It’s been a while since Mazda last had a true performance division. Mazdaspeed quietly died off with the BL-generation Mazda 3 MPS in 2013 with no real signs of a return. With the move to electric in full swing, you’d be forgiven for losing any hope of a comeback. However, much to our surprise, a spiritual successor is on the way.
Mazda Spirit Racing will become the new performance arm of the Japanese manufacturer, offering more track-oriented versions of its existing petrol-powered cars. It used the Tokyo Auto Salon as an opportunity to launch the brand, which will take learnings from racing efforts in the Super Taikyu series in its homeland.
There’s no word yet on any exact production products, but Mazda used an MX-5 and a 3 to showcase what Spirit Racing could offer in the future. In the case of the MX-5, along with re-worked suspension, it’s been given an extended front splitter and side skirts, Rays alloy wheels (albeit with Spirit Racing center caps), a new bumper, and a fist-sized exhaust exit.
More importantly, it also had a reworked suspension and Brembo brakes fitted. New Recaro bucket seats with harnesses are added as well, along with an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel.
There’s a similar treatment for the Mazda 3 as well, with a near-identical bodykit to the MX-5. Brembo brakes feature here, too, as do Rays wheels and similar interior upgrades.
What hasn’t been confirmed by Mazda is if either car has any form of power boost, or indeed if they will get one should they make production. If not, it wouldn’t be the first time a Japanese manufacturer has done everything but add power – it only takes a look at the current state of Subaru’s STI division.
Let’s hope Spirit Racing doesn’t follow the same path, and we’ll see a true return of Mazda’s performance cars.