Mazda is the small Japanese carmaker automotive journalists love to write about. This is because the whole company has racing in its blood, and it’s not afraid to try something totally different in order to win. Just take a look at its past programs, things like the rotary-powered 787B race car that won the 24 Hours of LeMans back in 1991. This win gave Mazda the status of the only Asian carmaker to have an overall victory in the history of this famous race, and the only carmaker to use a rotary engine to do so. Twenty-two years later, Mazda is again bringing its newest technology to LeMans—this time with its Skyactiv-Diesel engine.
So what does a diesel race car program in France have to do with diesel enthusiasts in North America? That’s simple. Nothing proves how much of a pounding an all-new diesel can take like a 24-hour endurance race. That’s confidence you’ll be able to bank on when you head down to your local Mazda dealership next year to buy your own clean diesel Mazda (race) car—a car we already know will be a blast to drive, and one that is predicted to get more than 40 mpg. Gentlemen. Start your engines!
Dempsey Racing was the first customer of MazdaSpeed Motorsports to use the Skyactiv-Diesel
Nine Questions & Answers
Mazda announced the Skyactiv-D clean diesel technology was going to be used in Grand-Am GX racing. The announcement took place June 1, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.
Q1: What are the horsepower and torque numbers?
A1: The current target horsepower for the Grand-Am GX category is 400 hp, but final horsepower and torque numbers will be a function of the final rules packages set by Grand-Am.
Q2: Why diesel?
A2: Mazda believes in racing what we sell. Mazda is re-entering the diesel market, so this is an optimal time to showcase our Skyactiv-D technology.
Q3: What is Skyactiv-D Technology?
A3: Developed as part of Mazda’s “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom” strategy, Skyactiv technology was developed based on creating overall vehicle efficiency and perfectly complements the car-and-driver marriage of performance and passion. Not just a new engine. Not just a new transmission. Not just a new body or a new chassis. This is why the clean slate that is Skyactiv technology will be the pillar of Mazda’s next generation of vehicles for both the street and the racetrack.
Q4: How much carryover is there from the street engine to the race version?
A4: We intend to carry over as much componentry as we can. So far, we have found the block, head, common-rail injectors, and other production parts are proving robust enough for racing use. Certain components, such as valves, pistons, connecting rods, and oiling systems have been substituted with racing-specific components, as allowed by the Grand-Am regulations. We intend to use the racing program to improve the efficiency and power of our street programs.
Q5: Will Mazda race this in other series or classes?
A5: We are investigating other markets in which this engine could be sold. Other announcements will be made as decisions are made.
Q6: What is the expected engine life?
A6: We are starting with a minimum target of 30 hours and will be seeking to increase that to better demonstrate the durability of the engine while minimizing the operating costs for our customers.
Q7: Who is building the engines?
A7: Speed Source Race Engineering is developing the engines in conjunction with Mazda North American Operations and Mazda Motor Corporation. Final assembly will take place at the SpeedSource facility in Coral Springs, Florida.
Q8: When will the Skyactiv-D make its racing debut?
A8: The Mazda Skyactiv-D will make its Grand-Am GX racing debut at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona, where Mazda will be seeking its 24th class win.
Q9: What is MazdaSpeed Motorsports?
A9: In the United States, MazdaSpeed Motorsports, often referred to as Mazda Motorsports, is a department within Mazda North American Operations and is in charge of planning, engineering, sales, customer service, and marketing of motorsports.
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