Mazda have become the latest marque to join the ever-growing TCR touring car formula ahead of the 2020 season, with the new Mazda3 TCR having been revealed by the Japanese brand’s North American division.
Offering an aggressive take on the Mazda3’s signature ‘kodo’ design language, this new car certainly has presence. The project hasn’t been taken lightly under the skin either, with countless hours being spent making sure that the Mazda3 is competitive in its class, but still compliant with the TCR regulations.
Speaking of the regulations, the car will utilise a turbocharged 350 horsepower four-cylinder engine as required, which has been married to a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox system.
The engineering project behind the Mazda3 TCR has been overseen by Long Road Racing; the people behind the highly successful Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car.
For now, the main focus for the marque is to deploy the car in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, as the American market is one that Mazda holds in high regard. However, as the vehicle has been built to the universal TCR regulation set, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be seen all around the world in other regional and national championships, so long as the interest from customer teams is there and the car passes its homologation tests.
But, looking ahead to the car’s American debut, the first driver confirmed to get behind the wheel of a Mazda3 TCR in 2020 has already been announced. This year’s Global MX-5 Cup champion, Bryan Ortiz, will step up from the one-make series into the more prestigious IMSA-organised championship.
The Puerto Rican driver is understandably delighted with the opportunity. Here’s what he had to say:
“To have this opportunity that Mazda has given me is a huge honor,” said Ortiz. “Mazda gives aspiring drivers an opportunity that no other company does, and that’s to advance to the next step in their career. Now that I am the Global MX-5 Cup champion, I’m proud to represent Mazda and have the trust of the company to race the new Mazda3 TCR. Now, I’m focused on working with everyone at Mazda Motorsports to be ready to the first race at Daytona in January.“
CEO of Mazda North America, Masahiro Moro, went on to explain why the company felt a need to take part in the hugely popular TCR formula:
“TCR represents a great opportunity for us to showcase the new Mazda3 and provide our customers another avenue to race Mazda vehicles. Some of our most important successes 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.”