Mazda’s new entry to the growing TCR category will spend the year being tested and developed ahead of its competition debut in 2021.
Plans to build and race the Mazda3 TCR in 2020 have been abandoned in the wake of Long Road Racing’s unexpected decision to close its doors at the end of the month. LRR, owned by the father of factory Mazda driver Tom Long, was signed to produce the front-wheel-drive turbo hatchback in time for the new season of TCR action due to start in January. LRR is also responsible for building and supporting vast numbers of Global MX-5 Cup cars.
With LRR’s sudden change of direction, Mazda Motorsports director Nelson Cosgrove says the Japanese brand has identified new vendors to build and support its TCR and MX-5 Cup models.
“Glenn Long and the entire Long family have been wonderful partners to work with for many years, and we thank them for all they’ve done with Mazda,” Cosgrove told RACER. “Glenn’s team has been wonderful in assisting with the transition to those who will take charge of the projects, and we expect to make a formal announcement soon.”
Combined with LRR’s upcoming closure, delays in completing the Mazda3 TCR prototype made pushing the program back to a Daytona 2021 debut an easy call to make.
“We’re going to go testing next year and look to put at least 5000 kilometers in before the Mazda3 TCR is submitted for homologation,” Cosgrove said. We’re going to do probably six to eight tests depending on how things go with the tuning of the ABS and ITC and all the other cool systems in the car. We’ve been on the dyno with the Mazda3 TCR, and are already very encouraged with the results.”
Owing to the new and extended timeline for the TCR car’s development, Cosgrove has focused on the needs of Mazda’s Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup series, which starts its season in April.
“When moving away from the big push for Daytona next month in the TCR car, we put our energy into Global MX-5 Cup because we have many teams and drivers to support with upcoming tests and a new championship season coming closer every day.”
Once the TCR project is nearing the end of its testing and tuning phase Cosgrove expects to find a number of partner teams to field the customer Mazda3s.
“I’m excited about where we’re going with the car,” he said. “It’s an amazing machine, very high-tech, and we can’t wait to get it ready and go TCR racing.”