(File pix) The Mazda3 TCR. Courtesy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: We did the first impression drive of the Mazda3 on Sepang Circuit a couple of months back and loved how it handled.

Well there is no sign from Mazda of producing a more intense version of the 3 to battle in the hot hatch category, but at least the Japanese premium marque has the Mazda3 TCR.

This is easily the meanest-looking TCR race you can buy today. Yes, you can purchase it to compete in the TCR Touring Car racing.

According to Masahiro Moro, chairman and chief executive officer of Mazda North American Operations, “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 in International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) sports car championship and Stephane Ratel Organisation (SRO) Touring Car Americas has 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.”

Due to FIA regulations, the Mazda3 TCR is largely based on the attractive road-going version of the 2019 Mazda3 hatchback, but has gained more pronounced aero work around the car including a massive rear wing.

The aero works include a chunky, flat front splitter, deep side splitters and a rear diffuser with exhaust tip located right in the middle of the rear bumper.

(File pix) The Mazda3 TCR. Courtesy Photo

It rides on 18-inch Rays wheels with Michelin Pilot tyres, and gets Bilstein or optional Ohlins dampers.

Under the hood of the Mazda3 TCR is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that revs up to 7,000rpm and produces a healthy 350hp and 490Nm of torque.

Power is channelled to the road via a six-speed SADEV sequential gearbox or an optional Xtrac kit. This configuration will enable the TCR racer to reach a 241kph top speed and stop effectively thanks to a set of Brembo brakes.

Director of Mazda Motorsports, John Doonan said, “We have looked forward to returning to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for several seasons, and everyone at Mazda is very excited that we will do just that in 2020.

“We are eagerly anticipating success for the Mazda3 TCR in IMSA, SRO Americas and in TCR championships around the world.”

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