Making Your Speed3 Handle

In my last year of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah I was able to participate in the Formula SAE program. The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a student design team to develop a small Formula-style race car and then the prototype race car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. When deciding what team I wanted to be on I chose suspension because I knew the real trick to making a fast car is designing a great performing suspension and tuning it to perfection.

In the formula SAE program, the suspension is unrestricted except for safety regulations. Most teams opt for four-wheel independent suspension, almost universally double-wishbone. Active suspension is legal. Unfortunately most of us can’t design a one off suspension for our everyday cars but we have the ability to upgrade and tune our suspensions to achieve handling nirvana.

The Mazdaspeed3 is a great platform to tune on for power and handling, however it is a heavier front wheel drive (FWD) vehicle and some measures need to be taken to minimize understeering. If you are not familiar with understeering, it is when the car doesn’t want to turn as much as you are telling it too. Many of you may have experienced this in other FWD vehicles over the years and know that this tends to be a universal problem. Actually, most production cars are designed to understeer from the factory for safety reasons, but it is especially prevalent in FWD cars. With a few tricks you can make your car handle much better and minimize unwanted understeer.

The first step I would suggest to achieving a great performing suspension is upgrading the rear sway bar. The CorkSport Rear Sway Bar is adjustable to help you tune your car to your driving style. By installing a stiffer rear sway bar, the car will want to lose traction in the rear first instead of the front, reducing understeer. If you go stiff enough, the car will begin to oversteer in hard corners, so we recommend starting in the outer-most position with our Rear Sway Bar. If the car feels like it’s still understeering, move the end link to a stiffer setting. If you feel like the car is oversteering too easily, move the end link to a softer position.

For the next step, the CorkSport Front Sway Bar would be a good path. Anti-Sway Bars do more than just keep the car from rolling side-to-side when cornering; they help with the weight transfer of the vehicle during a turn. Normally most of the vehicle weight wants to transfer to the outside tires, but a stiffer sway bar helps weight transfer more evenly, which means the outside tires won’t lose traction as easily. The reduced roll of the vehicle can also help increase driver confidence by improving the cornering potential of the vehicle.

With stiffer sway bars, more of the suspension loads are being transferred into the chassis. To combat this, extra bracing is helpful to keep the chassis rigid. CorkSport produces a great 1-Piece Front Strut Tower Bar that helps transfer the loads from the struts onto the car more evenly between the strut towers. The CorkSport Rear Chassis Brace Set also reduces rear chassis flex by 15% which can help the stiffer sway bar in the rear by putting more force on the chassis. If you don’t want the full set you can also just get the Rear Chassis Brace that ties together the rear shock towers which will still help out greatly or you can get a CorkSport Chassis Brace to replace the stock chassis brace underneath the car which will increase the stiffness of the chassis between the front and rear suspensions.

Once you have gotten to this point your chassis is well braced and your sway bars have reduced the weight transfer during cornering, but there are still a couple more things you can do. CorkSport’s newly released Lowering Springs will lower your car’s center of gravity and increase the spring rate over your stock springs. This provides a stiffer ride that will increase the handling performance of your car while still being great for the street. Not only do they add to the handling of the car, but they will also improve the look by giving your car a more aggressive stance and decreasing the gap between your wheels and fenders. Be careful not to over-lower your vehicle. While it looks good, it can negatively affect the suspension geometry by throwing off the roll center of the vehicle. The CorkSport Lowering Springs decrease the ride of your vehicle to achieve a great look while maintaining the geometry of the suspension.

After springs, upgrading the dampers would be the next suspension improvement I would recommend. CorkSport sells Koni Sport (Yellows) for the Mazdaspeed3. Koni is world renowned for their great Sport series shocks. These will replace your factory front struts and rear shocks and give you adjustable rebound to help dial in your Mazda’s ride.

In this post I have laid out a great path to making your Speed3 handle even more brilliantly than it already does, but remember, for those of you who autocross, check your rule book to see if any of these upgrades will force you to change to a faster class.

If you have any questions about these products please feel free to gives us a call or shoot us an email, we are more than happy to talk to you. Thank you for supporting CorkSport.


Roadracing Around in Mazdaspeed 3’s

Back in 2009 Mazda decided to get the then new 2010 model year Mazdaspeed 3 involved in road racing in the ST class of SCCA Grand Am racing. This pitted the Mazdaspeed 3 up against VW GTIs, Kia Fortes, BMWs, Honda Civics, Porsche Boxers, and even Mazda MX-5s along with a host of others. The variety of vehicles that can compete in this class makes the field of cars immense at these events. In the recent Grand-Am 200 race, 45 different cars were represented.

The bodies of the cars competing have to remain stock in most aspects. Modifications allowed in the ST class are limited to bolt on performance items along with various suspension parts that will hold up to the rigors of road racing and all cars competing get a boost in safety with roll cages, seats, and fire suppression equipment. The tires are one size only for the Mazdaspeed 3, 225/45/17 Continental Extreme Contact Tire.

This year, there are two teams racing the Mazdaspeed 3 in the ST class, I-Moto Racing and Freedom Autosport.

I-Moto Racing has a three car team lead by the team owner Glenn Bochinno and includes past world challenge driver Pierre Kleinubing who used to drive Acuras (welcome to the darkside Pierre). Despite challenges faced due to the Grand Am making a performance adjustment resulting in a boost reduction due to a new “Altitude adjustment”, they have seen their share of successes.

Mark and Matthew Pombo finished 2nd in March at the Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca and returned to the podium for a 3rd place finish in June after a flawless race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.

Also featuring the Mazdaspeed3 in their stable is Freedom Autosport. After two full seasons in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge campaigning Mazda MX-5’s, Freedom Autosport added two Mazdaspeed 3 teams driven by Jason Saini and Nick Igdalsky in one car and Eric Foss and Brad Rampleberg in the other. Brad Rampelberg and Eric Foss gave the team their first podium for the speed3 during the B+ Foundation Heroes 200 at New Jersey Motorsports Park on July 23rd. The third place finish came after the car underwent a complete overhaul in just a week’s time by the Freedom Autosports crew

Mazda looks to have the Manufacturers championship wrapped up with one more event left to go at the Emco Gears Classic at mid-ohio on Sept 16th. The race will be televised on Sep 25th at 12:00 pm EST so be sure to check out the race.


CorkSport Top Mount Intercooler Development Process

The idea for the CorkSport Top Mount Intercooler (TMIC) was originally developed from a thread started by azmavhockey3 on the Mazdas247 forum. This idea exchange by Mazda owners on the forum lead to an in depth development process that included several design iterations, prototype testing, sample testing and finally production testing. The end result was the recently released CorkSport TMIC that provides solid power gains at a great value.

The following graphic demonstrates the development and testing process for the CorkSport TMIC.

(Click Here to download a pdf of the TMIC Development and Testing Infographic)

Read More About the CorkSport TMIC


Featured Car of the Month – July 2011

CJ Ramos: 2008.5 Mazdaspeed 3

Seattle based, CJ Ramos, was dreaming of speed from the moment he test drove his 2008 Mazdaspeed 3. He was immediately attracted to the car because of its competitive price point and the positive praises it was receiving from the media, but it was way that the car handled and performed during the test drive that sold him on making the purchase.

Mazdaspeed 3(1)

Since then CJ has invested time and money into his Mazdaspeed and it has paid-off. He has won numerous awards for his ride, the most recent being the 2011 NOS Forum Fest – 1st Place Best Mazda 5Door – and aside from being sponsored by CorkSport and Speedware Motorsports, he was also the 2009 Hypertech SEMA booth car and has been voted car of the month and car of the year on the Mazda3forum, where you will regularly catch him doling out great advice and discussing the latest in Mazda performance with other like minded enthusiasts.

Mazdaspeed 3(1)

The mods on his Mazdaspeed are numerous. The engine and drivetrain feature a CorkSport turbo-back exhaust, , which includes the CorkSport downpipe, racepipe, and cat-back exhaust. He also added a CorkSport FMIC and stainless brake lines, a CPE motor mount, Devil’s Own Meth Injection Kit, PTP fuel pump internals, Cobb Access Port, Forge bypass valve and TWM short shifter. The mods on the suspension and wheels help to control this powerful car with COBB Front and Rear Sway Bars, KW V2 Coilovers, SPC Rear Camber Kit, GTSpec Bracing, Enkai NT03+m 18×9.5 and Goodyear Eagle GT All-season tires.

Not only is this car fast and powerful, but it looks and sounds amazing thanks, in part, to some extensive interior and exterior mods and full sound system that include an Autoexe JDM Front Bumper, Carbon Fiber OEM style hood, angel eye kit, CorkSport skid plate, Sparco R700 Alcantera Seata, Alpine PDX1000.1 1000w Subwoofer Amplifier, Alpine PDX100.4 100wx4 Multichannel Amplifier, and six 6.5” Elemental Designs e3.6 subwoofers.

Mazdaspeed 3(1)

As a new father of baby boy, Avery, CJ joked “I was telling people that if and when I become a father, I wouldn’t have to trade in my car. The trunk can hold all of the stroller and baby gear and the 4 door format can make taking the baby in and out easier than a 2 door coupe.” He said, “But now that I have a kid, the car is filled with show car goodies like my Speedware harness bar and a subwoofer trunk setup.” Fortunately, CJ’s fiancée and best friend, Lanie is caring and totally supportive of his car modding addiction.

You can catch CJ and his Mazdaspeed at Import Faceoff and Battle of the Imports this summer or can catch him online on any one of the five forums he frequents,,,,, or

Interested in submitting your car for our new featured car of the month? E-mail Me!

Gwynne –

Full List of Modifications:

Engine & Drivetrain
– Corksport Turbo-Back Exhaust- Both Cats deleted
– Downpipe
– Racepipe
– Cat-back exhaust
– Corksport Front Mount Intercooler Kit
– relocated intake to the OEM TMIC location
– turbo inlet
– front mount intercooler
– Corksport Stainless Steel Brake Lines
– CPE Motor Mount
– Devil’s Own Meth Injection Kit
– PTP Fuel Pump Internals
– Cobb Access Port – Stage 2 OTS map
– Forge Bypass Valve
– TWM Short Shifter

Suspension & Wheels
– Cobb Front & Rear Sway Bars
– KW V2 Coilovers
– SPC Rear Camber Kit
– GTSpec Bracing
– mid chasis brace
– ladder brace
– rear v-brace
– Enkei NT03+m 18×9.5
– Goodyear Eagle GT All-season 225/40-18

– Autoexe JDM Front Bumper
– Carbon Fiber OEM Style Hood
– 3M Di Noc Vinyl wrapped roof
– Nextmod generic rear spoler extension
– 35%/20% window tint
– 6000k HID Headlights and Foglights
– Angel Eye Kit
– Clear Corners
– Rally Armor mud flaps
– rear wiper delete
– Corksport skid plate

– Sparco Steering Wheel
– Sparco R700 Alcantera Seats
– NRG hub and flip up system
– Blox 490g Neo Chromeshiftknob
– Redline Goods shift boot
– Speedware Harness Bar

– Pioneer AVH-P4000dvd InDash DVD player
– Alpine PDX1000.1 1000w Subwoofer Amplifier
– Alpine PDX100.4 100wx4 Multichannel Amplifier
– DLS up6i Component front door Speakers
– Image Dynamics 5×7 rear door speakers
– Six 6.5inch Elemental Designs e3.6 subwoofers

Other Mods
– Hella Supertones
– MSD Dashhawk
– Valentine 1 Radar Detector

– 2009 SEMA Booth Car – Hypertech
– Currently Sponsored by Corksport Mazda Performance Parts and Speedware
– Motorsports
– 2010 NOS Forum Fest – Best Mazda
– 2011 NOS Forum Fest – 1st place Best Mazda 5door
– 2010 GaragePlus Import Car Show – Best Mazda
– 2010 Battle of the Imports – 2nd Place Mazda
– November 2010Car of the Month
– 2010Car of the Year