Mazda’s motorsport gurus are back working their magic on production cars, and a racier version of the MX-5 has been spotted testing at the Nurburgring ahead of its upcoming Japanese launch.

    Back in January Mazda unveiled enhanced concept versions of the Mazda 3 hatch and MX-5 roadster under the Mazda Spirit Racing (MSR) banner – a new performance division similar to Toyota’s Gazoo Racing sub-brand.

    Both cars were slated for a production run, and it looks like those plans are progressing in the case of the MX-5.

    Spied cutting laps in Germany and posted on Instagram by Rollendereporter, the semi-camouflaged soft-top sports car is equipped with a two-piece front splitter, jutting side skirts, six-spoke wheels and a rear lip spoiler.

    The wheels in particular look identical to the items fitted to the concept car, adding credence to the theory that the car on test could soon be confirmed as the production Spirit Racing MX-5.

    It definitely has something to do with the Japanese racing outfit, given the MSR decals featured on the front fender.

    Mazda Spirit Racing is set to take over from Mazdaspeed as the brand’s high-performance sub-brand.

    Mazdaspeed produced honed versions of several Mazda models between 2003 and 2013, including the Mazdaspeed Miata (MX-5).

    All were sold Down Under (the Mazdaspeed MX-5 re-badged as the SE), and we even got the Mazda MX-5 SP, a tuned up turbocharged take on the second generation NB MX-5.

    The Mazdaspeed3 and Mazdaspeed 6 made it to Australia with MPS (Mazda Performance Series) branding.

    The Mazdaspeed name hasn’t been seen since the demise of these vehicles.

    However, with the reveal of the Mazda Spirit Racing 3 and MX-5 at the start of the year, a new line of performance-tuned models is on the way.

    In addition to aerodynamic, cosmetic and performance enhancements, the MSR MX-5 will ride on retuned suspension, intended to offer “more controllability on the circuit” and “a high-quality ride in everyday life” according to a translated press release.

    It remains unclear when the MSR MX-5 will enter production, and whether it will be sold in Australia.

    It’s also possible that the test mule could preview a different variant, such as a new anniversary special edition.

    MORE: Everything Mazda MX-5
    MORE: 2024 Mazda MX-5 review

    Josh Nevett

    Josh Nevett is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Josh studied journalism at The University of Melbourne and has a passion for performance cars, especially those of the 2000s. Away from the office you will either find him on the cricket field or at the MCG cheering on his beloved Melbourne Demons.

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