A hot version of the Mazda 3 hatchback may have alluded us thus far, but there is now at least a racing version. And my - does it look smashing.
It’s the Mazda 3 TCR, so-called because Long Road Racing - the company also responsible for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car - has designed and built it to the ‘TCR’ regulations that underpin 36 championships worldwide.
So, if you buy one - and it is indeed available to privateers - you’ll have no shortage of options when it comes to racing it. The competition-spec 3 will be able to go wheel-to-wheel with TCR machines like the Honda Civic Type R and the VW Golf GTI TCR.
As well as offering the 3 TCR to punters (judging by other TCR cars, we suspect it’ll be about £100,000), Mazda will be fielded a works effort in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. The full driver line-up hasn’t been announced, but Mazda has said that 2019 Global MX-5 Cup Champion Bryan Ortiz will be part of it.
The car he’ll be driving is powered by an inline-four turbocharged petrol engine. This sends 350bhp to the front wheels via a six-speed sequential racing gearbox.
Although it still looks like the road-going 3, much of its bodywork is new and made of fibreglass. TCR cars sit much wider than their production car equivalents, thanks to the addition of fat slick tyres plus bespoke suspension uprights and wishbones. And yes, there’s no shortage of wings and other aero bits on these cars.
Want to see the car in action? The Mazda 3 TCR will be having its competition debut next January during the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge’s four-hour race at Daytona Speedway.