I have been racing Mazdas on the track in wheel-to-wheel competition since 2013 and I have learned quite a bit.
I am nowhere near being the best driver. I have good moments and plenty of “WTF Derrick” things which happen on the track which are masked by good car control.
2 years ago I bought a Spec Miata (SM). Locally the number of B-Spec and Touring 4 classes are smaller. This is not great for me, as I find my racecraft suffers when I get too big events where there are more than 5 cars and the racing is close. I can always fight my way to 2nd or 3rd place but the top step has been elusive. Don’t get me wrong, I can go to events where there are other T4 cars (they are not unicorns) but the travel cost, time away from CorkSport, and fuel gets pricey really quick when constantly towing to southern California.
I took the SM out a few times last year and found I was way off the pace I needed to be to even get into the top 25% of a Ppec Miata field at any events. The Northwest has a really strong group of SM racers who are more than happy to beat the illusion out of you that you can drive fast on the track.
This year I have been working on the car setup and updating the drive train to the best I can get for my car. I worked with Haag Performance to get one of their SM 1.6 engines which have been winning races up and down the west coast. I have been also talking with Joe Jordan on car setup and general SM advice as he has gone down this road before with multiple SM drivers including Joey Jordan and Will Rodgers to get them to the top.
Before the season started I knew I wanted to get some top-level coaching so I looked locally at Pro Drive Racing which offers race school for SCCA certification and high-performance driving classes. After few emails finding which event I should show up with my SM it was determined the June 5th high-performance school would be the best bet and I could get someone on one coaching with Todd Harris the head instructor.
I have struggled with the braking too much in the corners, as past instructors/coaches I have consistently mentioned this to me. I needed to overcome this if I was going to have a chance to match times with the top 25% of the field. With Todd strapped into the “Thrill Seat”, we hit the first session at speed so he could see how/what I doing and work on it.
This was a good news and bad news sort of ride. He found my approach and driving style to corners works but it was not the fastest way through them – I was giving up cornering speed and to be able to get back to the throttle quicker. By simply backing up my braking zones I had more control in the corner which allowed me to stay committed to the throttle without having to modulate it after the steering wheel was turned. This doesn’t seem like a huge thing but the feedback from the SM was drastically different. I was able to roll speed into the corners and carry a few more MPH. Heading onto a straightaway this is huge. I spent the rest of the day fine tuning the changes and making sure they stuck with me.
By the time this blog goes up, I will have raced again at the Oregon Region SCCA event at Portland Intl Raceway and found out how much the school improved my driving technique. If I don’t screw it up too bad I should be able to take a second out of my lap times which in SM is HUGE! The weekend of June 29th I will be at Sonoma racing against 40 other SM drivers to really get a feel for where I am at skill level wise, I am prepared for this to be humbling, lol.
So, my advice to you, if you ever have a chance to take a driving school I really recommend it and specifically Pro Drive if you are in the Portland Oregon area. They run a great program and you get one on one seat time with some of the best local drivers and instructors.
Look for future updates here at the CorkSport the blog on how it went.
Yes, I said the “A” word, but before we dig into the detail let’s talk steering wheels in general.
The steering wheel in your Mazda (and most all other cars) is probably one of the most used yet disregarded parts of the vehicle. Its round, it has buttons for controls and the horn, and in modern cars and airbag which could save your life one day. More or less we don’t notice because it just works, but what if we could make that a much more exciting part of your Mazda?
There are few, if not any, other components that you interface with more than the steering wheel so why not give it the attention it needs without sacrifice? At CorkSport we did just that.
Every CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel is designed with you, The Driver, in mind. We want you to be connected to your car and the experience it can provide you every single day. The performance design is inspired by race only steering wheels without the sacrifice. Thick grips with countered thumb grooves provide a secure and comfortable control surface. High quality smooth and perforated leather is used for durability and breathability in tense driving situations. These all come together without compromise, retaining your OEM controls, horn, and most importantly the airbag.
Now back to that “A” word…
A few years ago we introduced the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel for the 2nd Generation Mazdaspeed 3. We were super excited to bring such an awesome performance part to the community and even more stoked by how much love that steering wheel has received over the years. Today we are happy to announce that a select few of the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheels are getting some extra awesomeness real soon.
Say it with me…Alcantara…
That’s right; we’ve heard you and we’re calling you out. In a very short time, we will be launching the Alcantara Leather option for the 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3, 2016+ MX-5, and 2014-2016 Mazda 3.
If you’ve been on the edge about a CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel; well the wait is over. I can’t say enough what a change a steering wheel makes to the driving experience. It really is like getting a whole new car and now it can be even better with Alcantara.
Despite not being the ideal season to pull the top down, we have been busy giving the CorkSport ND Miata some love. Unfortunately this love does not come in the form of another CorkSport Performance part, but instead better takes advantage of your CorkSport Performance parts thanks to the Versatuner Tuning Solution.
With that, we are proud to announce our partnership with Versatuner and the ability to provide to all models supported by Versatuner.
Back to the 2016+ Mazda MX-5; working with the Versatuner Tuning Solution we setup pre-calibrated tunes that are designed to work with the CorkSport Performance Cold Air Intake System, Cat-Back Exhaust System, and the combination of the two.
Jumping right to Power Pack 3, that combines the CorkSport Cold Air Intake and Cat-Back Exhaust; you see a power increase of 9 wTQ and 13 wHP using 92 octane fuel. These aren’t just peak gains either, power/torque increases from 3000rpm up to redline which has been increased to 7400rpm. If you are not ready to pull the trigger on the CorkSport CAI and CBE together, then check out Power Pack 1 and Power Pack 2.
Power Pack 1 offers a combination of the CorkSport MX5 Cold Air Intake and Versatuner Tuning Solution with a pre-calibrated tune.
Power Pack 2 offers a combination of the CorkSport Mx-5 Cat-Back Exhaust and Versatuner Tuning Solution with a pre-calibrated tune.
What’s great about the Versatuner Tuning Solution is its flexibility to provide data logging, tune editing and diagnostics troubleshooting with any installed parts and any fuel type. The CorkSport pre-calibrated tunes are designed for 92 octane fuel, so we do recommend having a custom tune performed for your MX-5 if 91 octane is the highest grade fuel available in your area. Those of you with 93 octane fuel need not worry, but there could be more to ring out of your little 2.0L Sky-G with custom tuning.
Lastly, you might be wondering why the Power Packs have any significance to you? Well along with power, aesthetics, and glorious noises, we are able to cut you deal when you get the combination of CorkSport Performance parts and Versatuner Tuning Solution. We’re here to make modifying your Miata easy and fun.
Thanks for tuning in with CorkSport Performance.
-Barett @ CS
Versatune Packages for Mazda MX-5 Miata April 12th, 2018CorkSport
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.
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
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!
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.
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
Owner: Jennifer Year/Model: 2014 Mazda 3 2.5L Hatch Mileage: 100,000
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
2018 CorkSport Garage Update March 1st, 2018CorkSport
An interesting article popped up a few days ago in which a John Dagy a journalist with Sportscar365 was discussing the TCR class of car with John Doonan who is the head of Mazda Motorsports program.
I have been following the TCR series for a while now with some interest in it as the car Mazda offers which fits best is the Mazda 3, and I enjoy the time I have had racing CorkSport’s Gen3 Mazda3.
What is nice about the series it is meant to race four-door saloons, all with a 2.0 turbo motor and a price capped ceiling of 135,000. Most people would freak out a bit with that price but what you are getting is a fully developed car with a spec sheet. Each manufacturer designates a builder whether it be themselves or a shop to assemble the cars and provide support.
Mazda is in an interesting spot, they have their successful Global MX5 cup series and the IMSA Prototypes with Joest, but there is a middle ground hole that has been filled with the older NC Miatas. With the NCs not being a current production model, it makes sense to get something in there to fill in the blanks.
In the past, Mazda had used the Mazdaspeed 3 as the basis, and it did well capturing the championships in PWC and IMSA ST class, but the lack of a turbo model makes this a challenge.
One option out there would be to use one of our upcoming 2.5 Skyactiv Mazda 3 turbo kits and bridge the gap so to speak to have a powerplant. Granted the turbo kit is for the 2.5 but with enough encouragement and feedback from people, the 2.0 kit is looking likely.
Work on some aero and really good suspension, and you would be set. Maybe I am just daydreaming too much at work again….
Mazda 3 TCR January 3rd, 2018CorkSport
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