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Mazdaspeed

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Mazdaspeed is Mazda's in-house race and street car tuning arm. It began in 1968 as "Mazda Sports Corner", a tuning and racing operation run by Takayoshi Ohashi, who also ran Mazda's Tokyo distributor. They competed in numerous events at home and abroad, and they were also competitive at the 24 Hours of Le Mans races in the early 1980s with the 717, 727, and 737 before Mazda brought the group to Hiroshima in 1990. In 1991, Mazdaspeed's 787 won at Le Mans, a feat no other Japanese team has managed.

After the FIA effectively outlawed the Wankel engine the next year,<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> the Mazdaspeed team raced one more year at Le Mans in a Piston powered car which came forth, then turned away from professional racing and focused instead on enabling third-party competition of Mazda vehicles. Mazda assumed control of Mazdaspeed in 1999 as a tuning and performance parts operation within the company. In 2003, Mazda debuted its first consumer offered Mazdaspeed vehicle, the 2003 Mazdaspeed Protegé. It was only released to the North American market as an upgrade to the Protegé MP3 and it offered more power — from the MP3's 140 bhp (104 kW) to 170 bhp (127 kW) — by using a T25 Callaway-Garrett turbocharger and an intercooler. It is also worth noting that a 2003.5 model year was produced with a new range of colours and a new, more stylish exterior. Some modifications included new front air dam and a new spoiler. A year after, in 2004, another Mazdaspeed model was offered, the Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata; it too was released only in the North American market. It featured an IHI single-scroll turbocharger producing 8.5 psi (0.6 bar) of boost to further increase power, from 142 bhp (106 kW; 144 PS) to 178 bhp (133 kW; 180 PS) and torque from 125 lb·ft (169 N·m) to 166 lb·ft (225 N·m). Mazda soon realized that these high performance models could be successful outside of North America and would make the next vehicles available worldwide.

In 2006 the Mazdaspeed6 was released globally; it featured the most powerful piston engine ever produced by Mazda at274 bhp (204 kW; 278 PS) and all-wheel drive. A 2007 Mazdaspeed6 model joined a new vehicle, the Mazdaspeed3 — which, with 264 bhp (197 kW; 268 PS) and 280 lb·ft (380 N·m) of torque, was the most powerful vehicle in its class. Mazda is currently working on its latest offering the second generation 2010 Mazdaspeed3 which is slated for Fall 2009 in North America. The newly styled Mazdaspeed3 carries forward the MZR 2.3L DISI turbocharged engine again with 263 bhp (196 kW; 267 PS) at 5500 rpm and 280 lb·ft (380 N·m) of torque at 3000 rpm with refreshed interior, sheet metal, and body kit.

Race branding

Mazda brands a selection of several racing series as the Mazdaspeed driver development ladder. This program, which began in 2005, is run under the aegis of Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development.<ref>http://www.mazdaspeeddevelopment.com/openwheelseries.htm</ref> It presents season winners in a given series with an automatic ride in the next series on the ladder. For example, a champion driver in the Skip Barber BFGoodrich National presented by Mazda will be offered a race seat in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Finally, a champion in Star Mazda is offered a ride in the Cooper Tires presents the Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda, the highest level of the Mazdaspeed ladder.

See Also

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