For SEMA 2009, Mazda introduced us to a pair of the happiest Mazda3 derivatives we've ever seen. Part Le Mans-winning 787B tribute, part rolling showcase (for their Mazda accessories catalog) and part 40th anniversary present to itself, this couple with their odd, knowing smiles was pretty easy on the eyes.
Built by Mazda R&D employees to show off the wide range of accessories available for the 2010 Mazda3 and Mazdaspeed3, these tuner cars also serve as tributes to Mazda's motorsports prowess and to 40 years of Mazda sales in the U.S. The cars are painted in a Crystal White Pearl with gray graphics that mimics the Mazda3 World Challenge race car, which itself apes the look of the Le Mans-winning Mazda 787B from 1991. There are also plenty of other changes in the mix to make these special 3s go like they show.
Both cars get forged aluminum 19x8-inch wheels with 225/40 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires stripped off the RX-8 R3, and KW coil-overs to button things down a bit, but that's about where the similarities end. The 2.5-liter engine in the Mazda3 sedan gets a thorough makeover by World Challenge-contending Tri-Point Engineering. With their Garrett GT2871R ball bearing turbo kit adding 10 psi of boost, the 2.5-liter MZR engine is now making more than 250 HP at the wheels.
The Mazdaspeed3 was already turbocharged but an AEM cold-air intake was added to increase its output by about 20 HP. Like the special Mazda3, this car gets KW coil-overs and the RX-8 R3 wheel/tire combo, but whereas the 3 got brakes from the Speed3 and Mazda5, this car gets four-piston StopTech calipers and floating two-piece rotors that are nearly identical to the ones used on the World Challenge car. We really like this sexy duo from Mazda and think we now know why they're smiling