DG MOTORSPORTS – AWR MAZDASPEED3
At first glance, the DG Motorsports AWD MAZDASPEED3 may look like the stereotypical SEMA show sport compact, but the truth lies hidden beneath. MAZDASPEED, DG Motorsports and AWR teamed up to build much more than the average tuner car.
David Green, owner and chief designer of DG Motorsports, felt that the awesome power potential of the MAZDASPEED3 could be seriously enhanced by all-wheel drive. Since David drives a MAZDASPEED6 every day, he knew the potential. With the genius of Tony Woodford at AWR, he transplanted the drive-train components from several Mazda platforms of the MAZDASPEED6 and CX-7 into the chassis of MAZDASPEED3.
The brakes received a minor makeover courtesy of new pads and rotors.
The enhanced stoppers hide behind 18-inch Rays wheels, which have been fitted with sticky Toyo R888 tires. Considering the tire choice and a ride height that’s 1.5 inches lower than before, one should assume this car has been set up for an asphalt stage. In deference to David’s expertise with styling enhancements, the care has been fitted with several custom carbon-fiber pieces, ranging from the front spoiler to the rear aero diffuser. Also note that the body is slightly wider than stock and there is a carbon-fiber ram-air hood scoop to help the engine ingest cold air.
The air enters by way of a cold-air intake into an engine that is otherwise stock. That’s no bad thing, since the factory turbocharged inline-4 pulls hard even at speed. With the help of a custom dual exhaust, the engine is said to be good for an additional 30 horsepower over stock, so we’re talking a total of 293 hp.
Inside, it’s all business. Sparco seats equipped with Sparco five-point racing harnesses replaced the stock pieces. There’s little left of the factory interior, with a lot more raw paint visible than plastics and carpeting.
This project that started of with a 2007 MAZDASPEED3. With the help of Mazda’s R & D group and Mazda’s parts bin as well as quite a bit of custom fabrication, DG Motorsports and AWR have been able to put to rest the compromising acceleration nuances and bring to full life the amazing performance that this car should have been given. Borrowing from the Mazda 6, the MAZDASPEED6 and the Mazda CX-7, the project began to take shape. Other supporters include Fuel Safe, ARP, Hawk Brakes, Bilstein, and Vogtland Springs.
Initially, the factory rear sub frame was modified to accept the rear differential from a MAZDASPEED6. A rear sub frame from a 4wd CX-7 was adapted to the car, utilizing the CX-7 differential at the same time. The suspension components were modified and items were fabricated to give us the camber and toe changes that were needed along with the track required to keep the wheels tucked inside the rear fenders without using extreme wheels or flares.
The rear outer suspension, spindles and brakes were also taken from the CX-7 that allowed a bigger rear brake caliper, vented rotors and internal emergency brake set up. The control arms were modified to fit into the MAZDASPEED3 chassis. The CX-7 has an extreme ride height compared to a MAZDASPEED3, and since the car was going to be lowered, there were unexpected interference issues. Modifying the front mounting points where the trailing arms attach to the chassis cured these issues.
Bilstein built a set of special rear shocks to fit the specifications. AWR also fabricated a new lower main control arm, which incorporated adjustable ride height capability and houses a Vogtland 2.5” x 7” rear spring.
Oceanside driveline, a company that builds all of our specialty driveshaft projects, built us a two-piece driveshaft for the project. The factory unit from the MAZDASPEED3 donor was a 3-Piece unit with large vibration reducing bearing hangers. Our decision to go to 2-piece instead of three allowed us to fit the new 3” stainless exhaust system along the floor tunnel which was not large enough for the larger 3-piece drive shaft, bearing hangers and exhaust system.
The end result; The MAZDASPEED3 that should have been.
Contributors: James Tate – Edmunds, Teri Leigh – Teri Leigh Design, AWR