Interesting to see how you like running it tomorrow Adam.
I am done racing this year and going to be trading in the WRX for a different car and the 3i Touring is one of a few I am considering. I want to bring back that Mazda magic I had from 2011-2012!
PS - Adam, I saw you posting about 15's and 16's. Are the Kosei's TireRack lists at 12-13lbs not an option? When I select the 2014 5-door I Touring on their site, it is the lightest 16inch option. I also did not think 15's fit over 2014 brakes.
Hey Sam! We'll see how things go in Chicago, I did a small college parking lot event already in the 2014 i and wasn't very impressed. Yeah, the Kosei 16x6.5" KR4 would be a good option and they are feathery at 12.4 lbs, for one reason or another they did not pop up on my radar when shopping HS wheels a few years back. Good 16" tire options are kind of limited though. The best option I see right now for a 16x6.5" fitment would be the 205/45/16 RS3 version 2. I think 225 anything is just too tall, too heavy, and too wide for this application. 205/50/16 is "ok," (little tall depending on the course and a little heavy) and you only have one good tire in that size (Direzza Z2).
Personally, I'd probably go with 15x6.5" wheels. A lot more tire options in the 205/50/15 size and good tire weight, height, and fitment on that size wheel. 15's fit on the 2004-2009 2.3L big brake cars that have 11.8" rotors (many of us are running 15's in STF) so fitting 15's on the 2014 i models with 11.0" rotors should be no problem as long as the calipers are roughly the same which they appear to be.
I would proceed carefully in this direction Sam. I can't see a very promising future for the Mazda3 in H-Street. The JCW Mini is just so much more composed and an overall better car for the class. I had the pleasure of autocrossing one recently that was fully prepped for H-street and there is just no comparison. The Mini is even better than ever this year with +1/-1. The car I drove had 16x7" wheels (as opposed to 17x7 available previously which was too big/heavy). The Mazda3 is just a bigger (wheelbase now stretched to 106"), heavier, and more softly sprung car still riding on 6.5" wheels. The Mini makes the 2014 Mazda3 feel like a soft limo. 2.0L Skyactiv motor also feels weaker than the old 2.3L car and acceleration tests show it to be slower. You don't really even have the power card in play as the new 3i is barely quicker than a Mini in a straight line.
The only appealing H-street Mazda3 in my opinion would be the 2.5L with a stick and camber bolts (if available, legal, ect). Might have a chance against the Mini on point and shoot power courses then. Mazda doesn't even make this car yet, or the camber bolts.
Reason #2 to tread lightly is H-street is on the respirator nationally and the SCCA very well might might combine it with G Street as you know. So you could have a "decent" H-Street car in the immediate future, but a horrible G-street car in the years to come. Only way I could see this coming out well for the Mazda would be the SCCA keeping H-street around, but moving the Mini up to G street. It seems the SCCA is more interested in the former option rather than the latter so things aren't looking good there.
How about coming to STF instead? The land of even tire wear and a nice variety of competitive cars