Mazda made a big splash at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon where it strongly hinted at the return of the rotary sports car. In addition, it brought a pair of tricked-out concepts under the Mazda Spirit Racing banner. While customized cars are a dime a dozen at TAS – it is Japan’s SEMA after all – there’s more to the story.
The Mazda Spirit Racing RS and Spirit Racing 3 are actually going into production. The former is based on the MX-5 Miata sold locally as the Roadster while the latter is the Mazda3 hatchback. Although full details have yet to be announced, the new goodies are currently in development and will be sold under the Mazda Spirit Racing brand.
The intent is to roll out track-focused cars with suspension and aerodynamic enhancements that use lessons learned from the Super Taikyu Series. In addition, the Miata and 3 have been subjected to some cosmetic changes on the inside but there’s sadly no word about a power boost for either. Previously, MX-5 Program Manager Shigeki Saito announced “very cool special editions” are on the way for the lovable roadster, although that doesn’t necessarily mean more potent engines are planned.
Meanwhile, both these concepts share the Mazda Spirit Racing logo and ride on Rays wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires. Based on the recently launched ND3, the Miata has a pair of Recaro bucket seats with a racing harness and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with a red 12 o’clock mark. It also flaunts a body kit with decals, enlarged exhaust tip (instead of two smaller ones), Brembo brakes, and blacked out badges.
The Mazda3 has an unusually large front splitter, enlarged side skirts, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler. It too has bigger exhaust tips and darkened badges, along with Brembo brakes and what looks like a stiffer suspension judging by the lower ride height. Body-hugging Recaro seats, red stitching, and Alcantara details spruce up the otherwise standard cabin.
We’re getting the impression Mazda Spirit Racing is evolving into an indirect revival of Mazdaspeed. Hopefully, the rotary sports car previewed by the Iconic SP concept will sit at the top of the lineup.