Mazda Announces Production for Hardcore MX-5 Miata RS
Mazda ignited its fanbase at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon by hinting the legendary rotary engine could return in an upcoming sports car. But it also used the event to confirm two tantalizing performance concepts are actually bound for production.
Dubbed the Mazda Spirit Racing RS and Spirit Racing 3, the concepts build on the latest MX-5 Miata and Mazda3 hatchback. While light on specifics, Mazda says its Spirit Racing sub-brand plans to brew up properly track-tuned versions of road cars like these prototypes.
Expect production counterparts later this year flaunting suspension, aero and styling upgrades distilled from the automaker’s racing efforts in Japan’s Super Taikyu series. Don’t hold your breath for extra horsepower, however. Earlier hints of “very cool special editions” likely refer more to limited cosmetics and handling.
Nonetheless, the TAS show cars provide templates of what to expect. Both ride on Rays wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza rubber meant for performance duty. Recaro buckets with harnesses, Alcantara touches and racing-inspired trim dress up the cockpit.
The Miata concept adds aggressive aero appendages, quad exhaust tips, blacked-out logos and Brembo brakes over the recently updated ND platform. Compared to the tamer Miata RF, it’s properly menacing.
And while absent any power boosts, the Spirit Racing trio still represents a spiritual successor to Mazdaspeed’s revered performance line. Especially if topped by a rotary-powered halo model, as teased by Mazda’s Iconic Vision concept from 2022.
So for diehard Mazda fans, 2023 kicks off with sky-high potential. Not only could a next-gen RX-vision materialize, but the entire brand seems poised to rediscover its inner race car driver. If the TAS concepts deliver on their production promises, a renaissance of driver’s cars appears close at hand.