When the Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel race car hits the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week, it will be the first time in six decades that a diesel has competed at the most famous track in the world.
Historians will note that the last time a diesel competed at the speedway was in the 1952 Indianapolis 500, when the Cummins Diesel Special surprised the establishment with technology unknown to most racers at the time.
Mazda said that while there are no direct links between these two companies or their products, they share common goals in testing production technology in the harshest of environments.
While most people correctly associate racing with fast cars, it is far more complex than just raw speed. The best race cars have been optimized for efficiency in every conceivable area. Decreasing weight, friction, and aero drag are also key elements to performance.
Less obvious to non-race fans is the fact that better fuel economy can mean the difference between winning and losing as fewer pit stops can often determine the winner in endurance races.
Blend all of these ingredients together and you have what Mazda calls the SKYACTIV recipe for racing.
Applying the same SKYACTIV methodology to both racecars and production cars, Mazda seeks the same ultimate goal – a satisfied customer. Racer customers want just one thing – a winning racecar. Mazda says regular customers are far more demanding, wanting everything from superb driving dynamics, to great fuel mileage, and it must be wrapped in a good looking package at an affordable price.
Mazda said the all-new SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine in the all-new Mazda6 is a true production based engine. The engine is 51 percent stock by parts count, and 63 percent stock by weight. Mazda chose this path as it said it is the most honest way to demonstrate the quality, durability, and reliability of Mazda cars.
“This year has been one for the record books. In January, our SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Mazda6 became the first diesel racecar to ever compete at Daytona. In April, we became the first ever diesel to score a Grand-Am win at Road Atlanta. Now, we are about to bring clean diesel to one of the most famous proving grounds in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Being students of motorsports heritage, it wasn’t lost on us that the last diesel to compete at Indy, a Cummins, made a strong impact in the 1950’s, hence our interest in looking at the state of the art from the past with our latest innovation,” noted John Doonan, Motorsports Director, Mazda North American Operations.