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HomeNewsMazda announces new racing sub-brand – Shows off sporty MX-5 and Mazda 3

Mazda announces new racing sub-brand – Shows off sporty MX-5 and Mazda 3

Mazda has just dropped a bombshell with the reveal of its all-new racing sub-brand, which will be known as Spirit Racing (SR).

The new sports division was recently teased at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon where it debuted two prototype models based on two of the carmaker’s most iconic nameplates – the MX5 and the Mazda 3.

A new contestant enters the ring

The announcement of a dedicated racing development team will no doubt come as a welcome surprise to fans, as it has been decades since the brand last made a deep dive into the world of motorsport with its MazdaSpeed performance arm, which actually won a victory at the famous Le Mans 24h race in 1991, writes Top Gear.

“For the first time in 25 years since MazdaSpeed, we have established a factory motorsports division—Mazda Spirit Racing,” said Mazda’s new president, Masahiro Moro, at the Tokyo event.

That’s not to say that the company has had no sporty endeavours in recent times, as it has been competing in Japan’s Super Taikyu series since 2021.

The decision to break into the market with a new racing sub-brand is likely driven by the success that other manufacturers have seen, with a few examples being Hyundai’s N, VW’s R, and Toyota’s GR divisions.

Mazda, like many other automakers, has shifted towards SUVs over the last decade with its CX-badged models due to changes in global tastes and demand, but it is clearly not giving up on its slimmer options if its two SR examples are anything to go by.

One of these is the legendary MX-5 roadster, while the other is the Mazda 3 hatchback – a car that continues to be a fan-favourite even though crossovers and SUVs like the CX-30 and CX-5 have gradually chipped away at its market share.

Unfortunately, the Japanese firm has not published any powertrain information for either car, so we can’t get a sense of how they will stack up against potential rivals just yet, but the media event did divulge a handful of other details of what audiences can expect.

Mazda MX5 SR interior. Credit: Top Gear UK

For starters, the SR badge appears like it will be associated with a signature Nardo Grey paint scheme complemented by Gunmetal Grey accents, similar to the Performance Blue theme used by Hyundai N, or Toyota GR’s black, red, and white aesthetic.

The display models also show black and red touches on the bonnet, grille, and side mirrors while the doors have Spirit Racing decals, and the bodies themselves have larger front splitters and side skirts.

The MX-5 will still be delivered with a soft-top convertible roof, and the Mazda 3 has been given a new carbon-fibre spoiler.

Mazda 3 SR interior. Credit: Top Gear UK

Both vehicles get stiffer suspension and are equipped with red Brembo brake calipers, and the wheels are fitted with six-spoke Ray’s alloy rims wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza high-performance tyres.

Inside, the performance cars feature Recaro bucket seats and have a red-and-black theme for the dashboard and the Alcantara steering wheel.

No launch date has been announced for the public debut of Mazda’s Spirit Racing brand, so it will likely still be a while before customers will be able to take one of these cars home.

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