How to Get A 900 Horsepower Mazdaspeed 3 AWD Swap – The Intro

Have you ever felt like you try and try and try, but just can’t get the traction to make forward progress on your Mazdaspeed 3 car build? Ya, it happens to the best of us and the 2022 season was my time…both in literal traction and life.  

If you haven’t seen my build yet, the @halfmilespeed3, go check it out.  It’s an awesome combo of DIY, Teamwork, Innovations, and CorkSport goodies you all love.

Mazdaspeed 3 custom intercooler setup

Back to this traction conundrum.  Racing an 800+hp FWD Mazdaspeed 3 on small airport airstrips with no prep and plenty of dust has proven to be challenging.  There have been many successes and many challenges, but ultimately it comes down to those two tiny patches of rubber that meet the road.


Yes, Motec helped substantially with traction control and Justin’s ramp-up in power delivery also helps, but really…I just didn’t have any damn traction.  Sticky tires with meaty sidewalls also help, but again traction was such an issue!  There had to be a better way!

Wheel & Tire Setup:  

Front: Toyo TQ 255/50 on 16×8+38

Rear: Toyo R888R 255/40 on 17×9+45

Mazdaspeed 3 best tires setup for power

And there was and I had been talking about the idea for a year or so already.  Then life happened. 

As you can see with the racecar; I like to go fast.  I carried that enthusiasm into my love of mountain biking one day in June 2022 and well…I got a lesson in physics let me tell you. 

Five broken ribs, a double punctured lung, level 3 AC separation, and a fractured collar bone and scapula.  Resulting in weeks of hospital stays and three surgeries; then months of recovery and physical therapy.  Let’s just say the 2022 season did not go as planned. 

But it did get me focused on solving my traction problems…

Mazdaspeed 3 drag racing 800 hp CorkSport
Mazdaspeed 3 performance parts racing
Mazdaspeed 3 with CorkSport Mazda Performance Parts Back (AKA HalfMileSpeed3)

The Goal…Mazdaspeed 3 AWD Swap

So I decided it was time to stop talking about it and actually take action (well as soon as I physically could that is).  I made a plan and figured out the details and order of operations to finally get my traction back.  

It was time to AWD Swap the Halfmilespeed3.  

While I am not the first to do a Mazdaspeed AWD swap. I did have a goal to make my build unique in the sense that the AWD swap is catered to racing performance.  Meaning the strength of custom parts and the rear suspension design and the new fuel system are capable of handling the 4-digit horsepower goal I have and the abuse of racing.  

Talking horsepower…what does the car make right now?

Dynograph of Mazdaspeed 3 AWD Swap 800 WHP

This is at a modest 40-41psi using a Xona Rotor 9569s with the X3C compressor housing and 1.03A/R turbine housing.  Later Justin @freektune and I turned it up a bit more to see how close we can get to the 600wtq threshold and hold it.  Clipping off an 881whp run…damn!  This was supported by the many CorkSport Mazda performance parts you can get for your Mazdaspeed as well.  From engine mounts to manifolds, anything that isn’t a one-off custom is CS. 

Anyways…I have since updated the compressor wheel to a 99 lb/min design compared to the above 95 lb/min design and a larger compressor housing which is more efficient.  This setup has not been dyno tested yet, but talking to the engineers at Xona…2023 is going to be spicy!

Mazdaspeed 3 XONA rotor turbo 9969s

Close up because who doesn’t like billet turbo shots!?

XONA rotor X4C Mazaspeed 3

Dare I say this is the largest turbo in the stock location ever on a Mazdaspeed?  Go ahead…prove me wrong. To compare, this competes with a Precision 6870. 

Mazda 3 performance parts awd swap Mazdaspeed 3

The Start of the Mazdaspeed 3 AWD Swap

Anyways, this is the introduction to my Mazdaspeed 3 AWD swap here at CorkSport HQ.  I actually started the swap in October 2022 and have been making big steps each month.  We are going to be sharing blog updates rapidly as I wrap up the swap over the next couple of months. 

There will be much more technical info and images coming up so grab a drink and enjoy!

Mazdaspeed 3 team SSRE CorkSport

You can also find updates on my IG @halfmilespeed3, the CorkSport 7th Gear Membership, and on

Thanks for tuning in!

-Barett @ CS

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B-Spec Racing

B-Spec Mazda 2 racing action at Indy

The following post is from a race prep shop Chris Taylor Racing Services out of Texas. Chris purchased our Mazda 2 B-Spec car we built back on 2012 and it is still out racing and winning after a decade of use on the track.

The first race of the 2020 SCCA Hoosier Super Tour was at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. It would be my first time to drive this iconic track, and to say I was excited was an understatement. As is my typical fashion, I watched a few videos on YouTube, made a few notes on what I thought would be important corners to figure out, but otherwise went wholly unprepared. Going with me would be Kent Carter in his Mazda2 that got a full front end rebuild halfway through the 2019 season after he loaned it to somebody, and Tony Roma rented my blue Ford Fiesta, while I borrowed one of my customer and friends Jon Over’s Mini Cooper.

B-Spec Racing at Sebring

Before we get to the weekend, a little back story! Jon and I drove his Mini in a fun enduro at MSR-Houston in December, and it was there driving my red Fiesta in one stint and the Mini in the other, and watching the Honda’s and Fiesta around MSR that I decided the Mini was taking an automatic rifle to a knife fight… the car was so smooth and planted that I figured going to what everybody says is the bumpiest track on earth would make up for any shortcomings the car may have. And given that I was able to chase down and pass the 2019 National Champion in the car at MSR-Houston, and it didn’t have the new header, I really thought I’d be able to shine at Sebring!

So off we go, with a little detour through Houston to pick up some Spec Racer Ford’s to deliver to Sebring… but not before the trailer frame decided to crack over the rear axle and set the trailer wall on the tires! After a 6 hour wait and an amazing mobile welder, I was back on the road, even arrived in Sebring just a few hours after load-in opened! Kent and I signed up for the Thursday test day, having never driven Sebring, while Tony did his practice on iRacing. Joining us in B-Spec for the weekend were Joe Gersch (who skipped the test day as well but did this race last year) and a newcomer to B-Spec but a local to Florida, Bob Iverson. Bob was kind enough to let us follow the first 2 practice sessions and speed up our learning process, then he handed the car over to his coach for the third session. While Terry Borcheller drove off into the sunset in Bob’s Honda Fit, I was able to run under the track record in my third session on old scrub tires!

Friday comes and our morning practice is good but the track feels dirty and slow, I run an OK time but not what I was doing the day before. The afternoon qualifying is unpleasant with all the traffic, and it seems with the Prod cars any time we try to come up with a Plan to get good laps, the old adage attributed to many but originally from Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, “No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength” continues to rear its ugly head for us. I’m able to put the Mini on the pole, but not run laps like I was on Thursday. This part of the plan is still OK as I figure we’ll be able to run faster times Saturday morning with cooler temps as long as the track is clean. 

Helmuth, or Murphy, or whoever it is rears their head Saturday morning and a small downpour occurs during AM Qualifying, so not a single one of us in B-Spec goes out. Which is nice, because I still get the pole! My first EVER, much less at a Super Tour! I’ve always said I’m not a qualifier, I’m a racer… but apparently I can run a quick lap every now and then! Thankfully the race is dry, we’re doing a split start so we’ll have a few laps before we catch the backmarker Prod cars, and I’m stoked. As I’m new to the Mini I’m still learning the sweet spot in the rev range, and I was in the wrong gear and wrong RPM for the start, which makes for an exciting one. I slot in behind Bob out of T1 and plan to just push him away from the other cars so we can get a good gap and battle it out at the end. Finishing the first lap I get a hell of a run out of 17 and clear Bob into T1, but going into T7 I touch the rumbles inside and the RF axle snaps! I spend the rest of the race watching from outside the guardrail in T9 as Joe and Tony duke it out after Bob had a tire go down, with Joe ultimately getting the win! Kent rounded out the podium.

Once I confirm its an axle, the odyssey of finding one in central/western Florida begins. First a parts house just up the road says they have one. When we get there it turns out it’s not for a 1.6L, hatchback, 5 speed. Evidently Mini uses a different axle for everything, I think even different color cars have different axles! Thankfully Kent was my chauffeur and drove and helped find the proper axle at a 24 hour Autozone warehouse/parts counter near Tampa, or I’d have not raced Sunday! With the proper axle in hand we got back to the track at 11pm, and I decided then I’d just wake up early and put the axle in in the morning. 

With a new axle and a bit of apprehension, we take the green Sunday and my cousin and his son are there to cheer me on! The announcers got word of our axle adventures and talked about me at length as I drove away from the field, Bob dropping out with an engine issue after a few laps. With my first Super Tour win well in hand, I come upon a Prod car that I’m lapping for the SECOND TIME, unfortunately in a standing yellow zone (this would be the second lap we’ve passed this standing yellow), and he decides to come nearly to a complete stop before the incident. Not wanting to pass under yellow, I come to a nearly complete stop in Turn 16 too, which leads onto the back straight, and now Tony and Joe have been able to exit 16 at full tilt and overtake me. The B-Spec cars are not powerful and it takes me a lap to get my momentum back, and thankfully as we go through 17 and onto the front straight no white flag so I’ve got 2 laps to get by both of them! I follow for most of that lap and get a huge run out of 17 the next lap coming to the white flag, past Tony, and what-the-holy-hell-why-are-they-waving-the-checkered as the overall leader passes us at the line… because I guess his 15 second lead over 2nd place wasn’t enough to let us finish our race.

So it was a rough and tumble weekend, but I came away with a track record, a 2nd place, and my customers brought home 3 trophies! So while my weekend generally sucked, it was highly successful and a good way to kick off the 2020 season! 

Full race video from Sunday is above and track record lap are posted on my YouTube, check ’em out and give me a subscribe if you like hatchback / pizza delivery car content! Some cool postcards, B-Spec shirts and G-Loc Brake Pads are for sale through this and my other website, — pick up some sweet B-Spec merch today!



3rd Time’s the Charm…Racing at the SCCA Nationals

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 line.  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 to 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 torsion-style differential in the car which works pretty well in a straight line and relatively flat tracks.  Sonoma is not a flat track that 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 the front inside tires are 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.

Mazda CorkSport car racing

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 was 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

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The Race Car Romance

I recently had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite up-and-coming racers and wanted to share with you some of her advice and story. This is just an awesome look into the winning mentality of one of SCCA’s Wendi Allen Scholarship prominent women Racers! From where she started to where she’s headed and some info in between, you’ll get a chance to hear direct from Johanna Foege in this interview.

Mazdaspeed 6 racing car

How long have you been racing? What got you started?

My brothers both got involved with auto-crossing while I was in college and were always trying to convince me to come out and race with them. It wasn’t until the end of 2011 when a friend offered me a co-drive in their Mazda3 (and a year after I purchased my first MazdaSpeed3) that I finally gave it a try.

At that first event, I ended up taking first in my novice (open) class of 7, on my first run, nonetheless! Naturally, I was immediately hooked.

Gray Racing Mazdaspeed 3

What have been the best outcomes for you since starting racing?

This year I received the SCCA Wendi Allen Scholarship. I suppose this means that I’ve made enough positive impressions on SCCA members to have been nominated for this award, which is intended for young women drivers that show promise at driving and inspiring other women. This scholarship has made a crazy year of racing possible for me, and I’m so grateful to have received the recognition and the opportunity to compete in 8 national tour events throughout 2018!

What have been your best standings thus far?

My first taste of victory was at a local event in Champaign, IL when I took the fastest run of the day (out of all the drivers), in the Mazdaspeed6 back in June 2014. I’ve only made it to one National event which was in September 2017 at Lincoln, NE, but I managed to trophy there, finishing 3rd in my class. And just last week at the Championship Tour Event in Peru, IN, I managed to finish 16th out of 275 drivers.

What do you believe is the best MOD for racing – if you had to pick the best one?

I think this entirely depends on your car and the kind of racing you do! For autocross, the rear sway bar has been my favorite in my Mazdaspeed3, as it helps combat the understeer, pushy front-wheel drive characteristics. My favorite mod on the Mazdaspeed6 has been the custom valved, high spring rate coilover setup since that car has relatively soft suspension and a lot of body roll from the factory.

What is your favorite MOD – other than the Driver Mod, which we know you invested in already?

If awesome tires count as a mod, definitely that! All other mods depend entirely on how much grip your tires have on the surface at any given moment. This applies to the street, too. Also, have you seen our Hoosiers?

What has been the most memorable mistake you’ve made on the track?

At 2017 SCCA SOLO Nationals, I had a KILLER run- 0.7 seconds faster than the rest of mine, and 0.5 seconds ahead of first place in my class. I’d been working on looking ahead while driving throughout the year and was doing such a good job of this that I hit a cone that was right in front of me on that run. I remember seeing it at the last second and thinking, “There’s no way I’m getting around that now!” What I didn’t know at that moment, was that cone was going to cost me first place at my first Nationals.

Mazdaspeed 6 Track racing

What is your best advice for other Drivers starting out?

Take a school, ask people for help and advice (and be receptive to it), and don’t give up! Don’t be too hard on yourself, driving skills take a long time to polish, and do come more naturally to some people. In the end, racing is really about mental preparation, confidence, and ambition composure on course.

Why do you believe women in racing is important?

I think it’s time we see a paradigm shift about the activities that women (and men) pursue. I’m all about supporting whatever healthy hobbies people find themselves interested in, and I don’t think there needs to be gender stereotypes associated with any of them. I love to see women participating in motorsports because it serves as a reminder to all that we are on the same playing field as men, and are capable of just as much. As more women enter the world of racing, I really hope it opens the door to other ladies feeling comfortable pursuing what has historically been an atypical interest. I just hear way too many women say “That’s so cool that you race, but I could never do that!” You can, and you should give it a try!!! Maybe someday, they will.

SCCA Women Racers

Lastly, feel free to add anything you’d like the public to know about you, your car or your racing experience!

I’ve made efforts in the Mazdaspeed (forum) community to support and encourage all members, but particularly other women, to participate in the sport of autocross. I’ve taken part in organizing four different national meets, and assured autocross was on our schedule at each one. I also made myself available to instruct at these events, and really focused on getting the women members to take part with me. I’ve gotten several of the local member’s girlfriends into the driver’s seat at autocross events as well. It has been rewarding to watch them find enjoyment from it and help them grow into better drivers, as many have found it easier to learn from a fellow woman, than their significant other, lol.

Mazdaspeed 6 woman racer

My teammate and partner of 5 years, Clint, and I live nearly 600 miles apart. He’s been my inspiration, engineer, coach, mechanic, and best friend all along, and I credit him for bringing me to where I am today, and for building us an amazingly capable and unique car. I just started a blog to keep track of our long-distance relationship racing adventures this year, as well as driving tips, goals, and my progress through each event!

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Drag Racing: Just Like the First Time

Ask any of my friends or coworkers and they will quickly tell you “Barett Loves Curves!”

 I’ve always been the first guy to dive into the corner, hit the apex and power out with just a touch of wheel spin.  My car follows suit with its build; upgraded sway bars, big brake kit up front and the steering wheel to hold it all together.  Of course, my friends were always there with the peer pressure to hit 1320Luke McCarvel being the biggest offender (check out his “Drag Strip Checklist”).   However, one day my opinion changed.  

At some point I realized that I can’t knock it until I try it, so I finally succumbed to the straight line life.

So let’s go through the first line up:  Do a burnout…that was much easier than I expected.  

Ok now roll up to the staging line…don’t be that guy that rolls through and has to back up.  Knuckles white on the steering wheel, heart beating in rhythm with the launch control, closely watching the tree light up…GREEN LIGHT!  Launch…wheel spin to redline. Shift…wheel spin to redline. Shift…try to modulate the throttle, but still tons of wheel spin. Shift…finally the car hooks, builds speed then it’s over in the blink of an eye.  

All that build up waiting in line, doing the burnout, staging, launching and rowing the gears for a few seconds of intense adrenaline.  It was an absolute blast; I couldn’t believe how intoxicating just a single pass was. I wanted more and I wanted it immediately. Back in line, I went.  

My first pass was an awkward 14.37sec @ 119.8mph.  I say awkward because that is a slow ET for the trap speed.  It shows just how much tire spin I was fighting and how much time I was giving up because of it.  With full interior and street tires this was to be expected, however, the crowd thought it was quite funny either way.  

I proceeded to make 3 more passes as the night progressed.  Each time making a small change to the car or to my approach and control of the launch and throttle modulation.   Each pass rewarded me with a small improvement for my efforts. Each pass down the strip left me wanting more from the next pass.

The third pass was the most frustrating of them all.  At the start of the night, I set a personal goal to break into the 12s.  I didn’t know if it was realistic or a complete dream, but I had to start somewhere.  That third pass was also the one that drove me to get my shit together because it teased me with a 13.000sec @ 120.95mph.  So Close!

Alright one more pass, this was the one I could feel it.  30 minutes later I’m staring at the burnout box, line up drop 2nd and get the tires nice and hot.  Pull up to staging next to a real crowd killer (I mean Mustang).  

Yellow… yellow…yellow…….GREEN LIGHT!

Launch…little wheel spin to redline.  

Shift…little more wheel spin to redline.  Shift…modulate the throttle with only a tiny bit of wheel spin.  Shift…now the car really hooks but I’m a few lengths behind that Musta…oh shit there’s the turbo…I’m reeling him in…it’s so closeI fly past him with the rev limiter dancing.

 It’s over…deep breath…that was it I know it.

Now the quick jaunt to the end of the strip then back to the little building and the old guy that’s been racing since flatheads were a thing.  

“Car 610?”

“Yes Sir”

“Here’s your slip.  Is that a Maaazda?”

YES! Hit my goal for the night and the car can still drive me home.  I call that a success.

I parked my car, picked up my 120+mph club sticker and enjoyed the rest of the night with my good friends from Idaho Mazda Takeover.  It was a great night and one I plan to top in the near future.

Anybody have some stock brakes and drag slicks I can borrow?


-BS @ CS