This is a sort-of addendum to my post about why I bought my Mazda2. Think of it as a new, updated page to add to your reference binder at some kind of conference on underrated, esoteric subcompacts. Though I doubt many people would attend such a thing.
Mazda did some really cool stuff with the 2 when the car came to North America in 2010. Like all brands introducing a fun hatchback, it jumped in on SEMA that year ready to get people stoked with a decent selection of concepts. A total of two Mazda2 concepts graced its floorspace, one of which really gave enthusiasts high hopes that the brand would eventually debut a Mazdaspeed2: The Mazda2 Evil Track Concept.
As an active member of Mazdas247.com I saw images of this cool little hatch permeate the forum pages rather quickly. Same goes for the Mazda2 Street Concept; the Street was certainly cool, but the Evil Track was the absolute business. Daydreaming about building something similar, someday, definitely contributed to my decision to purchase my very own Mazda2 a couple of years later.
The Evil Track looks ready to mob – Check this thing out! 949 Racing 6UL wheels wrapped in slicks, a bright-red roll cage, Sparco halo seats, harnesses, ultra-cool ground effects, an AiM dash – the thing was so badass. To top it all off, H&R supplied a set of coilovers, the interior was stripped, and a Magnaflow exhaust system was bolted on. Even the vinyl work was really sharp. This thing revved everyone’s imaginations to redline; not only could we imagine it being so freaking fun to mob around, but also, how would one build something similar?
While there are no reports of anyone ever taking this fine specimen on track and ripping some laps, a guy can certainly dream. Unfortunately, some of the exterior mods were and still are very hard to come by, such as the HID headlights and Asia-market front bumper. It’s quite cool Mazda put 6UL wheels on; not only is this a wheel that’s beloved by Miata tuners, but like Mazda USA, 949 Racing is a fellow Orange County establishment.
The one bummer was, to the general public’s knowledge, it had a bone-stock 1.5-liter inline-4 MZR. That’s right, like the engines in the NC Miata and Mazdaspeed3, this too was an MZR! Just, ya know, small, efficient, and only making around 100 horsepower. Still, the Evil Track was the definition of momentum car glory: low weight, sticky tires, and suspension mods that ensured all the hilarious cornering Gs.
The Evil Track made Mazda nerds salivate over the possibility of a Mazdaspeed2 being introduced. Why wouldn’t it? The Mazdaspeed3 was (and still is) an enthusiast favorite, as were its predecessors the Mazdaspeed Protege and Mazdaspeed Miata. Why not knock it out of the park with the newest b-segment offering? It didn’t have to be exactly like the Evil Track, but since Mazda built the Evil Track and Street, we all knew what they were capable of.
Little did people know at the time, but its chassis sibling the Fiesta would get the ST treatment a few years later in 2014. C’mon, apparently the power plant under the hood of the FiST bolts up under the 2 and everything!
Though unfortunately it never came to fruition… we’re still waiting on that Mazdaspeed2 that will never come. Mazda seemed content with keeping the 2 as a plucky-yet-slow econohatch, and its North American sales numbers weren’t that great during its four-year run anyway. Every once in a while the discussion pops up in M2O, the Mazda2 Owners Group on Facebook: What if?
In my opinion, all they had to do was cram the larger 2.0 MZR from the NC Miata under the hood and call it a day; 160-170 horsepower in a 2,300 pound hatch is plenty of zoom zoom. Or, take advantage of the glorious Fozda Era and throw a FiST power plant under the hood.
Mazda put more cool 2s on display in subsequent SEMA shows. One had a very nice body kit bolted on, which the company 3DCarbon will still produce upon request last I checked. Another one had a 263-horsepower Mazdaspeed3 engine dropped under its hood. Again, it’s a shame that this never made it to showrooms. But these modest concepts still keep me stoked on my own Mazda2 daily driven track rat, so for that, I guess I’m thankful!