Shiny Happy Track Stars: The Mazda 3 World Challenge Car

Illustration for article titled Shiny Happy Track Stars: The Mazda 3 World Challenge Car

This goofy little grinner was stuck off in a corner of the Mazda stand at the LA Auto Show. It's not news, but with a face like that, how could we not grab the wide lens and go to town?


Mazda's 3 World Challenge car debuted this year at Laguna Seca. Eric Foss qualified it twelfth and finished eleventh. Tri-Point Motorsports (the same team that campaigned Jeff Altenberg's championship-winning Mazda 6 in 2007) handled prep duties. Call us dorks, but we've raced too many Mazda products to not find this cool. Check the rear suspension! The footwell reservoir mounts! That goofy-ass face!

Hanukkah Harry: A season's worth of running costs. My stocking/menorah pile. 'Nuff said.



I want one. Why?

At roughly 250,000 miles my 1.6l '91 323 mazda still runs like a champ. I say roughly because the odo cable broke more than 2 years ago at 166,732 miles indicated. I ran pizza hut for several years. I drove across the country twice. Good in snow, rain, and gravel. The only real $$ I've spent were on adjustable spring mounts and koni shocks (cost more than I paid for the car).

Whenever I see the new models come out, I can't help but think Mazda got it right nearly 20 years ago on this, the cheapest of models they sold; they've only moved farther from perfection since. The only weak point, as far as I'm concerned, was the factory clutch, which couldn't hold the measly 90-ish HP when new, let alone a couple hundred thousand miles - and some bolt-on go-fasts - later.

But at least I won't have to give it up for a new(ish) work truck... there isn't a dealership in this country that would take it as a trade in.

So, maybe in 20 years or so, I'll get myself a second-hand Mazda world challenge car, and beat the hell out of that one, too. I'll park it next to whats left of my 323.