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The Current State of Fast - Featuring Brian Ma's 2.0L Mazda3

What comes to mind when you think of a fast car? Is it the 15th 900-horsepower Evo you saw on YouTube today? Is it the endless big turbo Supra builds you read about on the forums breaking dynos? There’s no denying that these cars are built with a great passion for wrenching, as well as cars in general, but is having stratospheric power the only way to be fast? Something draws enthusiasts on the street to this mindset though, and I felt inclined to dig a little deeper as to why loads of power, no matter the platform, has become so predominant.

Most of us are just regular everyday people, hustlin' to bring home enough bacon to pay the rent and keep the car parts flowing. There are many outlets available for speed freaks to showcase what they and their cars are made of, but getting to your local road course (if available) or AutoX events can sometimes be time consuming and $$$$$$. With limited time and loot, experiencing the fruits of our labor comes most often when we hit the streets on our daily commutes, during late night blasts down the highway, and at the local drag strip on Friday nights. These outlets tend to lend themselves to a one-dimensional mindset revolving around MOAR POWAAAAA. Roll racing has spawned from this trend, where massive power and street cars have a fighting chance of doing anything other than turning rubber into smoke. Now, getting traction from a dig is “so yesterday” and it’s all about achieving light speed as quickly as possible from cruising speeds. This comes as a complete opposite to the stanced and hellaflush movements, in which “low and slow” is king. It seems as though the middle ground has become the minority. What the hell is the middle ground anyway?

It’s a delicate balance of form, function, and power harmoniously working together to create a proper sports car. It's often the car that’s buried in the corner of the lot at a big local meet, with that slick functional rear diffuser that tells the best stories of going fast. Team GE3KSPD recently met up with one such enthusiast that has really taken a car and an approach that most people would scoff at and just discount as "slow". Brian Ma's 2.0L Mazda 3 started life as your everyday econobox which luckily comes with a little Zoom Zoom spirit from the factory.


If you pop the hood on this 3, you may be underwhelmed to see a basically stock Mazda 2.0L. No big turbo, shiny manifold, or fatty intake to be found. What you WON'T miss is his BC Coilovers with custom-rate Hyperco springs tucking his 18x10.5 Enkei NT03s and 285/30 tires under his much-needed flares. If you follow Brian's build, you'll know that he has spent hundreds of hours chasing Evos and STIs down Angeles Crest, dialing in his suspension for maximum grip. When you do go to pop the bonnet, you might ding your shins on his fully custom aero bits including a big front splitter and an insane rear diffuser


Like any good enthusiast, Brian dialed his car in by breaking things...A LOT. What does that add up to? A Mazda3 capable of keeping up with cars dwarfing his power numbers in the canyons and on the track.

Brian’s ultimate goal is 1.3gs on street tires, which by any standards is FAST. To round out the build, he’s eyeing up a Honda J35Y V6 swap to give him more go on the straights, to work with the high corner speeds he is capable of carrying. This build oozes fast, but not in a way most people will appreciate. Sure, if you meet this car at a stop light, there’s a good chance he'll be staring at your tail lights, but its not always about that is it? It has become refreshing meeting enthusiasts like Brian to ge3k out about spring rates, brake pads, and sticky tires (NOT slicks ;] ), putting aside the endless debates about what constitutes going "big turbo." Brian's 3 is something that breaks the mold of what most power-oriented builds ignore, and we look forward to finding many more gems like this in the near future.


I encourage anyone and everyone who thinks they have fast figured out to try a variety of performance driving events or hell, hit up the local canyons or mountain roads to find new ways to experience g-forces. Let's trade in our butt dynos for big bolsters and hang on tight.

Here is the break down on Brian's build:


Cut-airbox short ram intake

Intake resonator delete

Custom Magnaflow 11132 exhaust w/ 3.5" exit

Ford E-Focus Rear Motor Mount


Custom-spec BC Racing Coilovers w/ ext-reservoir, double-adjustable front struts

Digressive valve shim stack in front

Hyperco Springs 550lbs, 6" in front w/ helper

Hyperco Springs 600lbs, 6" in rear

SPC Rear Camber Arms

Corksport 24mm Rear Sway Bar

Corksport Rear Toe Links

Tri-Point Rear Endlinks

Hotchkis Billet Aluminum Sway Bar Brackets

Powergrid Front Endlinks

GTSPEC Front Strut Tower Bar

GTSPEC-Clone Mid-Chassis Brace


Mazdaspeed3 front brake caliper conversion

Mazda5 rear brake caliper bracket conversion

Centric 125 Series front rotors


Centric 120 Series rear rotors

Stoptech Street Performance pad set for Mazdaspeed3 F/R

Stoptech stainless lines F/R

Edelbrock speed bleeders

Motul RBF600 brake fluid


Enkei NT03+M 18x10.5 +30 F/R

Dunlop Direzza ZII 285/30/18 F/R

Eibach 15mm spacer F

Eibach 10mm spacer R

ARP 100-7708 2.5" wheel studs F

Eibach 55mm wheel studs R

McGard Splined Lug Nuts + Locks

Enkei silver aluminum valve stems


ZG Flare wide-body conversion

Front bumper support cut and shimmed

DTM-style cut rear bumper