2003 Protege Mazdaspeed

Official Mazda Press Releases For The 2003 Protégé Mazdaspeed

Question And Answer Session From Mazda Regarding the Mazdaspeed Project (PDF)


For Release: March 28, 2002

MazdaSpeed Press Release MazdaSpeed Press Release MazdaSpeed Press Release MazdaSpeed Press Release

Turbocharged 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé to be Joined by Line of High-Performance Parts, Accessories and Apparel

NEW YORK – Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today announced it will introduce a turbocharged MAZDASPEED® Protegé in the fourth quarter of 2002. This is the first use of the MAZDASPEED name on a street legal Mazda in North America.

"MAZDASPEED has a very devoted following in the U.S. and has certain performance expectations," said Charlie Hughes, president and CEO of MNAO. "This maximum performance Protegé is the first road-going Mazda in the U.S. that's earned the right to wear the MAZDASPEED nameplate." In addition to unveiling a prototype of the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé, MNAO also announced that it is planning to expand its line of MAZDASPEED components and will offer street performance parts and accessories.

Vehicle Development

The 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé has been designed to achieve the highest standards with enhanced performance, handling and braking. It will have unique exterior and interior styling cues that'll make it stand out on the road. A successor to last year's Mazda MP3 sedan, which gained superstar status among the automotive enthusiast magazines, the MAZDASPEED Protegé boasts performance modifications over and under the hood. Mazda's legendary 2.0-liter four-cylinder power plant is fitted with a Garrett T25 turbocharger, high performance air-to-air intercooler and limited-slip differential.

"The MAZDASPEED Protegé will drive the Mazda attributes – performance, handling and styling – to an even higher level," Hughes added. "Most important, MAZDASPEED will bring a tremendous smile to every Mazda enthusiast in America."

Limited to just 2,000 vehicles for the U.S. and Canada, the MAZDASPEED Protegé features a deep front spoiler with large round fog lights, exclusive Racing Hart five-spoke alloys, aero side sills and rear skirts and two exterior colors: Black Mica and MAZDASPEED's exclusive Spicy Orange. Additional MAZDASPEED Protegé features include aluminum Sparco foot pedals and shift knob, silver-faced analog gauges, and a seven-speaker 450-watt Kenwood MP3 audio system with a large subwoofer mounted under the package shelf in the trunk.


For Release: March 28, 2002

Optimum Performance, Handling and Styling Define New 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé

MazdaSpeed Front View MazdaSpeed Rear View

NEW YORK – The new 2003 MAZDASPEED® Protegé made its debut today amid New York City fanfare and excitement. The turbocharged sport compact sedan will be joined by a line of MAZDASPEED performance parts, accessories and apparel, all designed to bring Mazda even closer to its sports car roots.

Based on last year's hugely successful limited-production Mazda MP3, the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé is a substantial step forward in the performance arena. Working in partnership with world-class automotive racecar engineers on chassis, drivetrain and turbo development, Mazda has produced its highest performing, most responsive Protegé to date.

"The MAZDASPEED Protegé was initiated by a group of Mazda engineers here in the United States who are hard-core enthusiasts," said Charlie Hughes, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "They've taken everything that made the MP3 an automotive-press superstar and engineered it to the next highest level."

Available in the fourth quarter of 2002, and limited to only 2,000 units for the U.S. and Canada, the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé boasts an aggressive appearance and enhanced performance package, including an inter-cooled turbocharger, limited-slip differential, ultra low-profile tires, larger wheels, more powerful European-specification four-wheel disc brakes, and a 450-watt MP3 audio system by Kenwood.


Mazda selected Callaway Cars, Inc. to assist its engineers in taking the Mazda 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 engine to a much higher performance level. Pumping up the MAZDASPEED Protegé's heart rate is a Garrett T25 turbocharger system. The turbocharger incorporates the latest in aerodynamic and ball-bearing technology. With Garrett technology on board, the vehicle gains increased acceleration without sacrificing overall efficiency.

Delivering an estimated 170 horsepower solidly to the ground is Tochigi Fuji Sangyo KK Super Limited-Slip Differential, assisted by larger 24mm drive shafts (versus 22mm for the standard Protegé). Mazda also added a heavy duty clutch disc and pressure plate to handle the increased horsepower from the turbocharging system.


Racing Beat, a well-known tuner of Mazda vehicles for more than 30 years has most recently created exciting performance and aftermarket products for the Protegé, MP3 and Miata, was asked by Mazda North American Operations' Research and Development team to lend its expertise in the creation of the new MAZDASPEED Protegé. Working together as they did with the MP3, Mazda and Racing Beat focused their efforts on chassis refinement, suspension upgrades and a high-performance rear muffler. The result is a sport compact sedan with even better handling and overall performance than its predecessor.

The MAZDASPEED Protegé comes complete with specially engineered front MacPherson struts, a strut tower brace, higher rate coil springs, re-valved Tokico dampers, and larger diameter stabilizer bar bracket and bushings. The rear suspension boasts Racing Beat-tuned independent struts with TwinTrapezoidal Links (TTL), coil springs and larger stabilizer bar

The special Tokico dampers on the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé have been designed to improve steering feedback and response, control excess chassis motion and keep the tires planted firmly on the road surface. The twi n tube low-pressure design uses a multistage variable-aperture sandwich-valve system consisting of precision spring plates and angle-drilled piston ports. This sophisticated oil-flow-management system provides just the right amount of resistance at a wide variety of suspension motions and velocities.


Japan's premier performance wheel manufacturer, Racing Hart, developed its first set of Mazda-exclusive alloy wheels for the Mazda MP3 in 2001. For the MAZDASPEED Protegé, Racing Hart has developed an entirely new wheel, an exclusive 17x7-inch five-spoke design in alloy with Aluminum Super Silver finish. The Racing Harts roll on Bridgestone Potenza RE040 215/45ZR17 unidirectional high-performance tires.

MazdaSpeed Interior View MazdaSpeed Bumper View


Sparco, a leading racing accessory manufacturer, and Mazda joined forces to create the interior of the limited-production MAZDASPEED Protegé using racing-inspired components such as drilled aluminum foot pedals with rubber inserts for better heel-and-toe control and an aluminum Sparco shift knob to make shifting the close-ratio five-speed gearbox with its shortened throws even more fun. Other changes to the interior include silver-faced analog gauges, suede-like seat bolsters and leather-wrapped NARDI steering wheel with colorkeyed stitching.


For a state-of-the-art MP3 audio system, Mazda again turned to Kenwood Car Audio, the company responsible for the first-ever OEM MP3 system in last year's Mazda MP3. The MAZDASPEED Protegé features a new in-dash CD/ MP3 receiver – the Kenwood Excelon KDC-MP919.

This powerful 450-watt, four-channel (50-watts per channel) system features six speakers, an eight-inch subwoofer and a 250-watt amplifier. Both the subwoofer and amplifier are mounted under the package shelf in the trunk. One of the most versatile audio systems ever offered, the Excelon KDC-MP919 allows customers to listen to standard AM/FM radio stations or play conventional CDs and MP3-encoded CD-R/RWs. The Kenwood KDC-MP919 has a fully motorized self-hiding faceplate that doesn't appear until the ignition is turned on. Before leaving the vehicle, the driver has the option of either removing the faceplate entirely for added security, or letting it automatically disappear from view by simply switching off the ignition. The KDC-MP919's MegaMotion™ Display readout provides high-resolution visuals and moving images. Plus, the unit is pre-wired to accept Sirius® Satellite Radio, which includes 100 digital channels of music, talk and news beamed down by three satellites for national coverage. Built-in high- and low-pass electronic crossovers allow the driver to control the range of signals sent to the speakers. System Q Sound Control provides five pre-set EQ curves (e.g., rock, jazz, etc.) and three speaker-matching EQ curves for tone tailoring. Each of the four 50-watt amplifiers supply the muscle, and the 4.5V preouts provide superior signal-to-noise performance. With an optional adapter, Dual-Zone Source Control provides separate source and volume control for front and rear. For even easier operation, the Kenwood system uses a round volume control knob.


The 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé is covered by a comprehensive three year/ 50,000-mile warranty that includes every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. In addition, the MAZDASPEED Protegé is covered by a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty. Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.

MAZDASPEED® Protegé Supplier Information

MAZDASPEED® Protegé is a youthful, fun-to-drive, performance-oriented street package targeted at the growing sport compact sedan market in North America. Mazda R&D developed the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé vehicle in concert with young, opinion-leading target buyers in the sport compact market, driving enthusiasts and selected racing/aftermarket manufacturers.

The following world-class automotive racecar companies worked in partnership with Mazda to develop the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé:

  • Callaway Cars, Inc. - Old Lyme, Conn.
  • Kenwood - Long Beach, Calif.
  • Racing Beat, Inc. - Anaheim, Calif.
  • Racing Hart (Takechi Project Co. LTD.) - Matsuyama, Japan
  • Sparco - Irvine, Calif.
  • Tokico - Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

Callaway Cars, Inc

In 1976, Reeves Callaway founded Callaway Cars after concluding a successful sports-car racing career. He quickly channeled his passion for speed and vehicle dynamics into building a business that would allow him to create dramatic new levels of performance for some of the world's best-known brands. Mazda and Callaway engineers set out as a team to develop the best possible turbocharged performance for the new MAZDASPEED Protegé. The Garrett T25 ball bearing turbocharger was selected as the primary boosting system. This turbocharger was chosen based on the latest advancements in ball-bearing and aerodynamic technology. While the art of powerful engineering soon became synonymous with Callaway products, Reeves Callaway did not forget the most important racing lesson — power without driveability and reliability doesn't get you to the winner's circle. It is the same attitude that is embodied by MAZDASPEED. Today, Callaway is an internationally recognized brand, known for its unique ability to consistently transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. From component and system engineering through complete vehicle design and development, Callaway continues to specialize in uncovering the true performance potential of every project its team takes on.

Racing Beat, LLC

Racing Beat has a long-standing relationship with Mazda Motor Corporation's Research and Development team. Known worldwide for winning championships for Mazda in the renowned GTU and GTO IMSA Series in RX-7s, Racing Beat focused on helping develop chassis and driveline refinement, suspension and exhaust components for the MAZDASPEED Protegé. Racing Beat and Mazda engineers worked as a team to tune the front independent MacPherson struts, a strut tower brace, higher rate coil springs, re-valved Tokico dampers, a larger diameter stabilizer bar bracket and bushings, and a larger anti-sway bar. The rear suspension was developed in similar fashion with the Twin Trapezoidal Links (TTL) providing the ultimate in suspension performance.


Tokico has been manufacturing shock absorbers, brake parts and other hydraulics for more than 50 years. The company is a major original equipment supplier to a variety of automotive manufacturers, including Mazda. Responding to industry demand for a shock that could provide both good stability and ride quality, Tokico developed the twin-tube, low-pressure gas shock absorber. Tokico broke ground on this technology in the mid 1970s and has since become a benchmark for the industry. The Tokico shock absorbers were designed to control excess chassis motion and keep the tires firmly planted on the road surface. The twin-tube low pressure design uses a multistage variable-aperture sandwich-valve system consisting of precision spring plates and angle drilled piston ports. This sophisticated oil-flow-management system provides the right amount of resistance at a wide variety of suspension motions and velocities.


A company that shares the same passion for motorsports as Mazda, Sparco was founded in 1973 by two race drivers who are dedicated to both safety and racing. A leader in racing accessories, Sparco added their renowned foot pedals and shift knob to the MAZDASPEED Protegé, giving the enthusiast ultimate control and grip in shifting gears. By working with top racing teams throughout the world for more than 20 years, Sparco has been able to design the highest performance accessories that harness control and precision for automotive enthusiasts.

Racing Hart

An exclusive to Mazda, Racing Hart (Takechi Project Co. Ltd) wheels were specifically designed and developed for the introduction of the Mazda MP3 in 2001. Racing Hart again teamed up with Mazda to design the all-new five spoke Racing Hart wheel for the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé.


In 2001, Mazda partnered with Kenwood Car Audio to debut a factory-equipped Mazda MP3 with a high-energy sound system, which was an industry first for the 2001 Mazda MP3. The companies teamed up again to equip the MAZDASPEED Protegé with an all-new high-energy sound system that features an in-dash CD/MP3 receiver. Fully equipped with a 450-watt amplifier, the MAZDASPEED Protegé runs seven speakers ranging from two mid-level 6" X 9" speakers and an independent trunk mounted 8" subwoofer enclosure. Kenwood has been the industry leader for more than 40 years, beginning with designing and manufacturing Japan's first FM tuner. From building the world's first audio/video amplifier for home theater use to developing the first antitheft car cassette deck, Kenwood continues to make its mark in the electronics industry. Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.

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