Mazda Motorsports, the racing arm of the automaker, took the wraps off the all-new Mazda3 TCR race car (Touring Car Class). Check out the Youtube video below. It looks great! The car is slated to campaign in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Endurance Racing series in the U.S. making its debut in a 4-hour Endurance Challenge at the Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend on January 26, 2020.
Based on the critically-acclaimed hatchback-version of the Mazda3 road car and its use of "Kodo," or soul of motion, design language, the Mazda3 TCR is instantly recognizable. Everything we love about the redesigned Mazda road car is still there ... only better!
But making a race car is about more than just slapping on a big wing and hopping-up the stock motor. Mazda designers and engineers paid careful attention to aerodynamics and race car engineering blending those considerations with the already clean lines and solid foundation of the road car.
TCR regulations are quite extensive as well with cars in the class retaining a substantial percentage of the "stock" car underneath. Suspension components, gearbox, body shell, exhaust system, and engine architecture are either production pieces or original designs. Under the hood sits a TCR-spec turbocharged 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine making 350 hp and paddle-shift 6-speed gearbox courtesy of Long Road Racing. And yes, that's the same Long Road Racing that manufactures the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Car so they know what they're doing.
In some ways, the class hearkens back to the early days of NASCAR racing when cars on the track looked like cars on the street. That's part of what makes the class so exciting and identifiable. While not gratuitously slighting F1, Indy, and even most - if not all - hypercars they are quite removed from my idea of an approachable and desirable car that stirs the soul. But, to each his own.
As noted by John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports, the "...Mazda3 features the outstanding design and engineering that Mazda is known for." For that reason, he is excited to be returning to not only the IMSA circuit, but the SRO Americas racing series and TCR racing. The Mazda3 TCR is homologated to compete in no fewer than 36 TCR sanctioned events across the globe so expect to see a lot of it.
But make no mistake, since the establishment of the Touring Car specification in 2014, it is one of the most competitive classes in all of racing. The Mazda3 will find itself up against the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Audi RS3, Holden Astra, Honda Civic Type-R, Hyundai Veloster, Lada Vesta, Peugeot 308, Subaru WRX STI, Golf GTI, and others. If looks, however, are any indication of success, I think the Mazda3 TCR will do quite well. So don't forget to tune in to see the Mazda 3 TCR race. And remember, buckle up.