An all-new Mazda3 TCR race car has been unveiled by Mazda North America, designed and created to compete in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series in the United States, with a four-hour season opener race at the world-famous Daytona Speedway in January next year.
2019 Global MX-5 Cup Champion Bryan Ortiz is the first driver to be announced for the 2020 race programme in the United States.
The Mazda3 TCR has been built to global TCR regulations by Long Road Racing, manufacturers of the Global Cup MX-5. The car will also be eligible to take part in 36 TCR aligned series around the world and will be sold to privateers wishing to compete next year.
Outwardly, the car shares the looks of the all-new Mazda3 hatchback but that’s about as far as it goes. The racing car has been styled by Mazda Design America in Irvine, California, where the designers worked tirelessly to ensure that the competition Mazda3 combines strong aerodynamics and dimensions that are compliant with TCR regulations, couples with stunning looks that blend seamlessly with the clean lines and sporty shape of the roadgoing Mazda3.
Under the bonnet you will find the heart of the car – a turbocharged 4-cylinder 350bhp TCR compliant engine – mated to a six-speed paddle shift competition transmission. This has been developed by North Carolina based Long Road Racing, who constructed the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car.
Long Road Racing will also be providing sales and customer support for the Mazda3 TCR available to privateers racing around the world next year.
Masahiro Moro, Mazda North American Operations Chairman and CEO said: “TCR represents a great opportunity for us to showcase the all-new Mazda3 and provide our customers with another great opportunity to race a Mazda in high-level motorsport. Some of our most important successes in IMSA and SRO TC Americas have been thanks to dedicated customers who choose to race with Mazda, and we hope the next-generation of Mazda racers will see the potential of the Mazda3 TCR”.
Mazda North America’s motorsport programme has one of the most comprehensive motorsport development ladder systems in the world, with the Mazda Road to 24 programme offering a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the racing ladder, starting with the Global Cup MX-5 series. The Mazda3 TCR will add an exciting new rung to this ladder.
Mazdas and Mazda powered cars in American amateur motorsport are so popular in fact, that in the United States alone, more Mazdas are raced on any given weekend than any other manufacturer, which is qiute some endorsement for the brand!
John Doonan, who is Director of Mazda Motorsports said: “the Mazda3 TCR features the outstanding design and engineering that Mazda is known for, and because of that, it’s a fantastic foundation for our new TCR car. We have looked forward to returning to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series for several years, and everyone at Mazda is very excited that we will do just that in 2020.”
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Mazda UK