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Mazda’s ‘extreme’ hot tuner Horsley retires

Moving along: Long-time Mazda Australia motorsport manager Allan Horsley has retired.

Allan Horsley calls it a day after 30-plus years as Mazda’s resident motorsport guru

Mazda logo11 May 2012

LONG-TIME Mazda Australia motorsport manager, special vehicles mastermind and New South Wales public relations manager Allan Horsley has retired after more than 30 years of service.

As well as overseeing many endurance racing and tarmac rally victories for Mazda over the years, Mr Horsley was the driving force behind a string of high-performance special-edition models and concept cars, such as the circa-2002 MX-5 SP turbo – a limited edition that led to the factory developing the turbocharged SE model – and ‘Extreme’ versions of the Japanese brand’s mainstream models.

His first foray with the (then unofficial) ‘extreme’ theme was the memorable 2004 RX-8 Motorsport Concept, which looked the part with its Mazdaspeed front end, large adjustable rear wing and GT stripes, but also packed a punch with a Garrett turbo that took the rotary engine out to around 270kW and 350Nm.

A major suspension overhaul, Alcon brake package and 19-inch wheels on low-profile rubber completed the package.

Subsequent official Horsley-executed ‘Extreme’ concepts included the menacing 2007 Mazda3 MPS Extreme – good for 210kW and 425Nm – and a follow-up rally-prepared Mazda2 Extreme shown a year later.

 center imageFrom top: MX-5 SP, RX-8 Motorsport concept, Mazda2 Extreme concept.

Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson, who has worked closely with Mr Horsley over his career, said: “Allan’s passion for fast cars and motorsports promotion was always going to be of great benefit to Mazda and so the last three decades have proved.

“His ability to overcome challenges and deliver giant-killing victories has played a huge role in putting Mazda Motorsport and our brand on the map.

“His contribution to our motorsports program and our public relations efforts over such a long period are to be applauded and on behalf of Mazda Australia I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to Allan and wish him all the very best in his retirement.”

Mr Horsley said he had “thoroughly enjoyed” his time with Mazda and was grateful for the opportunity to work with “so many great people” in both the corporate and motorsport spheres, the latter including Australian racing luminaries such as Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson and John Bowe.

“I’m sure that many of these relationships will continue and with a lifetime of motorsport in the blood, I’m sure I won’t be losing my interest in cars any time soon,” he said.

Mr Horsley was team manager of Allan Moffat Racing and launched the team’s RX-7 touring car program, winning three successive Australian Endurance Championships from 1982-84 and later bagging a hat-trick of victories at the James Hardie Bathurst 12 Hour from 1992-94.

The following year he created the turbocharged RX-7 SP and, with Johnson and Bowe behind the wheel, took out the Eastern Creek 12 Hour title.

He subsequently shifted Mazda Motorsport’s primary focus to tarmac rallying and secured no fewer than 11 Targa Tasmania class victories between 1994 and 2012.

With Mr Horsley’s retirement, Mazda Australia will restructure its national public relations operations, with full details to be the subject of a further announcement.

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