Car Feature>> Zoom Zoom

It's not every day that you come across a Mazda 3 like this. While the 3 may be a popular Japanese family car, they're certainly few and far between when it comes to the drag strip.

Initially, owner Kurt Scott only wanted a quick street car. But as is often the case, one thing led to another…

…And his 2005 SP23 became a focused drag car. Enlisting the help of Australian car builders Mercury Motorsport, Scott's Mazda was put on a strict weight diet and given a healthy dose of horsepower.

Inside the Mazda 3 has been completely stripped out. Only the bare essentials – such as a tacho and shift light – remain. 

All of the seats were removed, with a Sparco EVO dropped in for the driver.

A custom six-point roll cage and harness bar were fabricated by Mercury Motorsport.

As the cluster and dash have been scrapped, the car's ignition system has been relocated next to the driver's seat. 

The battery has also been moved, and is now positioned in the passenger footwell. 

The suspension has been kept very basic and minimal with Tein Super Street coilovers and Whiteline swaybars. As you can see, the glass has also been swapped for Lexan.

Helping the FWD get off the line are a set of Mickey Thompson drag tyres that are mounted to 15×7 steel wheels.

Once the Mazda reaches the other end of the track, Scott has the option of pulling the Deist parachute. The SP23 still retains the original brakes, so deploying the chute is there as a back up.

The original motor was rebuilt by Mercury, and now features Pauter rods, Wiseco pistons and a Cosworth head gasket. 

20 pounds of boost are provided by the low slung GT3528R turbo which works in tandem with a 44mm Tial wastegate. 

With the turbo nestled down near the firewall, Mercury made up this intake pipe…

…Along with a side-exit exhaust. 

The intake manifold is Weapon R, while a Mishimoto 52mm half-core radiator and Cosworth water pump have been fitted to aid cooling. 

The 2.3L turbo motor is managed by an Autronic SM4 and 500R.

The standard transmission now features a PAR 1st-4th gear set. The clutch and flywheel have been upgraded to a custom NPC single plate.

Kurt's SP23 is still a work in progress and is being used for product R&D. Running on E85, it's done an 11.6 @ 130mph pass and produces 405hp at the front wheels. Not bad for a little Mazda! 


Mercury Motorsport

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love the idea of the build and i know the wheels are for function only but dam they just take away all the badassness of the car those donuts in the back and how far out the front tires are from the inside of the wheel well.. eh kudo's on the idea tho dont see to many fwd mazda dragsters


Lol, I literally just finished writing this car for ZOOM magazine!


I don't want to be super negative about this car because I like it, but it's been in the 'works' for 5/6/7 years or so and can still only manage an 11.6? Also, why the chute? 9's or 140mph before you need a chute, little bit of pre-emtping and over kill don't you think? Either way, it's a very nicely presented drag car, but some lower ET's would be nice to see and I'm sure th owner would agree with that!


I really wonder what possessed him to build a SP23 into a dedicated drag car! I like that its something different though, Needs some MPS body goodies


Nice! Yep, one thing usually does lead to another!


@Joey... this car had run over 130mph before..power to weight is staggering tbh.... but leaving the line and traction is its biggest issue.. it has a massive habit of pulling straight into the wall through the first 3 gears... if it could get its 60ftr's below the 2sec mark( i actually dunno wat its running exactly) but with the amount of wheel spin this thing suffers when i have seen it... it would run well into the 10' around 130-135mph!!!


parachute for a car that runs 11.6?


this would be at least a second faster with some aero and wider front tires


You guys should do a feature on the Tony Palo Integra, or Miller \ NRG tech Civic.


I thought the same thing Joey! All that work and it only ran an 11.6? Fantastic that the car is something different to the usual drag fair. Good luck with it!


I thought the same thing Joey! All that work and it only ran an 11.6? Fantastic that the car is something different to the usual drag fair. Good luck with it!


Kinda reminds me of 'NFS Pro Street' :)


Really cool project, respect for doing something different!


@Mitchell.....I don't doubt it, 400hp in a car that size is an easy 10.? 130ish mph....but it always begs the question with FWD drag cars, why, especially if they can't get the power down? So much money and time spent, a decent amount of HP but it still can't put it down, and it's disappointing as it'd be great to see it run to it's potential! Even still 10's@130something doesn't warrant a chute!


ahh the good old Duratec 2.3...I just blew one of these up a few months ago, this brings back fond memories lol


Not to be a dick, but everyday daily driven honda civic street cars, bolt-ons, full glass, no cutting, etc... are running those times.


This car HASN'T been "in the 'works' for 5/6/7 years or so" lol! It's been "done" in progression, has had hardly any track time & the goal is a 9 second pass at over 140mph, hence the shoot!! As Mitch said - the power to weight will get it there. This thing is very hairy going down the strip & trying to keep it straight has been a mission, which is still on-going. It has had approx. 10 passes, the engine is only at 20psi until the vehicle set-up is optimised (eg. better 60 footers & launching straight) before more power will be put into it...


Pretty cool. I never thought about a drag Mazda 3... credits for doing something interesting!


Not a fan of the cage. No "X" bars/frame anywhere. No door bars at all. Upgrading anti-sway bar

on a drag car serve no purpose. Lastly, GT3528r for a 2.3 liter engine seem undersized.

GT40 or larger would be better for drag racing purpose.


I like it. Some weld racing wheels would look right at home on this.


More Mercury Motorsport cars = more vomit. Australia has more to offer than what this one shop puts out Casey.


There's a guy in our area with an EK hatch. It's "H2B" (meaning H22A from a prelude, Integra GS-R tranny, adapter plate) swapped, has a built head with Toda cams, built bottom end but stock sleeves, 4.95:1 final, drag slicks, stripped interior, other external stuff.

No boost or nitrous, it runs 11.6. I think this car needs some drivermod.


@Me.....progression/works, explain the difference? I'm happy for the owner having a goal, but perhaps run the 'chute' once you reach that'd be like bolting one on to a bog stock car and saying your goal is 8's so you need it when the car runs a 15, get where I'm going? Don't try to turn my criticism into hate, as it's not, I like the car, think it's presented very well and hope the owner gets where he's going, or did you miss reading that part?


I love it, Looks just perfect with the OEM body and steelies!


boosted mz3 nice!