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323 GT-R

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A provocative "if" at the end of Warmblod's request.... the challenge begins
The GT-R story began in June 1988. Achim Warmblod, a former world-class rally driver and president of Mazda Rally Team Europe (MRTE), sent a long facsimile to Mazda's head office in Hiroshima. In brief, Warmblod expressed the need for Mazda to create a presence in Europe both as a car company and for the Mazda 323. He further stressed the need to appeal both to the younger generation and to the enthusiast - the perfect way to foster such appeal being victory in the World Rally Championship (WRC). Warmblod's vision was for Mazda to build a 323 "hot version" to do the job. His facsimile ended with a provocative "if", urging Mazda to consider whether they really did want to win the World Rally Championship.
The Warmblod facsimile Dear MR. Yamanouchi, It has been a long time since I met you in Hiroshima. Forgive me for my long silence and I hope you are very fine. I have always been considering ways to enhance Mazda's distinctive image through our rally activities. Today, everywhere in the world we can see Japanese cars which have excellent quality and attractive equipment, along with a reasonable price. However, recent yen appreciation has forced a change in the market situation of Japanese manufacturers, therefore, it is important to get more and more value out of motor sports. Of course, I want to apologize as we could not achieve the success that everybody hoped for at this stage. Please understand our difficulty: the current 323 4x4 is designed as a normal road car. The Lancia, for example, is built to compete in motor sport, especially the WRC.
Also VW and Opel are now making special 4x4 Sports versions for competition entry in the near future. As almost all the manufactures are now concentrating on making high-potential 4x4 Sports versions for the beginning of 1990, please allow me to propose to you the notion that the 323 be supported by the younger generation. The car must give an image of strength and high performance along with reasonable price. From this point of view, the top model of the new 323 should provide excitement for the younger generation. I belive the next 323 range also includes a sporty 4x4 version, however, I am a little concerned about its performance and its concept. I would like to use the Lancia Delta 4WD, and its remarkable success in Europe, as an example to make the picture clear - they sold 5,882 cars in 1987. This year they are planning to sell 8,000 cars called the Inergrale, in Europe, at a price of 36,000 DM.
This is the evolution model of the 1987 model of the Lancia 4WD. This success is increasing their sales volume, not only of the Lancia Delta HF 4WD, but also of their other models. Lancia is already thinking of another evolution for 1989: a 16-valve 2.0 litre engine to keep their competitiveness in the WRC. Japanese manufacturers will also start an attack to compete against Lancia from next year onwards. Therefore, the next 4WD model must overcome all of them. If Mazda can produce 5,000 units of the limited "hot version" (which is the minimum requirement under current F.I.A. regulations) for the younger customer and enthusiast, this will definitely be an important image leader world-wide. I belive that "if" Mazda wants to recreate a new, younger image and recover the young customer market, Mazda needs a strong, high-potential sports version which can win the WRC.... Yours faithfully, Achim Warmblod




Mazda's reply
"We are determined to win the World Rally Championship, and the car to perform the task is the 323 GT-R. Mazda will begin producing the car in numbers needed to gain homologation for the WRC" Mazda's development aims are threefold: firstly to produce the GT-R with an engine having the potential to win the Group A title, secondly, to achieve a balance between the engine and chassis so that the car can be competitive in the WRC Group N where modifications are restricted, and finally, to give the GT-R stunning performance to satisfy the enthusiast. Mazda will produce 5,000 cars to meet WRC homologation rules. These vehicles will be sold throughout Europe and Japan. The GT-R was built to become a WRC champion. It is a truly exciting car - both technically and emotionally.
A summary of some of the major advances and improvements over the old GTX:
When tuned for Group A competition, the GT-R`s engine punches out more than 300 hp. This remarkable engine breathes better, with a larger turbo-charger rotor spinning on ball bearings, and cooler- thanks to an enlarged intercooler mounted in front of the radiator. Baffles in the surge tank equalize intake pressure at all four cylinders. Sodium-cooled exhaust valves dissipate heat faster. The pistons have cooling channels, and the con-rods are hardened.
There is no change to the basic suspension design; the original 323 was proof enough of the suspension's potential. Group N regulations prohibit major changes to suspension systems, so the GT-R's suspension was designed for Group N success and on-road use. Basically, the new system has stiffer bushes and increased spring rates for a heightened steering response. New 15"x5.5"JJ alloy wheels fitted with 195/50R15 low-profile tiers together with the optimum combination of stabilizer bar, shock absorbers, and springs have altered front and rear roll rigidity for improved traction.
The GT-R's brakes are set up for Group N competition which prohibits major modification to the brake system. Together with the larger diameter wheels, the effective diameter of the discs is greater. Brake pedal stroke is shorter and brake fluid pressure is lower thanks to highly rigid calipers, large-diameter wheel cylinders, and a large-diameter master cylinder. The GT-R's braking system provides more than enough margin to allow the driver to make full use of the engine power, permitting acceleration all the way to the corner.
The GT-R's styling enhances its rallying potential, as body design cannot be changed, even in Group A.
The bonnet has three air bulges to allow the tremendous engine heat to escape. The enlarged front bumper houses the large air intake, side flares, and an air spoiler is fitted below the rear bumper. If you're not excited by this practical description, we advise you to forget about purchasing this car. This is a limited production car with one purpose - to win the World Rally Championship. Only drivers with the skill to enjoy a good road, those few with the talent to race in group N rallies, or those who can imagine racing against the clock on the Col de Turini Pass can fully appreciate the GT-R. Please be patient. Modified GT-R's won't be seen in Group A competitions for about another year, but even before then, the GT-R will make its mark - a clue to which car will win the 1993 World Rally Championship. The design team The team that developed the GT-R, following Warmblod's request, was Mazda's Motor Sports Engineering Group - the same small team of young technicians who triumphed at the 24 Heures Du Mans in 1991.

beres GT-R

THE MAZDA 323 4WD GT-R'S ATTRIBUTES
The goal for the GT-R's engineering team was an an optimized "total balance" that would achieve the highest order of performance and vehicle dynamics that could be squeezed from the compact 323 hatchbacks powerful and lightweight turbocharged 1.8 litre DOHC engine, advanced 4-wheel drive system , superb suspension and brakes and rigid body construction. Especially noteworthy is the power unit, the latest in the type BPD series of turbocharged , intercooled 1.8 litre, DOHC 16 valve, inline 4-cylinder engines. In the GT-R, the engine is fitted with a specially developed "Big Turbo" and mated to a strengthened 5-speed transaxle. The engine was developed for the 323 4WD GT-R by Mazda's Motor Sports Engineering Group (known simply as "ME" within the company). This group is responsible for the the company's out-and-out competition engines,and it's most notable recent achievement was the design and development of the 1991 Le Mans winning 4-rotor rotary engine. The "Big Turbo" 1.8 litre engine propels the GT-R like a rocket , to which the development team likens its breathtaking acceleration.
The 323 is already endowed with superb chassis dynamics - roadholding, handling and ride quality, combined with an extremely rigid body. In the GT-R, the roadholding and handling have been optimized, without unduly affecting the car's good ride quality. Additionally, new tyres possessing outstanding grip and controllability were specifically developed for the car. They are fitted on new 15-in, diameter cast aluminium wheels featuring a 5-bolt pattern. These wheels allowed the adoption of larger diameter brake discs that assure an ample reserve of stopping power. The already rigid body shell of the 323 hatchback has been further reinforced in those critical areas where the suspension components attach to the body. The 323 4WD GT-R is not a gutted lightweight automobile. rather, it is a practical, comfortable and versatile road car that is equipped with power assisted steering as standard equipment. Its interior is fully upholstered, and features "GT" front bucket seats with deep side bolsters. The GT-R is equipped with an efficient heating-ventilation system, and Mazdas popular 60/40 split rear seatback has also been carried over. It is Mazda's firm belief that any road car, no matter how high its performance and dynamic potential, or how distinctive and emotional a character it possesses, must fully satisfy environmental requirements and be efficient in its use of resources. the Mazda 323 4WD GT-R meets U.S. 1983 emission standards. The car's compactness and lightweight produce good fuel economy. Its "total balance",resulting from its responsive performance, superb chassis dynamics, and the impressive stopping power provided by its oversize brakes are important ingredients in the GT-R's "active" safety.

Silcock

NZ rally drivers,the Silcock bros and their 6speed xtrac equiped GT-R.

THE MAZDA 323 4WD GT-R IN BRIEF
The Mazda 323 4WD GT-R is an ultra-high-performance, evolution model of the sporty full-time 4-wheel drive hatchback series, supplementing the current GTX which continued in production. The GT-R features upgraded specifications and a distinctive , unique exterior design. The 3-door hatchback has an overall length of 4,080 mm on a 2,450- mm wheelbase. Width is 1,690 mm with front and rear tracks of 1,430-mm and 1,435-mm respectively. It is 1,390 mm tall. The car's minimum ground clearance is 150 mm unladen, 120 mm when fully laden. Kerb weight of the 323 4WD GT-R is 1,210 kg and 1,240 kg with optional ABS ( anti-lock brake system) and steel sunroof. The GT-R is readily recognizable by its bold front-end design, featuring a huge lower-fascia/bumper with large air-intake opening, and twin fog lamps and a bonnet with a prominent bulge. Additionally the car has extended fender flares covering larger 15-in. aluminum wheels and low profile-tyres. A rear roof spoiler is shared with the GTX. The GT-R's well -appointed, fully instrumented "cockpit" is augmented by a Momo leather-wrapped steering wheel and matching gear-shift knob. The temporary spare wheel is carried on the luggage compartment's "floor" , still accommodating 230 litres of volume (by VDA measurement), which may be increased to 415 litres by folding the 60/40 split rear seatback. The luggage compartment contains a useful "hidden compartment" normally occupied by the spare wheel. The type BPD engine in the GT-R has been tuned to deliver 13 percent more power and 8 percent more torque over the GTX. A larger turbo-charger and a larger intercooler have been adopted in the GT-R. The engines strengths , both power and torque characteristics, are in the mid-through-high-rpm-zone, above 3000 rpm upto its maximum allowable 6500 rpm on a 8.2:1 compression ratio, requiring premium unleaded fuel. The engine is mated to the type G5M-R 5-speed manual transaxle with strengthened gear train , driving all four wheels via a planetary-gear center differential fitted with a viscous-coupling limited-slip device. The center differential splits torque 43 percent to the front wheels and 57 percent to the rear. The final drive incorporates a multi-plate type limited-slip differential. Mazda's all-independent suspension with Macpherson front struts and TTL (trapezoidal twin-link) rear struts, battle proven in the World Rally series, has been further refined with firmer bushings and specially tuned dampers. Rack and pinion steering with a quicker overall ratio and engine-rpm-sensing power assistance is standard. Disc brakes are used all around, the front ventilated pair having an effective diameter of 222-mm and the solid rear rotors an effective diameter of 244-mm. The total swept area of 1,286 sq. cm is 21 percent larger than that of the GTX model. The standard vacuum servo assist is replaced by a hydraulic servo when the optional electronically controlled 4-wheel ABS is ordered.

*source;Product Information Mazda 323 4WD GT-R

*from the GT-R production run 200-500(?) units where badged the GT-Ae..this was basically a stripped out version with no electical extras or a/c.It was probably presummed that these would go straight to works teams for race prep..the GT-Ae may have had an even closer ratio box and minor suspension modifications.