Mazda Signals Performance Comeback with Tokyo Auto Salon Unveilings

Mazda Spirit Racing (

Mazda Spirit Racing Concepts Reveal Ambitious Return to Performance Roots

Despite a rich history that includes iconic JDM sports cars like the RX-7, Mazda has been relatively absent from the high-performance scene in recent years. However, a significant shift is on the horizon as Mazda positions itself for a return to the performance market. This strategic move is underscored by the debut of Mazda Spirit Racing’s latest creations – the RS Concept for the MX-5 Miata and the 3 Concept for the Mazda3 Hatchback – showcased at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Mazda Spirit Racing, the brand’s in-house motorsports division, takes center stage in this performance resurgence, marking a departure from the premium-focused approach seen in recent years. Notably, Mazda Spirit Racing steps in to fill the void left by the discontinued Mazdaspeed sub-brand, demonstrating Mazda’s renewed commitment to delivering thrilling driving experiences.

Participating in the Super Taikyu Series since 2021, Mazda Spirit Racing leveraged insights gained from competitive racing to craft the Mazda Spirit Racing RS Concept and Mazda Spirit Racing 3 Concept. With plans to expand into grassroots-based motorsports activities beyond the Super Taikyu Series, Mazda aims to solidify its presence in the performance segment. These concepts feature distinctive styling elements, such as black trimmings and red accents on bumpers, brakes, and side mirrors – a design strategy reminiscent of Nismo cars from Nissan. The MX-5’s interior boasts red accents, including a steering wheel center marker, reinforcing the sporty theme. Both concepts incorporate aero kits, with the Mazda3 Hatchback sporting an additional wing for enhanced aerodynamics.

While the Mazda Spirit Racing RS Concept is equipped with a 2.0-liter engine, likely mirroring the production model, its performance is amplified by a specially developed suspension and wheels. On the other hand, the specifications for the Mazda Spirit Racing 3 Concept are currently under consideration, teasing enthusiasts with the promise of a formidable performer. If these concepts transition to production, Mazda could emerge as a formidable competitor to sports cars from Toyota Gazoo Racing and Nissan’s Nismo division, marking a bold stride back into the high-performance automotive landscape. This renewed focus aligns with Mazda’s broader interest in performance, exemplified by the earlier reveal of the Iconic SP concept featuring a two-rotor rotary EV system at the Japan Mobility Show.