August 21, 2013

Horse 1533 - Zoom Zoom ZOOM! (Please)

One of the things I like about the really old videos of the Bathurst 500, was that the might Mini was able to beat much larger cars like the Falcon. Admittedly, BMC won events like the Bathurst 500 and Monte Carlo rally because they brought a level of professionalism to the sport, previously only seen in Formula One and sports car racing.
From an aesthetic and storytelling point of view, we like the tale of the giant killer; of David vs Goliath. The hope that the little battler can beat the monster.
So when I found this video of the Mazda 2 B-Spec, I once again began to dream of that story.

Since the Bathurst 1000 in October is now a one class race for super-taxis, the modern-day equivalent would be the Bathurst 12hr and Mazda already have a gloried history in the iterations of that race, having won 4 on the trot in the 1990s.
It stands to reason though that a B-Spec Mazda wouldn't really stand a chance against the cut and thrust of Audi's R8 LMS Ultra or the Erebus Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG though. If we were to tell this story anew, we'd want to borrow some trick bits for our potential giant killer.

The current Mazda 2 or DE, sits on the concurrently named DE platform which was co-engineered with Ford. The Mazda 2's cousin the Ford Fiesta Mk 6 sits on an identical platform but being Ford they call it their B3. The family resemblance isn't as strong as its big brothers in the 3/Focus or 6/Mondeo but the sedan versions of the 2/Fiesta give a little more of their shared ancestry.
All of this makes me wonder if perhaps it'd be possible to borrow bits from the Ford Fiesta RS WRC like the 1.6L Turbo and the four wheel drive system. There'd also be a whole suite of suspension and other components which would be pretty neat in a 2.
I also wonder what would happen if Mazda were to jam the biggest possible engine they could under the bonnet. Would we like to see a Mazda 2 MPS, with the same engine as the 3? Would we yes! Even a 2.0L normally aspirated 2 would be quite potent I should think.

Motor racing like every sport carries an element of story telling and theatre about it. Ferrari have their tifosi who are as formidable as a football crowd and just as fanatic. Ford and Holden told us the same story for years of the eternal rivalry of two entrenched camps (like Coke and Pepsi, Mac and PC, Labor and Liberal etc) and have only recently let other firms play their game. Subaru went out and claimed "cool" by going out winning rallies in the WRC and Toyota are for people who have decided that wearing beige is a good idea and that a chicken korma is too spicy.
For reasons I do not understand, Mazda don't really like to tell their story loudly. They conquered Le Mans with the fantastic 787B in 1991 by building a four rotor Wankel rotary engine which out of only 2.6L beat Jaguar's XJR-12 with its monster 7.4L V12, the Sauber Mercedes C11 with a 5L Turbo V8 and the Peugeot 905 with the 3.5L V10 that it borrowed from Formula One. Mazda worked really hard and then had their cars banned because rather than work out how to beat it, other manufacturers had a whinge and threw their toys out of the pram.

Is it time for Mazda to go back to the mountain? I think so. I'd especially love to see Mazda tell the motoring David and Goliath story anew with their plucky little 2 and if they'd allow me to dream a little harder, to drive their car for them... please.

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