The Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas brings together media, parts specialists and automotive manufacturers into one place, showcasing the latest in performance and motorsports—an enthusiast’s dream.
The convention is also a great opportunity for Mazda designers to create concepts that represent the ultimate expression of its production cars.
At this year’s 2016 SEMA Show, Mazda is showcasing the MX-5 Miata Speedster Evolution and MX-5 RF Kuro <hyperlink to release> concept cars. Both concepts were conceived by Mazda Design Americas to showcase contrasting directions that create a “Mazda Premium” experience while paying homage to Mazda’s performance heritage.
“It’s very motivating for the team to work on a project that goes from sketch to show stand in less than 12 weeks,” said Ken Saward, design manager at Mazda North American Operations. “Being a part of SEMA enables us to create vehicles that are aimed at enthusiasts and that can influence future Mazda products.”
The concepts were designed and built in-house by Mazda’s design team in Irvine.
“For Mazda, a car isn’t simply a mass of metal but more like a living creature and SEMA offers us the opportunity to bring it to life,” Saward said.
Here’s a look back at what Mazda has showcased at the SEMA Show over the years.
MAZDA2 Evil Track – Equipped with a Mazda Design Aero body kit, including side skirts, front and rear air-dam and carbon fiber rear deck spoiler.
MAZDA2 Street – This new tougher street version is reinforced visually by using smaller diameter light weight 949 6UL 15×9 wheels and wide profile tires.
MX-5 Super20 – This third generation vehicle took on a supercharger to boost it to 240 horsepower, running to the ground via swollen tires housed in flared fenders.
MAZDA3 Redline Time Attack – The MAZDA Redline Time Attack car is a Super Modified (unlimited rules) with more than 500 horsepower.
MAZDA3 Turbo Sedan – Between World Challenge races, Tri-Point installed its turbo kit, utilizing a rugged cast iron turbo manifold feeding a high-efficiency Garrett GT2871R ball bearing turbo. At a mild 10 psi of boost, the 2.5-liter MZR engine is making well over 250 horsepower at the wheels.
Grand-Am GT Mazda RX-8 – The SpeedSource Grand Am GT Mazda RX-8 is based on a tube-frame chassis jointly developed by SpeedSource and Riley Technologies, and powered by Mazda’s three-rotor 20B Renesis rotary engine.
MX-5 Cup Car – The MX-5 Cup is a series that puts similarly built MX-5s together on the track. The MX-5 Cup car weighs just under 2,600 pounds and features an authoritative 195-horsepower motor.
Beloved worldwide as the best-selling two-seat roadster in the world, with a secure spot in Guinness World Records to boot, the MX-5 Miata is the vehicle motorsports enthusiasts love to drive on the weekday streets of suburbia and the weekend roads of race tracks nationwide.
Well-known is the MX-5’s single-hand-operation soft-top and segment-best 12-second Power Retractable Hard Top (PRHT) that the MX-5 Spyder is a re-imagination of the roadster and features a sweeping, single-panel grenadine-red soft-top made by Haartz Corporation. Its design, a collaborative effort between MNAO Design and Magna Car Top Systems, offers an even lower slung stance of the MX-5 without sacrificing headroom. Fitted onto the roadster’s already sleek and sexy “look at me” body style, the MX-5 Spyder has been painted Stratosphere White and features a Yokohama rubber-and-rims set of AO48 225/45R17 performance tires matched with 17-inch, 10-spoke ADVAN RS wheels in Gun Metal Metallic. But as the adage goes, there is more than meets the eye.
When introduced to the North American market in 2010, the Mazda2 was referred to as Zoom-Zoom Concentrated. The Turbo2 can almost be defined as Zoom-Zoom Concentrated, Extra Strength. Outfitted with a MAZDASPEED3 MZR 2.3-liter Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) turbo engine, the Turbo2 is as potent as it is practical.
With its soft-top replaced with a stationary glossy black hardtop, and matching orange stripes, the MX-5 Super20’s interior also was modified and fitted with a color-matched roll bar, lending to a Grand Touring-inspired feel and function. The black leather seats feature suede seat inserts and channel stitching, which provide improved grip for drivers. Orange contrast stitching adds the finishing touch to the sporty seat profile.
Mazda5 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) Support Vehicle
Menacing flat-black-painted 19-inch Mazda RX-8 R3-spec forged aluminum wheels add to the street-turned-track look, complete with MRLS logo orange dots. Custom graphics highlighting the world-famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca racing circuit emblazon the Mazda5’s landscape as a nod to the orange theme continues – from the MRLS logo on the front doors, icons on the MRLS track map and a striking line along the side skirts – complete the racy package.
Sharing only the colorful spirit of green with its Turbo2 SEMA Show sibling, the 3dCarbon Mazda2 has an identity all its own. Its 3dCarbon/Air Design body kit is manufactured in high-pressure polyurethane injection molding and either pre-primer or pre-painted in all-factory colors. The customized body kit includes a front air dam, side skirts, a rear lower diffuser and Mazda2 Touring-spec upper rear spoiler.
Outfitted with Burton Cheetah snowboards for surfing the slopes and a Rusty surfboard for shredding the surf, the CX-5 180 features a stylized topographical map of SoCal locales Big Bear Lake and Point Dume. Seasonal statistics for the snow and surf hot spots are featured on the front doors to include temperature highs and lows, snowfall and surf rise as well as the all-important digits of GPS coordinates. Big Bear Lake’s snowy summit is featured along the left side of the vehicle with equipment-appropriate snowboards up top while Point Dume’s depth details sprawl along the right-hand side with the painted-to-match surfboard topping the chart.
With a quick glimpse, the CX-5 Urban appears to be merely shrouded in a matte finish. First impressions have never been more deceiving. Heavily influenced by design, the vision for the CX-5 Urban was inspired by styles found in fashion and architecture. With a Mazda Design-developed custom paint process, the dark surface of the CX-5 Urban features multi-dimensional shadows with each triangular-like design shaped to reflect each bend and twist of the vehicle’s sheet metal. Utilizing the KODO — Soul of Motion design language of the production model, the Mazda design team translated this initial blueprint into seemingly flat, black surfaces that evoke depth at just the slight hint of light.
The Super25 features the bold yet refined core colors of MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development – black, gray and red. Covered in a commanding Super Red gloss, Brilliant White appears as minimal character details along the hood with a matte Black Mica finish dressing the lower portions of the vehicle from the front and rear fascia as well as along the side skirts. The black, red and white pattern continues onto the glossy black surface of the sports car’s fixed hard top with Brilliant White stripes remaining extending through onto the trunk lid. A customized four-lamp lighting pod is embedded just above the modified grille and is equipped with bright-for-the-night (and day) PIAA 40 Series halogens on the inside flanked by 510 Super White Driving halogens on the outside. Super25 looks handsomely poised on 17-inch Volk Racing T37 six-spoke matte black wheels outfitted in BFGoodrich g-Force™ R1™ 225/45ZR17 tires.
Both a Mazda3 and Mazda6 were given “Club Sport” treatments, a motorsports-inspired motif of neutral grays, blacks and reds represented in not-so-subtle angular lines reminiscent of a car speeding past your line of sight.
Club Sport 3
The Club Sport 3 Concept features many similarities with its Mazda6 big brother but with a few extra robust features. With a Mazda Design-exclusive Slate White exterior finish, this five-door is furnished with a more ambitious Club Sport paint scheme. Metallic Silver lines trace along the arches of the wheels, the base of the side skirts and the contours of the doors and C-pillars. Glossy Light Gray and matte Black Mica mimic some of these patterns but with louder, wider direction. Vibrant Red vinyl follows along with thin lines, providing contrasting texture and dynamic flow. The only other non-painted surfaces are the dramatic alpha and numeric Black vinyl call-outs of the fuel door, tire size and SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY pronounced across the hood.
Vector 3 Concept
Shifting gears from fast to fashion, the Vector 3 Concept offers a different take on controlled aggression. First on the exterior, the base color is Soul Red, a stock Mazda hue as sultry and intense as the certain little black dress that takes your breath away. Derived from Soul Red is a Mazda Design custom blend of Deep Crimson in varying shades of depth to highlight the “fractured line” treatment of the paint finish’s vector pattern. Following the form in which reflections bounce off the vehicle’s KODO design facets, the vector shapes of variable length and width are identical on other side of the concept car. Although a pattern inspired from the runways of the fashion elite, the Vector 3 hones its attitude from the world of active lifestyle and performance wear. Fitting like a stylish pair of cross-trainers, the Vector 3 offers little fuss but commands plenty of attention.
Ceramic 6 Concept
Continuing on the theme of uncompromised performance draped with unconventional yet beautiful design enters the Ceramic 6 Concept. While similar to the Vector 3 in that its design pattern is identical on either side, this also is where the likeness ends. And where the Club Sport concept vehicles emphasized their racing heritage, the Ceramic 6 focuses on racing patterns.
The Ceramic 6’s exterior finish is a concept matte Ceramic White littered with Taupe Silver accent stripes. Such as the linear frequency patterns found on the likes of couture dresses and flowing fabrics, Ceramic 6’s garb radiates a presence of serenity and pureness.
Global MX-5 Cup Car
Starting in 2016 in the U.S. and spreading throughout the world are multiple Mazda Global MX-5 Cup series, all using identically prepared cars. Having a turnkey, ready-to-race car removes the effort of engineering and costs of fabrication, enabling the racer to focus on racing. All racers can purchase identically built race cars so that driving talent will be the number one determining factor for on-track performance, rather than engineering capability or fabrication skills.
MX-5 Spyder & MX-5 Speedster
MX-5 Spyder is a sophisticated interpretation of the classic vintage roadster, which is designed to accentuate the open-air experience. Its bikini top was developed by ASC – American Sunroof Corporation with the fabric supplied by Haartz. MX-5 Speedster pares the roadster back to the essentials for an unadulterated, wind-in-the-hair driving experience, evocative of the open-top sports cars of the 1950s—even going to far as to eschew a windshield for a deflector. In the same vein, the utter dedication toward creating such a focused machine led the design staff to build the Speedster with custom 16-inch RAYS Extreme Gram Lights wheels, benefitting MX-5 with less unsprung weight. MX-5 Speedster finished in a new concept color called Blue Ether.
MX-5 RF Kuro & MX-5 Speedster Evolution
For this year’s show, Mazda’s design team took a step forward to create the MX-5 Speedster Evolution. It takes last year’s MX-5 Speedster lightweight concept one step further by removing an additional 100 lbs. Now just under 2,000 lbs., MX-5 Speedster Evolution is approximately 350 lbs. lighter than a stock MX-5 soft top and coated in White Ether.
Mazda also is displaying the MX-5 RF Kuro concept, based on the 2017 MX-5 Retractable Fastback (RF) that will be on sale early next year. MX-5 RF Kuro is painted in a semi-matte metallic concept color developed in-house called “Kuro,” which means “black” in Japanese. It rides on 17×7.5-inch RAYS forged wheels, 215/45R17 BFGoodrich Rival g-Force tires and the adjustable suspension from the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup race car.