Mazda Motorsports has finally found some success with its DPI program in the IMSA series, and is following that up with the addition of a new factory-supported racer for the 2020 season. Like all good compact car manufacturers with a motorsport program, Mazda is finally jumping into the deep end of the TCR pool to fight against the likes of Audi, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Alfa Romeo, and Honda.
The new Mazda 3 TCR is homologated to run in any of 36 TCR classes around the world, including the FIA’s WTCR. For now, the car will make its on-track debut in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR class early next year with the four-hour race to kick off the Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend.
In my opinion, this car has made the most graceful transition from street car to TCR spec racer. Mazda’s signature Kodo design language lends itself well to giant badass fender flares, Volk Racing Wheels, a subtle lowering, and a significant aero package. This is a proper touring car design that I genuinely hope translates into a sporty hot hatch version of the 3 for the street.
How great would it be if Mazda brought something to showrooms to take on the Veloster N and Golf GTI?
Masahiro Moro, Chairman and CEO, Mazda North American Operations:
“TCR represents a great opportunity for us to showcase the new Mazda3 and provide our customers another avenue to race Mazda vehicles. Some of our most important successes in IMSA and SRO TC Americas have been thanks to dedicated customers who chose to race with Mazda, and we hope the next generation of Mazda racers see the same potential in the Mazda3 TCR.”
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports:
“The Mazda3 features the outstanding design and engineering that Mazda is known for, and because of that, it is a fantastic foundation for our new Mazda3 TCR. We have looked forward to returning to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for several seasons, and everyone at Mazda is very excited that we will do just that in 2020. We are eagerly anticipating success for the Mazda3 TCR in IMSA, SRO Americas and in TCR championships around the world.”
In keeping with TCR rules, the Mazda 3 TCR features a turbocharged 4-cylinder race-spec engine producing about 350 horsepower. Long Road Racing, which also partners with Mazda to produce the Global MX-5 Cup cars, built a bespoke paddle-shift six-speed transmission to put the power down to the front wheels.
Mazda Motorsports has withheld pricing information for now, but TCR classed cars are cost-capped to 130,000€, so expect the price to fall somewhere in there. This TCR-classed monster will clearly be quite a bit quicker around the track than the Global MX-5 Cup cars, and quite a bit less quick than Mazda’s factory-effort RT24P prototype. If those are the three rungs of your motorsport program ladder, however, they’re pretty strong rungs to have.
We’ll see what how it performs on-track in January. For now, enjoy these totally rad photos of the racer.