps will protect all of your painted surfaces, and result in a cleaner rear hatch.

How does this really affect you? Well, have you ever tried wiping without toilet paper? I can tell you that it can be a tad bit messy. Go ahead and skip the dirty booty by adding these to your Mazda 3/Mazdaspeed 3. 2010-2013 Mazda 3 & MS3 Mud Flaps (Set of 4)

A few extra tidbits about the mud flaps:
  • Durable 80A 1/8” thick polyurethane.
  • CorkSport logo laser etched into the mud flap.
  • 2-year limited warranty.
  • $119.99 for all four mud flaps.

These are a must-have if you are trying to increase style while still being functional. I can tell you that these definitely help to keep the rear hatch cleaner makes it easier to keep the entire car cleaner for longer periods of time.

Don’t forget to check out our CorkSport 7th Gear Membership while you are buying these for your “woman”.

Cheers,

Luke

Mid-Season Racing Recap

A mid-season recap of the SCCA Western Conference races in the CorkSport Mazda 3.

Technically this is not a mid-season recap, it is more of a three-fourths of a season recap as all of the 6 SCCA Western Conference races are over and I won the conference in the CorkSport Mazda 3.

Autoclub Speedway, Fontana, California: This is the first time we had the Mazda 3 out on a roval and wow it was fast. The only car, which won for top speed, was an Acura RSX type S, which was at the event. I picked up a 3rd place in race one and a DNF in race two, as we had a technical problem with the car. It wasn’t critical but it could have torn up the car, so we stopped after five laps, which put me in 12th place.

Willow Springs, Willow, Springs California: I have never been to Willow Springs and struggled with the car to get a good pace. In race one, I played it safe to keep the car in one piece and finished 9th out of the 13 total cars. In race two, I was much quicker and fought my way up to 5th place. There was lots of traded paint in this race, which put a few cars out of the event.

In race one, I played it safe to keep the car in one piece and finished 9th out of the 13 total cars.

Thunder Hill, Willows, California: I like Thunderhill. I had not driven the Mazda 3 there before, but I have driven the B-Spec Mazda 2 I raced in prior years, and one of Mazda’s TD Mazda 6 which were used in the 25 hours of Thunderhill. In race one, I started at the back of the field due to a timing and scoring issue from the SCCA mixing up my car number, so I got no qualifying time. I was able to get to 3rd place in race one, which wasn’t too bad. I knew I was giving up some time on the track in a few spots after reviewing data, which set me up for race two. Race two went better as I got to fight it out with a NC Mx5 driven by a local driver. Twelve laps in, the Mazda 3 decided it didn’t like me using the brakes as the pads and went bye, bye. This meant I got to drive at 10/10s chasing an Mx5 with no brakes, just lots of metal on metal. When the brakes went, I lost 2nd place so I was playing catch up and throwing the car into corners to slow down. I was able to pressure the Mx5 and he went really wide in a flat out corner, which caused some damage to his car. He pulled into the pits and I was able to take it down a notch and finish in 2nd.

For race one, I qualified 4th out 10 cars which put me on the second row.

Button Willow Raceway, Button Willow: I have raced Button Willow a lot given our location in Vancouver, Washington, and Button Willow being 14 hours south of CorkSport. For race one, I qualified 4th out 10 cars which put me on the second row. The race was uneventful and I was able to keep 4th while holding off the same MX5 driver from Thunderhill. In race two, I got a little crazy at the start with the Acura Rsx from Autoclub and pictured above running the Mx5 off the track during the first lap. Check out my video!

Portland International Raceway, Portland, Oregon: This is my home track as it is all of 10 minutes from CorkSport. This was a pretty quiet race weekend as I qualified second and finished second in both races. I had nothing for the mustang who finished 1st in both races.

The Ridge Motorsport Park, Shelton, WA: I love the ridge, it is a great and challenging track.  We had some mixed conditions where it started raining during race one, so I got to practice car control on race slicks. End result was 1st place. The 2nd race was uneventful and I finished off the weekend with another 1st place.

So this leaves us with one more race for all the marbles at the SCCA runoffs at the end of September at Indy Motor Speedway. Yes, I really get to race at Indy and this is a serious bucket list for any road racer out there. We will be posting a link to watch the race live to see how the Mazda 3 and driver does against 40 other Touring 4 racers. Let’s hope this goes better than last year’s runoffs. I would really like to thank the support for racing the Mazda 3.  All of the parts we use on the track are supplied from CorkSport, the intake, exhaust, swaybar, camber arms, you name it. We are racing what we sell. Big thank you to BFGoodrich Tires for rubber and making sure we have the best tires to race on. This year, BFGracing came through with support for us with tires for the runoffs. Lastly, thank you to Mazda for the awesome car platform and Mazda Motorsports for the tech support with racing a car no one else in the US is running.

CorkSport Guide to Mazda 3 Suspension and Handling

Corksport Mazda 3 racer

I want to know…who is excited for summer to begin!? The Pacific Northwest has given us a rollercoaster of a winter and just doesn’t seem to want to let go of the rain, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and that light comes in the form of car season. In preparation of the summer (that is welcome to show up any time now) I thought I put out a summer setup guide for all you car enthusiast to consider. This week I’m going to start with suspension and handling, then move on to power and styling in the coming weeks. Grab a beer, take a seat and let’s get started.

Mazda 3 garage mods

For the sake of helping car enthusiast at any level of modification, let’s pretend I just bought a brand new 3rd Gen Mazda 3; a clean slate to modify and define as my own. I have had the car about a month now and love it. I’ve put it through it’s paces on the back roads and really appreciate what it can do in stock trim, but I’m ready for more. Now here comes the first big decision; what do I do first? This could be highly debated and I’m sure there are many paths to success so I’m just going to right to how I would proceed, but first some technical backstory.

Going through college and being a major part of the Portland State Formula SAE program, I was taught that suspension that moves is suspension that works. Long story short, slamming the car to the ground with overly stiff coils is not the path to a complaint suspension that also performs. There are three major aspects to your vehicle’s suspension: bump, roll stiffness, and damping. Bump (and/or squat) are mainly managed by the spring rates. Stiff springs are great for the track where you have a very smooth and consistent surface, but out on the public streets this is not the case so let’s not go crazy with the spring rates.

Next is the roll stiffness of the vehicle. This is managed by the springs and the swaybars, but ideally mostly by the swaybars. Sway control is important to keep the body roll in check while entering, apexing, and exiting a corner as well as many other vehicular maneuvers. The front and rear roll stiffness also dictates the oversteer and understeer characteristics of the vehicle so this can be a major tuning tool. Lastly is the damping of the struts and shocks. This is the fine tuning of the springs and swaybars and also the main reason why your car does not continually oscillate up and down like a boat after hitting a bump. These are very important.

Mazda 3 for summer

First modification I would do is…swaybars! Here’s why. Bumping up the roll stiffness has two major benefits. First, it’s a great way to “tidy up” the body movement without adding much harshness to the ride quality so you’re not giving up much for this modification.

Second, most passenger cars are setup to understeer from the factory. There’s good reason for this as the solution to control understeer is to apply the brakes which is most people’s automatic response in an adverse situation. If you’re more experienced, then getting the car to a more balanced under/oversteer setup will be great. The vehicle will be much more alert and predictable. Side note: to me both of the benefits mentioned above also inspire more confidence while driving which is a huge bonus.

So what do you need for this? A new performance Rear Swaybar would be the first choice and I would set it on the softer setting. This will make the car more balanced while still defaulting to understeer. If you are really serious then step up to the Front Swaybar as well to really get the roll stiffness in check with the rear bar on the stiffer setting. I know, I know we don’t have a front bar out yet…soon my friends 😉

Mazda 3 swaybar

The next modification I would do is a set of performance springs and shocks/struts. I really suggest doing these at the same time because that is how you are going to get the most out of them. The performance springs are going to add a bit more roll stiffness and bump/squat control while also lowering the car a bit which will help with the center of gravity. You will sacrifice some ride quality, but your car is going to feel like it’s on rails.   (Earlier I said don’t go to stiff and that holds true, most performance springs range from 10%-40% stiffer than OE which is usually still softer than a coil over setup).

Now the shocks/struts combo is important because with the higher spring rate you will need more damping to keep it under control and with the rebound adjustability you will be able to fine tune the damping. It’s a win-win.

Mazda 3 shocks and struts

Now you’re probably wondering if these can be broken down and purchased separately. Yes they can. There is no issue with purchasing the shocks/struts first as they will complement the swaybars and work fine with the OE springs. For example, the CorkSport Adjustable Shocks/Struts are design with this in mind. The softest rebound setting basically matches OE damping, but you also have the adjustment range of up to 70% stiffer rebound to accommodate fine tuning and stiffer performance springs. Now doing the springs first may result in some compromise.

Due to the stiffer spring rate you will have a bit bouncier ride quality since the OE damping was not designed for the higher spring rate, but you will survive, I promise. So if you need to break it into chunks then I would start with the shocks/struts first. Do note that its recommend you get some rear cambers arms and front camber plates with lowering springs so you can get the camber back to OE specs or to have the ability to set the camber.

Mazda 3 rear camber arms

Lastly and arguably the most important handling modification is tires! If you have never indulged in a set of high performance tires then wow, you don’t know what you are missing. Tire technology has improved leaps and bounds over the last decade and because of that there are many performance all –season tires available, but a jack of all trades is a master of none. I highly suggest this tire and wheel combination.

Get yourself a set of performance wheels (I know there are atleast a few brands that can be had for less than $200/wheel and weight less than 20 lbs each) and throw some high performance or ultra high performance tires on them for the summer. These tires are usually in the 200-300 treadwear rating and cost $200-$300 each depending on size. Do this NOW! I’m serious! And keep you OE wheels for some dedicated winter tires which again will blow you away with how much better they are than all-seasons.

mazda 3 big brake kit

Let’s wrap this up with one last suggestions if everything above isn’t enough for you. Brakes… The best way to go fast is with better brakes. There are a few options you can take here. A set of performance rotors and pads would be a great budget friendly setup with great benefits. If you want to step it up even further than I suggest a Big Brake Kit like the one above.

Performance breaks are a great addition to any vehicle for both performance and safety. Performance wise you can dive into corners later and harder without worry. Safety wise I think it’s pretty obvious. Have you ever rear-end another vehicle and thought “if only I could have stop five feet sooner”, well there you have it.

Alright one last thing before we wrap this up. Now that we have a really well setup Mazda 3 go to a track day! Yes, take your daily commuter to the track one day so you can find you and your car’s limits. I can express this enough. First off its so much FUN! Really it’s a blast and it’s safe. Most track days like High Performance Driving Education (HPDE) events even provide you with an instructor. This also gives you a chance to safely push the car to the limits and even past them. This provides much more confidence on the public roads and avoiding accidents.

Corksport Mazda 3 racer

Alright I’m done. I hope you enjoyed this and look forward to the next blog! I’m going for a drive!

 

-Barett @ CS