2017
01.16

There’s nothing worse than being all dressed up with nowhere to go, right? Whether you’re itching to try out your Mazda 6’s new added power, your Miata’s updated handling, or you simply need a more scenic background to snap a new photo of your Mazdaspeed 3’s dope hood scoop, sometimes a trip down the road to the grocery store just doesn’t cut it. If you’re as passionate about the roads you drive as you are about the mods you install, or you’re simply looking to vary your daily driving route, this list of some of the best roads in the West will inspire you to take your Mazda to new frontiers.

Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon

Since the Pacific Northwest is near and dear to our hearts, we’ll start with an amazing drive that’s close to home. Hop on U.S. Route 30 in Troutdale to begin the 75-mile journey to The Dalles that features a bit of everything that makes this area of the country stunning: tall trees, Columbia River views, waterfalls, and Mt. Hood. The winding, curvy road is a dream to drive, and you can stop along the way at sites like Multnomah Falls and Bridge of the Gods for photo ops with your Mazda.

Highway 101, Oregon

One of the few gorgeous natural features Oregon is known for that you can’t find along the Columbia is the ocean, but this coastal drive takes care of that. Some folks may take this route to tour historic lighthouses, but we love 101 because it allows you to trace the sweeping curves of Oregon’s rugged coastline from Astoria all the way to the California border. You’ll enjoy fresh salty air, great seaside driving, and loads of Oregon breweries to check out if you want to stop for the night and sample the local flavor. Remember that it takes a few days to do the drive even cruising speedily in your modded ride.

 

Three Rivers Highway, Oregon

Whether heading to or from the coast and Highway 101, the Three Rivers Highway (aka Oregon Route 22) is a twisty, curve-laden, extremely fun drive. It’s not the best when it’s dark and rainy, as visibility can get bad, but this trip from Salem to the ocean is a great ride to test your handling on. It’s also located right in the heart of CorkSport’s local region!

Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington

Head north up I-5 for one of the most rustic scenic drives you can conquer without four-wheel drive. You can enjoy the great outdoors no matter which Mazda you’re in! This 330-mile trip features beaches, lakes, hikes, and camping as you circle Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. All of it, except your Mazda, of course!

State Route 1, California

One of the most iconic American roads, right up there with Route 66, is the 655-mile route that stretches most of the length of California. On this journey, you’ll hit San Francisco, Los Angeles, and all the stunning coastline in between — the road even goes over the Golden Gate Bridge. The Pacific Coast Highway section through Malibu is another highlight you won’t want to miss on California 1! And it’s a great place to show off your ride to California girls, naturally.

State Route 12, Utah

Also known as “A Journey Through Time” Scenic Byway, this meandering desert drive gets you out of those tree-lined Pacific Northwest roadways and ocean drives and into some staggeringly impressive canyons and rock faces. Crossing through Bryce Canyon National Park as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this road won’t simply allow you to put your handling to the test; it offers scenery perfect for that new profile pic of you and your Mazda you’ve been meaning to take.

State Route 12 Utah

Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

Though you can take U.S. Route 550 all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado, it’s the stretch between Silverton and Ouray in Colorado that will really wow you. The guardrail-free drive through Uncompahgre Canyon features narrow roads with steep drop-offs, so exercise caution. But hugging these mountain curves is definitely a thrilling drive. The road is often closed in winter, so check conditions before you prepare to zip through these bends. After this drive, if you feel like continuing the road trip, Route 50 through the Curecanti National Recreation Area is another great drive that winds along with the Gunnison River.

Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Montana

What better drive to take than the route along the first road built by the National Park Service specifically for automobile-using tourists? Following the Continental Divide through Glacier National Park, this strip of pavement winds its way around, and even through, the Rocky Mountains. Offering great views and engaging driving, isn’t it about time to convince your lady to take that educational vacation to a National Park she’s been begging for … so you can drive your Mazda through these sick curves?

The High Road to Taos, New Mexico

Looking for a drive that feels like you’re in a foreign land, but don’t want to worry about shipping your Mazda to Spain? The High Road to Taos, aka State Road 503, needs to be on your list. A 56-mile scenic route through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this road features loads of great, twisty driving, but watch your speed as you’ll head through villages along the way. If you want to skip the slowdowns, check out the “Low Road.” State Highway 68 is a quicker route, but it follows the Rio Grande and delivers some great views!

The Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia

Let’s not forget the asphalt of our neighbors in the Great White North! Picking up west of Vancouver by Horseshoe Bay, the Sea to Sky Highway follows Highway 99 all the way to Pemberton. Formerly a bit dangerous, the road has been improved so you can safely zip through the craggy Canadian coast up into the snow-capped mountains. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you could always opt for Highway 1, aka the Trans-Canada Highway, which takes you all the way to the east coast. But we’ll stick to recommending the easier-to-reach Sea to Sky HIghway for now!

 

This list should get you started on some exhilarating Western drives to add some fresh scenery and fresh curves to your Mazda driving. If you have other great western drives, drop your recommendations in the comments. And if you follow up on these recommendations, tag us with #CorkSport when you post to Instagram!

2017
01.06

Oh, winter and the holidays. It’s an amazing and stressful time of year when we hope all the time spent shopping for that perfect gift for our lady means we get the karmic payoff of loads of CorkSport parts in our stocking — or, even better, when they’re rad mods too big to fit in a stocking! (If you didn’t get that special CorkSport part this year, or you’re still shopping for the Mazda fanatic in your life, check out the last-minute holiday gift guide).

 

Now that we’re past focusing on holiday madness, it’s time to get back to thinking about your Mazda. ‘Tis also the season of winter weather and slick, sludge-covered roads. At CorkSport, we’re here to help with that. We don’t want you to fret about snow damaging your ride or how a trip to the mountain for snowboarding might fill your car with salt-filled snowmelt, so take a look at these Mazdaspeed 3 mods you’ll want this winter.

Mud flaps

CorkSport Mazda Mud Flap

Branded with a stylish CorkSport laser-etched logo, these 80A durometer 1/8” thick urethane flaps protect your baby from the abuse of road debris and snow buildup. They’re heavy-duty enough to keep your vehicle in great shape, but durable and flexible enough to hold up to wear and tear — they won’t peel, fade, rust, or break. Fear no road with these bad boys installed, which only takes about an hour!

Floor mats

CorkSport Mazda Floor Mats

If you know the snow’s about to hit, it’s easy to grab a trash bag to lay down and protect your car from the snow that’ll drip off your shoes. But who wants to pick someone up for a ride with garbage bag-lined floors? And nothing ruins a good entrance like stepping out of your ride with a trash bag accidentally stuck to your shoe. Our floor mats are the accessory you need to protect your vehicle from the winter weather and look good doing it. With OEM fitment that delivers show car quality, these mats feature a fully sewn and sealed edge along the high-quality carpeting to deliver a long lasting, durable floor protector.

Car cover

Don’t make the mistake of simply trying to protect your Mazda while it’s on the road. Keeping your car covered during the winter weather is crucial. With a five-layer composite structure to protect against all forms of water — even falling icicles that can cause scratches — this cover also keeps your ride safe against the additional UV rays that bright white snow banks can bombard your car with in winter. Even better, this cover comes with a tie-down and adjustable buckle so it won’t blow off during winter storms.

Aluminum skidplate

CorkSport Mazda Aluminum Skidplate

Winterizing isn’t just about protecting your car’s good looks. You want to protect that undercarriage as well. Don’t put in all that hard work just to let a snowy, salty, gravelly road mess it up! Made of a single piece of 0.090” precision machined aluminum to deliver maximum coverage with minimum effect on your vehicle’s weight, the skidplate also features an opening that makes oil changes a breeze. You can hit those winter roads with peace of mind that your hard work isn’t going to get dinged up along the way, no matter what the weather.
These winterizing tips should help you start preparing your Mazda for the months ahead. If you have tips and thoughts of your own based on cold weather experience, we’d love to hear them in the comments below. And, if you apply any CorkSport mods to prepare for the snow, make sure to share them with us using the hashtag #CorkSport on Twitter and Instagram!

2017
01.03

In the car game, there are two big shows each year where all the action happens: the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) and Performance Race Industry (aka PRI). At these events, automotive parts companies flaunt their accomplishments, showing off their latest and greatest mods and parts, while everyone gets a chance to network, catch up, and just generally ogle and chat about gorgeous vehicles. We here at CorkSport love to keep up on what’s hot and new in the automotive industry, so this year we headed to Indianapolis for PRI to see what auto trends are being developed.

First Impressions

CorkSport at PRI

As we first entered the convention center, the stage was set. The picture above features the main PRI banner, which prominently displays some dirt mod cars. That can only mean one thing: PRI would be showcasing a lot of American muscle and, probably, not a lot of imports. Regardless, we braved the show.

The Cars, The Parts, The Highlights

Wandering the aisles of the show, our suspicions were confirmed. PRI had more American muscle than the lineup of cars Vin Diesel will drive in the next “Fast & Furious” movie. But, as we navigated the aisles, we were greeted by a sight for sore eyes — an import you can never go wrong with — a Le Mans-winning P1 car.

Corksport at PRI Mazda

When it comes to performance cars, it doesn’t matter if the car is an import or a domestic, one good thing about them is turbos. Good news from the show is that it looks like Garrett doesn’t have any plans slow down on their production of turbos anytime soon, for themselves or for the Mazdaspeed 3. They had some great tech on display, which is never a bad thing. Feast your eyes on these beauties.

CorkSport at PRI - NP01

Next, we came across a nice surprise in the NASA booth — a paint scheme that any Mazda enthusiast should know. The NP01 is more than just rad-looking, it’s powered by the 2.0 MZR motor and a large selection of other drivetrain parts making it very affordable when it comes to cost to own and cost to race. If you’re in the market for a race vehicle and cannot afford one of the Lola/Multimatic-built Mazda Prototypes that Speedsource is selling, the NP01 is a great alternative.

CorkSport at PRI

Finally, there was one big wow part we have to tell you about. Check out this crazy, billet Duramax Chevy motor.

Corksport at PRI DX600 Billet Duramax

The DX600 Billet Duramax is a supercharged compound turbo setup. Looking for a billet aluminum block for your Chevy truck? We know you Mazda fanatics probably aren’t, but this is really freakin’ sweet piece of hardware regardless. Now, if only we could get someone to make a billet engine for the Mazdaspeed 3. Then life would be really sweet.

Hope you all enjoyed this PRI update as much as we enjoyed checking out cars and parts at the show. As always, at CorkSport we strive to keep you all apprised of the new and interesting car news you crave. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for our latest news.

2016
12.22

A couple of weeks ago, CorkSport was contacted about a toy drive put together by a local car group called Tuner Coalition. They had heard about a group of kids at a local hospital that had hardly ever experienced a true Christmas. CorkSport loves to give back to the community, so we wanted to make some kids super happy this holiday season.

We all know that Christmas is about giving, so that’s what we did. I learned there is no better feeling than knowing your contribution will make a world of difference in someone’s life. That is our main goal here at CorkSport. We strive everyday to help our customers meet their goals and enjoy their modifications. It’s all about bringing happiness to others. And just look at how happy these kids will be.


This was not only a toy drive, but also a car meet. I brought my Mazdaspeed, and there was a first generation Mazda 3 that had some cool exterior upgrades. I also had the pleasure of meeting some really cool people. Even though we drove different cars, we were there for the same reason and shared the same passion for cars.

I had the pleasure of talking to a guy that owned an Ecoboost Mustang. He had a lethal performance turbo kit installed on the cusp of making 500whp. Needless to say, his engine bay was really clean; it had been meticulously hydro-dipped by a friend of his. I always liked the Ecoboost Mustang for its indirect relationship with Mazdaspeeds. The car definitely looked cool, and drew a lot of attention. He was a very humble guy and only had nice things to say about the my Mazdaspeed. He saw the front mount intercooler on my car and instantly had to know what was under the hood.

CorkSport loves to be a part of these types of events, and we encourage anyone to participate as well. We are here to help our community in any way possible. We would love to hear about some of your holiday car meets, and any kind of fundraisers you may have attended this holiday season! Get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter to share your mods and stories.

Cheers,

Luke

2016
12.20

So you may not realize this, but most of us at CorkSport are actually car guys/girls. While I’m sure most of you are at least somewhat familiar with what we have here as far as company cars, I was thinking you may be curious what some of us are working on when we’re not “on the clock” so to speak. That being said, first I’ll give you a little bit of my background as it relates to cars.

When I first came to CS back in 2011, I was probably a bit of the odd man out when it comes to cars. While I’d owned and customized 40 to 50 (or more) cars, I’d never really been into the import scene. I was always more into lowriders, 4x4s, old school customs, minitrucks, and pretty much anything and everything that was not a tuner car. When I started, my daily driver was a fully airbagged 1976 Chevy stepside truck (see below), and I had two other old school projects at home: a 1955 Pontiac which was also bagged, and I was building a 1963 GMC big window shortbed.

This was my daily driver and that was more or less my normal ride height. Of course all of the tuner guys at CS thought it was pretty funny (which I get). A lot of people wonder “why would you build something to drag it down the street?” My answer is, “because I can and most people can’t.”

The Pontiac was a little bit classier and, while fully bagged, it didn’t “lay frame.” This car was more about the custom body work that you would never notice unless you know what a stock ’55 Pontiac is supposed to look like, specifically the rear end.

 

Those vehicles are long gone by now, so what have I been working on since then? Immediately after those, I bought an MS6, which you may have seen in the past. We used it at CS for product development and testing on various products, so I’m pretty sure some pics made it to the old interwebs at some point. That was my first taste of a tuner car and, while it was fun to drive, it just wasn’t my thing. So I sold it to another employee here.

 

Since then, I’ve played with a few 4×4 trucks, a diesel Silverado, and a ’97 F-150 which I still have and plan to build into a desert truck at some point (though that’s not yet in the project status). So what am I working on? I’m taking it back to the old school and building a minitruck — and yes, it is a Mazda but that’s just a coincidence.

 

A little backstory on this truck and how this project came to be: I’m probably older than most of you, but when I was a kid in the late ‘80s, minitrucks were the thing. 15” wheels were considered big wheels back then, and 195/50x15s were the standard low profile tires — quite a bit different than today. So when I was 12 in 1990, my mom went and bought this ’89 Mazda B2200 which was already lowered and had fancy red 15” wheels and a red tenneau cover. It was a pretty sweet truck by most peoples’ standards back then and IT WAS MY MOM’S! Seriously, whose mom drives a sweet minitruck?

I don’t really have many old pics of it, but this was when I borrowed it from her to haul a motor for my ’63 GMC project.

 

Even at 12, I loved cars. I would spend my time reading “Lowrider Magazine” or “Mini Truckin’” and drawing pictures of customized cars, so of course I was in love with the truck. I dreamt of my mom giving it to me when I turned 16 and got my license (which didn’t happen), and all of the cool stuff I would do to it. At some point when I was probably 14, the truck was stolen and wrecked which destroyed one of the wheels. You couldn’t get them anymore, so my mom put the ugly Moderns on it, which you can see in the pic above. Then later something happened to the tonneau (don’t remember what). Needless to say, time took its toll on the truck. It wasn’t the same truck anymore, but it didn’t change or take away all the time I spent daydreaming about all of the things I wanted to do to that truck as a teen.

 

So fast-forward 24 to 25 years. My mom was retiring and didn’t need the truck anymore. At this point, it was just a 25-year-old B2200, so it wasn’t worth much to anyone aside from me. She said if I wanted it, I could have it, so of course I jumped on it as I’d been thinking about this truck and what I would do to it for over half of my life. So what were my plans for it?

 

I wanted to mix keeping it how it was with doing some of the things I’d thought about over the years. So the first thing I had to do was put some red wheels on it again, as that’s how it was when I was young. However, I wanted to cross it with a bit of my preferred “old school” style, so I had to mix it up a bit. I picked up some 15” steelies with chrome center caps and had the wheels powder coated red. I also wanted wide white wall tires, but I couldn’t find the size I wanted, so I got other tires and added some Porta-walls for the wide white look. I then replaced all of the bushings and ball joints in the front end and added the new wheels and tires.

Anybody that knows me and my taste for vehicles would know that I wasn’t done at this point, so I continued to collect components for the next step. Full air ride was on its way. I got everything needed to bag it, including a complete 4-link kit for the rear. (Sorry for the blurry pic; it’s what I got.)

I then kind of lost motivation, so the truck largely just sat in my garage for the last couple of years. But a couple of months ago, I started working on it again. I started with notching the frame in the rear so when the suspension is aired out, the frame will sit on the ground (lay frame). I then welded in the 4-link rear suspension as seen below. I used the factory front leaf spring perch for the lower bars. (They’re there; you just can’t see them.)

Then I turned my attention to the front end. If you know anything about these trucks, you know they have a torsion bar front suspension. And if you know anything about bagging stuff, you know that isn’t the easiest starting point for airbags. Preferably you’d start with coil springs, because then you just have to remove the stock coil and put an airbag in its place (more or less). Since these are torsion bars, you have to remove most of the existing suspension and build everything you need in the front yourself. I recently finished putting the bags in the front, which is the hardest part of this project, and am now at the point where I can start making mounts and installing all of the hardware in the rear (a.k.a. the fun part).

The frame is, in fact, sitting on the ground in this pic.

 

If you’re curious what my end goal is with this truck, I’ll fill you in: I don’t want to go full custom show truck. I plan to leave the body, faded paint and all, just as it is. I’ll also leave the big ugly mirrors and stock rear bumper, which is the first thing most minitruckers remove. Really my plan was/is to leave everything outside stock, aside from the wheels/tires, and fully bagged. Then I’ll do a custom interior with a nice sound system. The point is not a show truck; I want the stock look of the truck my mom drove for years with the ability to drag the frame down the street and throw sparks. I also plan to see if I can get another red soft tonneau cover made, so it will be a bit closer to the truck I remember as a kid — just better.

 

Other things I’ve considered are an NA 20b swap with a turbo 2 trans, cuz why not? Or maybe a boosted 302 swap, although that may be a bit overkill for such a small truck. It does have an automatic trans, so I don’t love that, but it works fine for low and slow. Anyhow, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little look at what I play with when I’m not at CS. Maybe you’ll see some updates in the future, maybe not, or maybe you’ll get a look at some of the other guys’ projects around here. Let us know what you’d like to see and we’ll see if we can accommodate.

2016
12.09

You’re busy. We get it. You’ve got a Mazda to mod, places to drive your sweet ride, a job to do, and you’ve got to carve out a little time for that special someone. Who’s got time for holiday shopping? The lines are long, the mall is packed, and the weather — and how poorly most people drive in it — isn’t helping things. If you’re like us, you probably haven’t even started shopping yet. Which is why we’re here to help.

Whether you need to get your buddy a knockout gift for your car club’s Secret Santa or your mom’s blowing up your phone looking to add items to your list, check out our suggestions. It’s the best way to make sure grandma doesn’t get you an ugly sweater, again!

CorkSport Turbocharged T-shirt

Sure your car looks good, but how do you look? Nothing undercuts the envy you’ve generated when you pull up in your dope Mazda more than a holey old shirt. Suit up with our Turbocharged T-shirt and you can look as fly as your ride. Make sure to check out the rest of our merch as well. Your modded Mazda isn’t complete without a sticker or license plate frame letting the world know you’re rocking some of the best hardware on the planet under your hood.

CorkSport Max Flow Fuel Pump Internals

Looking to optimize your stock fuel system and protect your engine? These are the parts you’re looking for! It took us over two years of research to innovate this high-pressure fuel pump for your Mazdaspeed. Always a flawless fit and incredibly high efficiency, CorkSport’s MZR DISI Max Flow Fuel Pump Internals are precision machined, then treated, coated, and machined again. Who wouldn’t want to find more horsepower under the tree this year?

Limited Edition “Fast & Furious” 1–7 Collection

We don’t really need to explain this suggestion, right? Even if you have the 1–6 box set, it’s time for an upgrade. What would Dom do? Whether you receive it or gift it, a limited edition box set of, arguably, the greatest car guy movie franchise of all time is sure to be a hit.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed MZR Bypass Valve

Gifting one of our newer parts is always a surefire way to deliver a great holiday treat. An awesome addition to a turbo-charged engine bay, the CorkSport Mazdaspeed MZR Bypass Valve is a smaller piece that offers the same amount of force, so it increases turbo life while putting an end to premature wear-and-tear. It’s the gift that keeps on giving: a high-performance valve that stands the test of time.

Black & Decker Corded Flexi Automotive Vacuum

Granted, it’s not the sexiest gift, but sometimes functionality is what counts. You want to keep your ride spotless and this Black & Decker car vacuum will be invaluable in that regard. Save money on trips to the car wash and keep that interior detailing tight. It’s not the size of the vacuum, it’s how you use it!

The Ultimate Mazda Performance Guide

This is the perfect stocking stuffer for a Mazda Performance maniac. Our “Ultimate Mazda Performance Guide”, written by CorkSport’s own Derrick Ambrose, is a great guide for beginner and intermediate modders, and a good resource for expert-level enthusiasts looking for a refresher course. With over 160 pages of detailed info and full color photos, it’s the one stop shop for ways to get the best performance out of your Mazda.

Mazdaspeed 3 Turbo Upgrade

Go big or go home this holiday season! Sure the price tag on this turbo upgrade is on the higher end, but it’s a joy to receive or give, especially if you or your special someone need a worn out or smoking turbo. And installation is a cinch. It easily bolts into your Mazdaspeed with no mechanical modifications to replace an undersized OEM turbo and supports a range of 250–450 horsepower. You’ll come in first place this holiday season if you splurge on this gift. And hell, if you don’t get it, this is as good a place as any to cash in those checks from your aunts and uncles.

ZeroEdge Full HD 1080p Car Dashboard Camera Bundle

While we don’t recommend driving as recklessly as they do in most of those Russian dashcam videos, it’s always fun to revisit your excursions with other Mazda owners. Add some new tech to your car to match all the dope hardware under the hood. If you get one, show us where you take it out for a spin on social media. We’d love to see how you’re putting those CorkSport parts to use!

CorkSport Clearance

If your wallet is feeling a little light, but you still want to secure some great gifts, make sure to peruse our clearance section. It’s the perfect place to lock down some excellent parts at low prices that can help you arrive with a sack full of gifts in your sleigh, without demolishing your bank account. Once these parts are gone, they’re gone — so don’t wait too long before looking into this holiday gift option.

Regardless of what you end up buying as a gift or receiving in your stocking this holiday season, make sure to show us your new parts using #CorkSport on social media. Nothing brings us more holiday cheer than seeing the joy new CorkSport parts bring to our customers. Happy holidays!

2016
12.07

If you are on the forums or Facebook groups, you have probably seen the “I smell gas under the hood of my speed” post by that person trying to troubleshoot their car. Then, 10 minutes later, they post again announcing the stock hardline from the pump to the rail has cracked on their speed. And now they have to visit the dealer to get a new one for $100, which will likely fail in the same manner.

We grew tired of seeing the same thing come up, so we are happy to announce a solution the CorkSport Braided High Pressure Fuel Line.  The line provides a durable and reliable solution to the crack-prone OEM hard line that loves to leave you stranded.

Mazdaspeed High Pressure Fuel Line

We made our line out of 314L stainless steel fittings with a SAE100R14 Stainless Steel Braided PTFE for excellent pressure, corrosion, and temperature limits. The Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) and Stainless Steel have excellent properties that make our line compatible with gasoline (petrol to our UK friends), ethanol (for all you E85 junkies), methanol, and beer (we do not recommend running your car on beer, but if you need a straw in a pinch…).

High Pressure Fuel Line installed

Our lines were yield tested to 7100psi before a failure occurred in the form of a small leak, which is a safety factor of 3.2 for an OEM fuel system at its limits.

This is one of those parts that is a must buy, not just a nice-to-have. Fuel fires are nothing to mess with.

Derrick Ambrose, CorkSport, Mazda

2016
11.28

After multiple years of testing, design and research, CorkSport is proud to announce its release of camshafts specifically designed around the MZR DISI platform. This kit is engineered to reliably provide increased power and torque without lower rpm sacrifices.

The turbocharged MZR DISI engine was first introduced in the 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6 and was later put in the 2007-2013 Mazdaspeed3. This engine has a High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) that is driven off the intake camshaft. Other MZR engines use different camshafts and don’t have a HPFP lobe to run the fuel pump. This has been a limitation in the market since the engines introduction.

Camshaft Basics

In order to understand the basics you need to know some camshaft terminology. The most common terms are lobe, lift, duration and base circle.

Common Drawing of Camshaft Terminology

Common Drawing of Camshaft Terminology

  • Base Circle – The circle on the backside of the lobe. When the base circle faces the valve the valve is closed.
  • Lobe – The lobe is the portion of the camshaft surface that is not the base circle. This is when the valve is opening or closing.

Camshaft base circle and lobe

  • Lift – The distance between the base circle and the top of the lobe. This will be the amount the valve is allowed to open.
  • Duration – The distance, in degrees, that the camshaft is in the lift section. This controls the time that the valve will be open. This is shown in the diagram from A to B.

MZR Flow Testing

The first thing to do was flow test the head to figure out where restrictions might occur. To flow test, a constant vacuum was applied through the head and while slowly opening the valves. This is similar to what the engine is doing while running.

Intake lift

The factory intake ports do not flow much air above 0.350” of lift on the flow bench. The factory camshaft runs rough at 0.370” of lift. Shown in the graph below, minimal flow was increased between 0.350” and 0.400” on the factory head.

Intake Ports of MZR DISI Head

Intake Ports of MZR DISI Head

Porting is the process of modifying the intake and exhaust ports of an internal combustion engine to improve the quality and quantity of the air flow. After porting the head, there were significant increases in flow, but around 0.400” of lift there was again minimal increase in flow, with more lift. Testing suggests a proper maximum lift of 0.390” for the intake camshaft. Factory heads or ones with a large port should show gains from this increase in lift.

Why Stop at 0.390”?

More lift above 0.390” would require very extensive head work to gain much more power. Another downside of going above 0.390” lift is the valves will require stronger valve springs to maintain proper valve operation at high boost or high rpm. Upgraded valve springs should not be required for a factory head with 0.390” of lift camshafts.

Exhaust lift

A similar process to that described during the intake lift process was used on the exhaust ports and an optimal lift of 0.355” was chosen. For comparison, the factory runs 0.321” lift on the camshaft.

Exhaust Ports of MZR DISI Head

Exhaust Ports of MZR DISI Head

Limitations of Existing Options

The factory camshafts were designed around a compromise of performance and emissions; from that design criteria, there is still more power and torque available. The reader can now understand why increased lift and duration can release this power. There are limited options to increase lift and duration on the MZR DISI engine.

Reground Factory Camshafts

In order to increase lift and duration on a reground camshaft, the factory camshaft must be welded and reground to the new profile, but commonly the base circle is reduced. This allows the lift to increase and also the duration to be adjusted.

There are limitations with this approach. When reducing the base circle, many other parts in the head will have to make up for the amount ground away. It is essentially limited to the amount ground away. It is also limited by the duration because the profile must fit within the factory profile design.

In order to regrind a camshaft it must be removed from the engine or a new camshaft must be bought. A used camshaft can have wear that cannot be fixed. Buying new camshafts to send out is expensive and adds to the total cost of installing the camshafts.

Aftermarket Camshafts

The only aftermarket camshafts currently available are not designed for the MZR DISI engine. This means the intake camshaft does not have the ability to run the HPFP.

The existing camshafts for the MZR engine were also designed around naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) engines, so the duration, lift, and overlap between the intake and exhaust camshafts are not optimal for forced induction applications.

The best option to upgrade camshafts is to buy those designed and made for the MZR DISI engine specifically.

Camshaft Design

In order to start testing camshafts on the car, a blank camshaft is needed. This requires making a mold and casting a generic camshaft from a mold. Then the bearing services were machined to factory specs and after that a few dozen durations, ramp rates, and overlaps based on the engines natural pumping ability were chosen.

Blank Camshaft with Bearing Surfaces Ground

Blank Camshaft with Bearing Surfaces Ground

After carefully grinding all of the blanks, it was time to dyno the engine and determine the difference in power and torque.

An engine is basically a vacuum pump with the camshaft helping determine at what rpm the pump is efficient. Camshafts allow the power under the curve to be manipulated. If you have ever taken a calculus or thermodynamics class you might have flashbacks.

Power/Torque Factory Camshaft vs CorkSport Camshaft

Power/Torque Factory Camshaft vs CorkSport Camshaft

Potential variations in the engine tune, fuel, outside temperature, and other factors were monitored. The result is clear improvements in power and torque throughout the rpm range. The final design was chosen to limit lower rpm power decrease with a large band of power improvement over 4,500 rpm.

Exhaust Camshaft Comparison

Further examination of the exhaust lobe design is a good example of where the power comes from. When looking at the lift versus degrees as the cam spins, the changes to the lobe profile become apparent.

Exhaust Camshaft Design

Exhaust Camshaft Design

This change allows the camshaft to lift the valve more and longer. This allows more air to flow out of the engine.

Intake and Exhaust Relationship

The intake camshaft is electronically controlled. With additional tuning, turbo spool and power can be increased by controlling the overlap between the intake and exhaust camshafts. Overlap is the time when both intake and exhaust are open at the same time. Typically in a turbo car overlap is much smaller than in naturally aspirated cars. Below shows intake and exhaust camshafts placed over each other and the area that would be considered overlap.

Diagram of Overlap

Diagram of Overlap

Fuel Pump Lobe

Recall the intake camshaft drives the mechanical HPFP. In order to allow the end user to have the best camshaft possible and also have reliable fueling and limited wear the fuel pump lobe on the CorkSport intake camshaft is ground to match the factory camshaft lobe and then rechecked to ensure no clearance issues.

Mazdaspeed camshaft

Installation:

The installation of camshafts in the Mazda MZR engine is not easy. Camshaft upgrades should be considered by an experienced enthusiast or professional installation is appropriate. To aid an experienced installer, detailed installation instructions are provided. Successful installation is supported in two different ways.

  • Color installation instructions
  • Excel Tappet guide available for download online

The CorkSport Camshafts for DISI MZR feature:

  • Created from brand new castings.
  • Break-In coating included on lobes to extend life of camshaft.
  • Designed exclusively for the MZR DISI engine.

Extensive testing to determine optimal camshaft design then manufactured to exact tolerance.

2016
11.18

Many months ago here at CorkSport we decided it was time to bring a new high performance BPV to the market. The goal was to design a BPV that was compact, durable, and performed beyond just making noise; most importantly this BPV had to feature VTA functionality that was a right balance of daily driver friendly and performance. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you the new CorkSport VTA BPV.

A beautiful picture of the outside looks nice, but does not even begin to show the many features designed into this BPV. Let’s take a look inside.

mazdaspeed bypass valve cutaway idle

Figure 1: Cutaway view in idle position

Looking at the first cutaway view shown in Figure 1, you’ll immediately notice the three O-rings. Two are located on the sides of the piston and one is located at the bottom of the piston. These are important for a couple reasons: the O-rings allow the piston to actuate/slide easily when combined with a proper lubricant and provide air tight seals in all piston positions. This allows the valve to hold 50psi of pressure without leaking.

I specifically identified the VTA port because it location is critical to the BPV design and the drivability of the vehicle. In the idle position the piston sits at approximately the same position as shown above due to the vacuum pressure sourced from the intake manifold. At idle the VTA ports are closed, keeping your fuel trims in check.

Next, let’s look at the BPV in positive pressure (building boost) situation.

mazdaspeed bypass valve cutaway pressure

Figure 2: Cutaway view in positive pressure position

Immediately after applying throttle, the intake manifold begins to increase in pressure due to the turbocharger building boost. At the same time the BPV piston is forced closed as shown in Figure 2. Like the idle position, the VTA ports are closed keeping fuel trims in check. The piston also creates an airtight seal against the base flange improving boost response.

Next you shift or get off the throttle which causes a sudden pressure change in the intake manifold and the charge pipe pre-throttle body. The excessive pressure build up in the charge pipe combined with the vacuum from the intake manifold cause the piston to open as shown in Figure 3 below.

mazdaspeed bypass valve cutaway high boost

Figure 3: Cutaway view in high boost lift off position

Unlike the idle position, the piston has moved up past the VTA ports. This is due to the excessive pressure differential between the piston vacuum chamber and the charge pipe pressure. The greater this pressure differential the faster the piston will respond and vent more air to the VTA ports. Testing has shown that the VTA ports begin activating at ~15psi or greater boost pressures on a K04 equipped vehicle.

So that’s how the CorkSport VTA BPV works, but what makes it so efficient in doing so? A combination of simple and effective features all wrapped up into one design.

Response is key to a great performing BPV, plain and simple. The piston inside the BPV must respond and accelerate extremely fast in order to reduce the pressure in the charge pipe and protect the turbocharger. Attaining that response comes down to simple physics in the form of Force = Mass * Acceleration. We can directly affect the mass of the piston via design and materials, which we were able to get down to a mere 38 grams w/O-rings. We can semi-directly affect the force required to accelerate the piston which various spring rates. Therefore by reducing the weight of the piston and optimizing the force applied to the piston we were able obtain a remarkable response time.

vta bpv response

Figure 4: CorkSport VTA BPV response time during high boost throttle close situation

Looking at Figure 4, you can see two separate graphs shown. The blue graph shows the intake manifold pressure in a 0-5volt range. Boost pressure was leveling at ~23.5psi on a CorkSport turbo equipped vehicle. The red graph shows the charge pipe pressure just ahead of the throttle body approximately where the BPV is located.

During the test the car is held steady at ~6000rpm so that boost can level off for ~5sec, then the throttle is abruptly closed; this is shown in the blue graph with the sudden decay. This causes sudden vacuum in the intake manifold and increased pressure in the charge pipe pre-throttle body. The pressure delta causes the BPV piston to react and vent which is shown with the slight increase and then decay of the red graph. The response time of the BPV is time delta from the intake manifold going into vacuum and the BPV beginning to open and vent. The resulting time delta is a remarkable 50 milli-sec or 0.050sec in general terms.

The piston isn’t the only optimized part of the BPV. The piston design and the BPV cap were designed to work together. Looking at Figure 3 you can see that the hose barb fitting is integrated into the cap design and more importantly is “inside” the piston as much as possible. By reducing the volume of the vacuum/boost signal chamber in the BPV, we have reduced the total volume that must be removed from the chamber before full vacuum occurs and can begin moving the piston. You could compare this to “shot-gunning” a can of beer. The tall boy is going to take longer than your standard 12oz right? Same idea with the BPV, but we are trying to shave milli-seconds.

bpv flange adjustability

Figure 5: CorkSport BPV flange adjustability

Another awesome feature on the CorkSport VTA BPV comes in the form of installation flexibility. Not only is the BPV compact at just 2.50 inches tall, but the flange can be adjusted to a total of five positions. The center BPV in Figure 5 shows the typical position for a Mazdaspeed BPV. From there the flange can be adjusted 15 or 30 degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise to aid in installation.

cad flow simulation

Figure 6: CAD flow simulation at ~220CFM with piston BPV fully open

Lastly, and arguably most important, the CorkSport VTA BPV flows great. Figure 6 shows a CAD flow simulation of the BPV fully open with inlet condition 23psia @ 110F and outlet condition 7 inches of H2O vacuum. Mach flow or commonly called “choke flow” is the situation when the air velocity reaches Mach 1. At this point no more airflow can be pulled through the BPV without increasing the pressure at the BPV inlet (charge pipe). In the CorkSport VTA BPV, Mach flows begins to occur at the nozzle throat shown in Figure 6. This is to be expected with the compact design and was a compromise made in the design process; however you will notice that the CAD simulation does not take into account the potential flow of the five VTA ports. These will only increase the maximum potential flow of the BPV.

To top it all off, the CorkSport VTA BPV makes an array of noises ranging from subtle whistles to loud whooshes. I invite you to check out the video found in the product listing as words just cannot give it justice.

We set out to design a high performing VTA BPV for the Mazdaspeed community that delivered with performance, style, and entertainment. We believe we delivered with a leak-proof, fast responding and glorious sound BPV. We hope you enjoy your new CorkSport VTA BPV as much as we enjoyed designing it.

-Barett

Barett Strecker-01

2016
11.14

In September, CorkSport participated in the SCCA Runoffs, the largest club race event held every year. In 2016, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course hosted the event in Lexington, Ohio. Having only raced there in a simulator, we spent two days testing at the track the weekend before and received coaching from Will Dodd, a local Spec Miata racer who has spent plenty of time getting to know the course. After trying several setup changes along with the awesome BFG rain tires for the first time on our Mazda 3, we felt pretty good about our odds of placing higher for qualifying.

SCCA Runoffs 2016 CorkSport Mazdaspeed

Credit: Melissa K Lepper

The runoffs format is made up of four qualifying days followed by a one-shot, winner-take-all championship race. For the Touring 4 group there were 34 people entered, which made for great racing no matter where you were in the field. The T4 field also shares the qualifying session with the B-Spec class, which adds excitement catching up to them on the track with the higher top speeds of the T4 cars.

SCCA Runoffs Touring Group 4

Credit: Melissa K Lepper

Qualifying session #1

On the out lap, an Rx8 blew a line off his oil cooler and laid down a puddle in turn two (aka the keyhole) and proceeded to drive down the straight before he went off in turn four. This meant heading into four you were staring at a car in the gravel, the fastest spot on the track heading into a heavy brake zone. Not a good place to go off. The session should have been called with the oil down but the stewards let us run around the track, which was a waste of time. The best time I managed was a 1:47.84 — horrible for T4.

Qualifying session #2

The bad part about qualifying poorly in the first session is you are placed in order of speed from all of the days of qualifying. This meant I was sitting in 22nd behind several drivers I knew I could beat, and I would have to get a fast clean lap. After six laps I cleared the other cars and caught up to the B-Spec cars, which made me back off a bit. This was a bummer, since the predictive lap timer in the car showed I was on path to run a low 1:42 time.

The end result from Q2: I was in 18th with a 1:43.107. After the session was over, I was pulled into tech to make sure my car was in compliance with the rules. After 60 minutes of tech fun to make sure my car didn’t have a spool, the fuel was from the track, my ECU was stock, and we were cut free. Lucky for me they didn’t find the nitrous tank hidden in the trunk. (J/k)

Qualifying session #3

I went faster and was consistently in the 1:42s, but everyone else went faster as well. I slid back from 18th to 19th. Boo!

Qualifying session #4

Last chance to make a difference on Thursday. We went over the car setup and made sure we were in the best shape for starting higher in the field. In the end it didn’t make a difference. I got caught in traffic and struggled with the car. I was going to be starting 19th. There was one bright spot though: The top speed I hit was one of the highest at 120.8 mph going into turn four, which means I was exiting the keyhole carrying more speed.

Race Day

After getting new brakes installed on the car and running a hardship lap to make sure everything was good, we were set to race. Will noted that being on the inside at the start was a good place to pick up after going through Madness (corner five) and into six due to the track line and the width of the track. Being in 19th, I was on the inside to start.

SCCA Runoff Corner Five "Madness"

Credit: Melissa K Lepper

The start went well; I got the jump on a few Rx8s and moved up a few spots heading into four with a Pontiac Solstice in tow behind me. So far so good. I got though turn nine and the Pontiac was able to carry a bit more speed than me, so he went around the outside — a pretty hairy move but I saw him and left him space so he didn’t get run off the track. We proceeded to have a drag race when it happened. We made contact, and his right rear tire hit the side of my car at the driver’s door. We got wheel-on-wheel contact that spun him across my front and took his tire bead off. He went spinning off the track towards the wall.

I had hit the brakes so I wouldn’t punch his car in the door with the front of the Mazda 3. My car was pulling hard to the left; his hit wheel had punctured my left front. In a live track with a race going on, stopping is not an option. So in an effort to not cross the track to get to pit lane, I opted to pull into the middle of the track at turn 12 and park behind the wall to wait out the race.

I had my phone in my car, which prompted me to post this video while I watched the finish.

The other driver was able to pull into pit late. I was happy to see he did not hit the wall. I was able to talk to another racer I know who caught our contact on his camera. He was willing to share it with me.

This wasn’t the way any racer likes their week to end but it is racing. You never know what is going to happen out there on the track.

Derrick

Derrick Ambrose, CorkSport, Mazda