Mazda plans Le Mans return with SkyActiv 21 | 06 | 2012
JUST AS THE DUST settled on the 80th Le Mans 24-Hours, Mazda confirmed it will return to the famous race next year with an LMP2 car powered by a 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D clean diesel, race-tuned engine.
While Mazda remains the only Asian car maker to have won the world’s toughest endurance race, in 1991, next year's car will be run by American-based Dempsey Racing.
As part of its expanding global motorsports activity, Mazda Motorsports is developing a version of the race-tuned new 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D diesel engine for teams contesting the new Advanced Technology GX Class of the 2013 Grand-Am championship.
“Today we reopen our love affair with Le Mans and mark the beginning of a whole new chapter in motor racing for Mazda,” Jay Amestoy, vice president of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO), said.
“We’ve won international races with rotary engine technology at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Now we’re looking to return to the winner’s circle with what we believe will be the most advanced and cleanest production-based powerplant the sport has ever seen.
“We’ll do it in true Mazda style as the SkyActiv technology will allow Mazda to chart its own path in racing, showcasing the latest developments in fuel-efficient, powerful and clean powertrains.
Roadtest: Mazda CX-5 2.2D AWD Sport
"Our new SkyActiv-D race engines will be available to European and US customers competing in the LMP2 class of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), as well as to teams entering the national Grand-Am championship.”
The SkyActiv-D race engines are being developed jointly by the Mazda in Japan, Mazda North American Operations and Florida-based SpeedSource Engineering. Dyno testing of prototype engines has already begun and on-track testing is scheduled for late 2012.
Mazda has always fostered the culture of 'never stop challenging,'" Masahiro Moro, Executive Officer in charge of global sales and marketing of Mazda Motor Corporation, said.
"It was this spirit that drove us through 18 consecutive years of racing at Le Mans, until we triumphed in 1991. It is this same spirit that laid the foundation for our SkyActiv Technologies, pushing us forwards to make technical breakthroughs.
"I am pleased we will be supporting our customers who are taking up the Le Mans challenge by supplying them with race-tuned SkyActiv-D clean diesel engines."
Currently, Dempsey Racing (co-owned by racer/actor Patrick Dempsey) is making preparations to become the first team to use Mazda’s SkyActiv-D racing powerplant in LMP2 next year.
Dempsey and his business partner/co-driver Joe Foster have both competed at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the GT category, and are eager to return in 2013 contesting the LMP2 class with Mazda clean diesel-power.
The team expanded its operations this year to include running in the American Le Mans Series, competing in both the Prototype Challenge (LMPC) and Prototype 2 (LMP2) classes as they prepare for their 2013 Le Mans effort.
Audi seals Le Mans 24-Hours clean sweep
Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on twitter.com/scotcars