Mazda unveils sinister TCR touring-car hatchback weapon
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The TCR touring-car formula is all the rage at the moment, namely thanks to plenty of early momentum globally with numerous international championships in play and a raft of different manufacturers somewhat on board. The latest of these brands is Mazda, who today unveiled its TCR challenger based on the Mazda3 hatchback.
Contrary to most of the TCR line-up — a range that includes the Audi RS3, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Hyundai i30 N, and much more — the Mazda maintains many of the soft lines on its road-going equivalent.
Extend your look beyond a simple glance, and you can see the pumped out front and rear guards and the valance that skirts around the 3's base.
The suave hatch will run a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine making around 260kW of power and 490Nm of torque. It'll be produced and developed by Long Road Racing — the same mob at the helm of the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.
“TCR represents a great opportunity for us to showcase the new Mazda3 and provide our customers another avenue to race Mazda vehicles,” said Mazda North America CEO Masahiro Moro.
“Some of our most important successes in IMSA and TC America have been thanks to dedicated customers who chose to race with Mazda, and we hope the next generation of Mazda racers see the same potential in the Mazda3 TCR.”
Other features in the TCR Mazda3 include a 6-speed sequential gearbox, Bilstein coil-overs, Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot, and additional bits from Sparco, Motec, and Tilton along with the standard kit you'd expect in a TCR machine.
“The Mazda3 features the outstanding design and engineering that Mazda is known for, and because of that, it is a fantastic foundation for our new Mazda3 TCR,” said Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan.
“We have looked forward to returning to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for several seasons, and everyone at Mazda is very excited that we will do just that in 2020. We are eagerly anticipating success for the Mazda3 TCR in IMSA, TC America and in TCR championships around the world,” he added.
Whether any of these TCR Mazda3s come to New Zealand to race in the domestic TCR series (which kicks off next January) remains to be seen. For the moment, the leading category that it's set to appear in is the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in the US.
But, given the support that category has already received, and considering that Mazda New Zealand are one of the few brands that spend in the motorsport arena (Mad Mike Whiddett — you may have heard of him), anything is possible.