The hot hatch world desperately needs a road-going version of this.
Mazda is introducing a hotter version of its gorgeous Mazda3, but before you get too excited, you can’t legally drive it on public roads. That’s because this a thoroughbred race car specifically engineered to comply with the TCR regulations, therefore eligible to take part in any of the 36 TCR-sanctioned championships around the world.
It’s largely based on the attractive design of the 2019 Mazda3 hatchback, but it has gained a massive rear wing and fender wing flares. Other noteworthy changes include a chunky front splitter and a prominent rear diffuser with a single exhaust tip positioned right in the middle. It sits on 18-inch Rays wheels with Michelin Pilot tyres and uses Bilstein or optional Öhlins dampers.
At the heart of the Mazda3 TCR is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that revs up to 7,000 rpm and produces a meaty 350 bhp and 361 pound-feet of torque. All that power is channelled to the road through a six-speed SADEV sequential gearbox or an optional Xtrac setup. The hardware configuration enables Mazda’s race car to top out at a respectable 150 mph and stop efficiently courtesy of Brembo brakes.
The Mazda3 TCR will take part in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and is scheduled to receive its racing debut with the four-hour Endurance Challenge part of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Sunday, January 26.
While a race car is fine and dandy, we can only hope Mazda will develop a street-legal version to take on the likes of the limited-run VW Golf TCR. It would be a good opportunity to revive the Mazdaspeed3 moniker, but this is all just wishful thinking at this point. The Zoom-Zoom company has said it could technically give the compact model a more powerful engine, but there are no plans in the immediate future.