We wanted to take some time to give you all a quick update on one of the many projects we have brewing up here at CorkSport Headquarters.
The project I’m referencing, in general, is our 2nd turbocharger upgrade for the Mazdaspeed 3, Mazdaspeed 6 and CX-7. This unit is a substantial upgrade over our current 18G turbocharger. This Turbo will cater to those looking to take their performance and power goals to a higher level.
Not only will it be capable of putting you well into the 465whp range but this CorkSport Turbo upgrade will be able to do it without giving up on reliability and throttle response.
It will be very beneficial to those who have mildly-built blocks and a supporting fuel system that will allow them to get higher in the HP range.
So, let’s talk about some of the features you can expect on the upgrade and why we decided to utilize them.
Let’s start at the heart of the Turbocharger.
The new CorkSport turbo will take full use of a GTX3076R center housing and rotating assembly (CHRA). The unit is equipped with a fully sealed ball bearing cartridge, which is a nice upgrade when compared to a standard journal bearing unit. We chose to go with a ball bearing unit for a few reasons.
The enclosed design of a ball bearing system allows us to eliminate the need for a thrust bearing, which can account for about 40% of the bearing system drag on the turbos rotor assembly.
Ball bearings reduce the viscous drag, which allows a ball bearing unit the ability to spool up about 15% faster than its journal bearing equivalent.
The next thing you will notice on the new Mazdaspeed Turbocharger upgrade is the holes that are drilled into the compressor cover. These little holes are known as anti-surge ports and are intended to expand the turbochargers compressor map. The ports function to move the surge line further left on the compressor map which gives the Mazdaspeed turbo some more headroom before it falls out of its efficiency island. Anti-surge ports are becoming increasingly more popular in modern performance turbochargers and with great reason. They offer some unique benefits as mentioned and will be fully integrated into our unit.
Last but not least, as with our CorkSport Turbo, this bigger Mazdaspeed Turbo will once-again be a true drop-in unit; minus the 4” compressor inlet.
There will be no cutting, modifying, sourcing oil and coolant lines, running to the store to buy couplers, etc. This unit will come with everything you need to have a trouble-free install. As with the current CorkSport 18G turbocharger, the new Garrett-based design will come with all studs, gaskets, washers, and knowledge that you need to have a nice weekend install.
So keep your eyes peeled as we get closer to delivering more performance for the Mazda community!
– The CorkSport Team
SOURCES: Miller, Jay K. Turbo: Real World High-Performance Turbocharger Systems. CarTech, 2008.
Nannies. One thing we have discovered while racing our Mazda 3 is that the OEM safety systems in the newest generation of Mazda 3 work well, too well in fact for racing.
Each year, new safety features are added by Mazda which make the cars safer and reduces the risk of collisions. This is great for day to day driving and commuting, but it presents a problem if you plan to take your car to the track to race it.
The OEM system in the car really frowns on lifting a rear tire off the ground, or when you get wheel spin accelerating out of a slow speed corner. They design the cars against these things happening for safety purposes (understandably). However, Mazda does give you a button on your dash to turn off the traction control. This gets us racers around the limitations to a certain degree.
Let me explain:
When you disengage traction control, the system which measures yaw/pitch and ensures your car has all the wheels on the ground is actually still working, even with the button off. What the button does essentially is give you a sort of leash with more leeway, until the computer thinks you have gone too far of course, then it will kick in traction control again.
So, how do we get past these nanny systems so we can push our cars for maximum performance?
Can you simply unplug the computer which controls the this? I wish it were that simple, but you cannot. The systems in the car are all tied to each other, and the car may not start, it may not run safely, or it may run in a limp mode. A good example of this in our 2015 Mazda3 is: if you unplug the rear view mirror the car won’t start. The ABS is also controlled by the same unit, and this is very handy to have on the track. The ABS is very good in the Mazda3 by the way, so I recommend you keep it.
The solution we’ve come up with at CorkSport is pretty simple: Leave the computer plugged in and turn it over.
That’s it, simple, nothing else is required. What happens when you turn the computer upside down is the computer loses its physical reference point, so it defaults by turning off the stability control and nannies, but most-importantly, the ABS still functions.
A big word of caution: The computer which controls the nannies also runs the airbags. If you race your car on the track, the airbags will have been removed from your car already. DO NOT drive your airbag-equipped car with the module flipped over.
The reason this solution works for the track is that our Mazda 3 race car has additional safety equipment installed, with the 6-point harness and halo seat, along with the rest of the driver’s safety gear, that keep you from injury in the event of any wrecks.
FYI: When using this “hack”, your Mazda 3 dashboard will light up like a Christmas tree from all of the warnings; but that is a small price to pay for the improved performance while racing.
DISCLAIMER: This modification is for racing purposes ONLY. Doing so will render many of your car’s safety systems ineffective. Installing other safety systems after this modification is essential.
As a car guy, I can appreciate any newly-released automobile despite my individual taste and opinions. I believe every car has its own style, character, and soul, and should be given a chance to win you over.
With that being said, let’s compare the style, character, and soul of two different cars that have found a way into my life this year and see how they measure up against each other.
In one corner of the ring, we have a 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport trim, equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. In the other corner I have a 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback Touring trim, equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
I realize these two cars don’t provide a perfect “apples-to-apples” comparison, but I think the differences will make for an interesting comparison, so let’s roll with it.
Walking up to the Civic Hatchback Sport gives me a rush of being a teenager with a new car, as if I was 17 and my dad just gave me the keys to his coveted R34 GTR (maybe that’s pushing it, but you get the idea).
There’s an overwhelming urge to jump in and fast-track the chiseled 4-door to the nearest curvy canyon back road; not to return till the E light brings me back to my senses.
The hard lines, pronounced fenders, and smooth roofline from hood to end of the hatch tell you that the civic hatchback is here to party, but then there’s more. Bump it up to the Sport Trim to add a little attitude with the piano black finishes, grill, hatch spoiler, and matching front/rear lips and side skirts.
Now that I’ve had my teenage fun, it’s time to throw on the button-up and head into town for an eventful evening… with the Mazda 3.
The Mazda3 gives me a different feeling than the Civic: the more refined and sophisticated appreciation of being a car guy. I walk up to the Mazda 3 Hatchback smiling; wondering which German exotic I’ll be mistaken for today and knowing that I can enjoy cruising the strip just as much as the autocross course at the local track.
The body lines of the Mazda 3 emphasize the beauty of simplicity: long defining curves, with just a bit of a sharp edge, follow the natural shape of the hatchback from front to rear. The curves tie-in with the front and rear fenders, headlights, and the hood line providing a fluid motion style.
The 3rd Gen Mazda 3 Hatchback does not immediately scream “speed”, but it does whisper “sweet nothings” in your ear. What more could you ask for? However, if you are looking for a little more of an aggressive look, then opt-in for the piano black lip and side skirt kit available from Mazda.
Now that we have made it past the sleek curves of the Mazda3, let’s take a seat inside to get a little more up-close and personal.
The first impression of the Mazda3 Touring Model interior is great, to say the least. Strapping in, the black leather seat is plush and supportive with functional but conservative side bolstering. The brushed nickel style accents are purposeful and not overwhelming in the steering wheel, dash, doors, and center console, with the all-black interior broken up with tasteful chocolate/maroon leather in the door panels and center console. Lastly, the beautifully simple exterior curves are brought into the cabin from the door panels and up through the dash. If there wasn’t a large chrome “M” on the steering wheel, I might begin to mistake the Mazda 3 for a more exotic automobile.
Back to the Honda Civic and its more aggressive visual language.
That same language carries into the interior, but in a less-refined manner than the Mazda 3 provides. The Civic’s interior is full of sharp edges, much like the body, and some touches of brushed nickel and carbon fiber print to give it a sporty feel. The seats follow a more functional style with the sports-inspired cloth material, carbon print inlay, and conservative side bolstering. They do the job in creating a sporty look, but leave something to be desired in terms of higher-end quality.
Both platforms have two engine options, both of which are a naturally-aspirated 2.0L 4-cylinder, producing around 155 hp each. Lucky for me, neither the Honda Civic nor the Mazda 3 have those lowly-base model engines.
The Honda Civic Hatchback Sport comes equipped, standard, with the turbocharged 1.5L 4-cyl, putting down an impressive 180 hp and 177 lb-ft, according to Honda. Most inspiring of all is the spirited 1.5’s ability to produce the torque from a meager 2000 rpm and carry it to 5000 rpm before beginning to fall off. Pair this with the slick 6-speed manual gearbox, and a curb weight of just 2868 lb, and you have a very fun daily driver.
Jumping back in the Mazda 3 Hatchback, we have the 2.5L Sky-Activ G 4-cylinder laying down 184 hp and 185 lb-ft, according to Mazda. The naturally-aspirated 2.5 provides alert throttle response and power that continues to build through the RPM range. The peppy feel of the hatchback could be improved a bit if you opted for the 6-speed manual transmission, unfortunately the automatic takes away from the responsiveness a bit. With similar power, the Mazda Hatchback comes in with a curb weight of 3098 lb for the AT, and 3046 lb for the MT.
Looking at the dynographs, you may notice an issue:
Honda’s claimed crank horsepower and torque match our measured wheel horsepower and torque. Did Honda sandbag their numbers? I can neither confirm nor deny, but we are not the only ones to see this in testing. The Mazda 3 dynograph shows a more typical drop in power and torque to the wheels, as the drivetrain does have some parasitic losses that rob power.
Honda vs Mazda Dynograph | Red = Honda | Green = Mazda
Enough about the style and looks, let’s dive into how do these automobiles drive.
Looking at the chassis and suspension, both the Civic and Mazda3 have a 106.3 in wheelbase, 18 in alloy wheels, MacPherson struts up front and multi-link suspension for the rear. Other than the curb weight, we have two very similar vehicles. However, we really start to see differences in the driving experience.
Tossing the Hatchback Sport around corners feels almost effortless; the 5-door is nimble on its feet and eager to respond to every input. The steering is light, bordering on almost numb feeling, but does not show any sign of wandering with inputs. The chassis likes to move around, whether diving into a corner or with body roll through a corner. Despite the moving body, the Civic is predictable and confidence-inspiring. It wants you to rip around low-speed corners with a smile on your face.
Daily driving the Hatchback Sport is also a pleasurable experience; the suspension is not too harsh, perhaps more on the soft side, providing an easy and no-jarring cruise along the interstate. Looking at the lineup Honda has for the Civic this makes sense. The Sport Hatchback stays under the “sport” level of the Civic SI, and if you really want a canyon and track toy, you opt for the Civic Type-R. I do have one major complaint about this model: the clutch engagement is really… disappointing. Tighten this up, and provide a bit more feedback and you can have a real winner.
Now, how does the Mazda 3 hatch stack up against the Honda?
Driving the Mazda 3 again inspires confidence with it’s tidy and playful response to steering inputs, however the steering feels a bit heavier than that of the Civic. The steering provides a bit more feedback and a desired amount of effort; it reminds you that you are driving a full size car instead of a go-kart. The Mazda3 really comes alive through the corners, and you begin to understand why the ride quality has just a bit of stiffness for a daily commuter. The “3” dives into corners with great steadiness, then plants and pulls through the apex. However, the extra 230 lb can be felt, as the car just feels like it’s trying to move more weight around vs the Civic.
For the daily routine, the Mazda 3 hatchback is a joy to drive through the city or on road trips. The slightly-stiff suspension reminds you that the Mazda is willing at any moment to kick it down a gear and have fun, but is still refined enough to sit back and relax. The only criticism I can really comment on is that it feels like the Mazda 3 is really trying to be a “jack of all trades”, unlike the Civic Hatchback Sport. Perhaps, if Mazda brought back the Mazdaspeed or equivalent to the lineup, they would be able to offer more specific performance setups for customers to truly choose what they want, leaving the base Mazda 3 to be a little softer.
Coming back to my earlier sentiment: every car has a style, character, and soul that should be given a chance to be appreciated by any gearhead. Both the Honda Civic and the Mazda 3 have loads of each and love to show it.
When faced with the decision to choose between the two, it’s a difficult choice.
I’m a performance-oriented car guy and I love the fact that the Honda now has a turbo engine in the line-up, so that’s a huge selling factor for me, as well as the boy-racer in me who jumps to put pedal-to-floor every time I look at it. The Mazda 3 Hatch reminds me that I could have my cake and eat most of it too. The exterior is still edgy enough to keep me hooked as a speed-fiend, and the interior is just great, far above what you would expect at the $20k to $23k price point.
Yes, I know, a performance aftermarket parts company has an automatic; I’m right there with you, but there’s a good reason for it. CorkSport has a couple Mazda3 6-Speed Manuals and a couple manual and automatic Mazda 6’s, but no automatic Mazda 3; so it made sense to add that to the garage, especially with the many new performance parts we have in the pipe line. Check those out here.
Now back to the CorkSport’s new 2018 Mazda 3.
The 6-speed automatic comes equipped with three transmission control modes; Standard (default), Sport, and Manual (aka manumatic).
We became curious about how those three modes affected the driving experience, specifically the shift points. I believe we all understand how the Manual control mode works, as it provides nearly 100% control of the shift points, so for the comparison I am going to focus on the differences between the Standard and Sport modes since those are controlled by the ECU.
Driving the car on the street, you can easily feel the difference between the Standard and Sport modes of the Mazda3.
The Standard mode feels soft, relaxed, and maybe even lazy between shifts. It seems to default to the highest gear (lowest engine RPM) possible in every driving situation. This is great for fuel economy, but disappointing for smiles-per-gallon. Push the Sport toggle, and the car comes alive. The engine pulls through the RPM range longer for each gear and seems more eager to accelerate with the slightest throttle input. MUCH better.
The Butt Dyno is great and all, but it’s subjective, so we decided to strap the car down on the dyno to see what is happening; what exactly is changing between the Standard and Sport modes with the CorkSport 2018 Mazda3.
On the dyno, things become much clearer, but first, we had to set up the dyno to provide us with useful information. Typically we are testing wheel Torque and Horsepower, not shift points. It was interesting to play with the various parameters the dyno has available to find a readout that would convey the shift points and the effort the car was exerting. Check out the graph below; this is not your typical dyno plot.
With this dyno plot we quickly see that is much different than the typical readout. I’m going to break it down, so it’s clear and easy for you to understand what is going on.
The horizontal axis is our independent variable in the test. This is the variable/parameter we can control directly in the test. Since we are trying to understand the difference in shift points between the Standard and Sport modes, Road Speed was the logical choice. To be consistent, the throttle input percent for both Standard and Sport modes was held constant throughout the test runs.
The two vertical axis’s are the dependent variables in the test; these are the parameters that depend on engine RPM.On the right side of the dyno plot, we have engine RPM; this is represented by the lines with dots. On the left side of the dyno plot, we have tractive effort, which is essentially the amount of force the tires are applying to the road surface.
Looking at the two graphs, it’s clear that the Sport mode shift points and tractive effort are much different than Standard mode. This is interesting because we can now visualize what we were feeling while driving the Mazda 3 Hatchback on the street.
In Sport mode, the car carries through the engine RPM longer, and the resulting RPM after each shift is also higher. Because each gear is carried to a higher RPM the resulting power is much greater, which is shown with the tractive effort plots.
Finishing statement:Sport mode significantly changes the way the car drives and responds. If you are looking for some fun out in the curves, don’t be shy, hit that Sport toggle and let the Mazda do what it was designed to do best.
Here at CorkSport, we are always working toward the next new product. We create our catalog just like you build your cars. Since there’s so much in development, we thought we would give you all a glimpse into what’s coming for the 2014+ GEN3 Mazda 3.
2.5L SkyActiv-G Turbo Kit
Let’s start with the big one since you’ve all been asking for updates: the 2.5 Liter Skyactive Turbo Kit. We are still making steady progress and are more excited than ever for this Mazda3 Turbo. Our functional turbo kit prototypes are slowly starting to arrive, meaning we are inching closer and closer to having our Mazda3 test car on the dyno (with added turbo noises). Stay tuned folks; this is going to be a fun one!
2014-2016 Mazda 3/6/CX-5 Motor Mounts
We already showed you the new and improved CorkSport Rear Motor Mount, but there’s more to come with the CorkSport Transmission Motor Mount. Check out the CAD model above to see what we’re talking about. Keep tabs on the CS blog for more info on the design and function of this motor mount soon.
2014-2016 Mazda 3 Skid Tray
The CorkSport skid trays have been consistently requested for the Mazdaspeed models; so much, that we brought them back for both the Mazdaspeed3 and the Mazdaspeed6. Now we are providing the same benefits to Mazda3 owners. We just received and test fit our first prototype skidplate, and it’s looking very promising moving forward.
2014+ Mazda 3 Suspension Kit
Need some extra handling and style for your Mazda3 but don’t want the hassle of lowering springs? We have created a kit that includes the CorkSport lowering springs, adjustable shocks/struts, and camber plates all assembled with OE accessories and ready to install. No spring compressors needed, for ease of installation. Coming soon…
2014+ Mazda 3 Front Sway Bar
Reducing overall roll or “sway” can drastically change your Mazda’s handling characteristics. We should be receiving our first prototype to test fit on our Mazda3 any day now are excited to see how it complements the CorkSport rear sway bar. Oh, and the new front sway bar is 3-way adjustable just like our ND Miata sway bars!
2014-2016 Mazda 3 Steering Wheel
Last, but not least, our leather steering wheel will be making a comeback in the coming months. Featuring a similar profile to the CorkSport Mazdaspeed3 steering wheels, it is designed to increase confidence in both aggressive and daily driving while staying comfortable and stylish.
As you can see, we are staying busy with the newest generations of Mazda here at CorkSport, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing we are focused on.
We still have plenty of upcoming products for you Mazdaspeed guys and gals, and for some platforms you may not be expecting. Keep tabs on the CS blog, Instagram and Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss anything!
Until next time,
-Daniel @ CorkSport
What’s in the Pipeline for the 2014+ Mazda3? February 21st, 2018CorkSport
We are working on our blog, We will get you the best Mazda content back up shortly