When we first met Khan Mackesy, we were stunned to see that he’d turned up to the first round of the Prowear NZ Superlap series in a Mazda MPS. We were even more stunned, when we started to see that the lap times he was getting around Hampton Downs Raceway were on par with an R34 GT-R in attendance — we had to know more.
If you walk around the vehicle, you might spot that it has semi-slick tyres, upgraded brakes, and well, that’s about it. In its first guise, it looked so factory that we thought the timing board was faulty. Maybe we’d find something under the bonnet that would hint at the serious pace this hot-hatch was running at.
Again, stunned. All we could spot was an aftermarket top-mount intercooler. No upgraded turbo, no fancy bits, it was all as the factory intended. After a brief discussion with Khan, he was quick to point out that yes, the engine was internally stock, as was the turbo. What it did have though, was a very potent tune loaded onto it thanks to the Cobb Accessport. Cobb Accessports are clever little units that plug into the vehicle's diagnostic port. A base tune can be downloaded from a tuner anywhere in the world, loaded to the Accessport, and installed into the vehicle's ECU. From there, the owner of the vehicle such as Khan, will road test the vehicle, taking part in several third gear pulls to collect data, which is then sent back to the tuner overseas, so he can make the final power adjustments. There’s several maps too, so if you want to race with E85 over the weekend, then switch maps, fill her up, and you’re good to go.
Now though, Khan has come a long way with the MPS; the turbo is now a BNR S3 upgrade, which sits on top of a CPE turbo manifold. Boost is cooled by the same upgraded top-mount intercooler, but now exhaust gasses exit via the Corksport downpipe and Corksport three-inch race pipe. Engine upgrades? No problem! Khan simply downloaded a new base tune, had it fine tuned, and now the Mazda MPS produces a stonking 280kW at the wheels on 23psi of boost with E85. All of this, on factory internals.
Don’t go thinking the driveline is seriously trick either. All the factory manual gearbox was given was some high quality Motul oil, and a Sure Motorsports short-shift plate. More than enough we’re told, to take on the abuse of track use.
For a long time, Khan was competing on the factory struts, but this changed when a set of RS*R coilovers came available, which have improved handling significantly. The coilovers, alongside a Whiteline rear sway bar, Corksport camber arms, and an AutoExe chassis support kit, help the Mazda MPS stick it to the big guys.
Like most of us, Khan has been on a big budget throughout the Superlap season, so tyre choice has come down to value for money. You won’t go finding expensive Advan, or Nitto tyres on this hatch, but you will find the tried and proven Achilles 123 semi-slicks on 18-inch Volk SE37k wheels, or Toyo R888s on factory Mazda RX-8 wheels. The Mazda stops as good as it turns and goes too, with DBA 4000 series rotors up front, custom rear slotted rotors, and Endless race pads all round.
Inside the cabin, you’ll notice that the MPS is not yet caged, and for good reason too. This is, and always will be Khan’s road car, so he’d like to keep it that way. All you’ll find is stripped rear interior, a NZKW fixed-back drivers seat, and a Sure Motorsports gear knob.
Khan’s MPS is a true street time attack vehicle that does it’s duty during the week, yet has the power, grip, and handling to take on the competition come the weekends. This is a build we’ll keep a close eye on, but for now, we think Khan is ready to dial in the setup, and make the most of the current upgrades.
- Vehicle: 2007 Mazda 3 MPS
- Engine: L3 2.3-litre, PD tuned (E85 mix), BNR S3 turbo upgrade, HTP 3.5-inch Intake with AEM pod filter, Streetunit top-mounted intercooler, Corksport downpipe, Corksport fuel pump internals, Corksport three-inch race pipe, Corksport catch-can, Corksport EBCS, Autoexe inlet pipe, Cobb Accessport v3
- Driveline: Sure motorsports short shift plate, Motul type 2 lsd oil
- Suspension: Whiteline rear sway bar, RS-R coilovers, Corksport camber arms, Corksport sway bar links, Autoexe front chassis support bar, Autoexe rear chassis support bar, White Widow front engine mount bar set, Torque solutions rear engine mount
- Brakes: DBA 4000 series front rotors, Endless front pads, custom slotted rear rotors, custom relined rear race pads, Hell braided brake lines, Motul 600 brake fluid
- Interior: NZKW race seat, Sure shift knob, rear interior removed
- Exterior: Factory
- Wheels/tyres: Volk SE37k 18-inch wheels, Achilles 123s semi slicks, RX8 rims for track with TOYO R888 semi slicks
- Power: 280kW at the wheels on 23psi of boost on E85