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Mazda Spirit Racing previews potential return of in-house tuning arm

A posher take on Mazdaspeed, perhaps?

These two concepts herald the possible return of a sporty Mazda. PHOTO FROM MAZDA

In the past, Mazda was known to be that fun, sporty brand with an iconic tagline of “Zoom-Zoom.” It even had its own in-house tuning division that originally started as a grassroots racing team, known as Mazdaspeed.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a single car from the marque since the 2013 Mazdaspeed 3, or any parts bearing the name for current models. One might think the brand’s premium push is the final nail in the coffin for a sporty Mazda, but it appears otherwise.

At the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon, the company’s booth presented its Mazda Spirit Racing brand front and center with two concept cars, the Spirit Racing RS and the Spirit Racing 3. These two cars were developed with the concepts of “Speed” and “Texture” in mind.

Could we be seeing a potential Mazdaspeed 3 revival with this concept? PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

Both cars are based on the production models of the Roadster and the 3 Hatchback, but these focus more on handling and aerodynamics. The former is courtesy of an uprated suspension that allows for a “comfortable ride on the road” and also “improved control and handling on the circuit.”

As for the aerodynamics, these new bodykits you see on the two cars are not just for show, as the manufacturer says that they have been “cultivated through participation in endurance racing,” as Mazda Spirit Racing fields both cars in the Super Taikyu endurance series.

A Mazda Spirit Racing MX-5 would be the perfect way to send off the ND generation. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

Other than the aero kit, both of these cars are finished in the new Aero Gray color, and share a few common parts, like the six-spoke Rays wheels that both conceal Brembo big brake kit, the Alcantara interior trimmings, and the Recaro bucket seats.

And here’s the exciting part: Both of these cars are currently under development, which means that we will most likely be seeing these two make it into production one way or another.

Whether that means we’ll be seeing full special-production models or parts that the consumer can buy after, we’re glad to see Mazda renew its commitment to the sportier side of the brand, especially after it unveiled the Iconic SP concept car at last year’s Japan Mobility Show.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.