After nearly two years of planning, Mazda Motorsports announced it will field a pair of factory-backed SKYACTIV-D Smart Diesel-powered racecars in the top Prototype Class for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (USCC),
The first race for this diesel powerplant will be the Rolex 24 at Daytona held January 25 to 26, 2014.
The company said this is a major step up for Mazda, having won the 2013 Grand-Am GX Manufacturers Championship. Mazda said it will be challenging for overall race wins against the toughest sports car competitors in North America.
“This is the most significant step Mazda has taken towards returning to the global racing stage since our overall victory at Le Mans in 1991,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports. “And thanks to our SKYACTIV-D Mazda6 racecars winning nine of 12 Rolex GRAND-AM GX races and the GRAND-AM GX Manufacturers Championship this year, we’re confident that our two prototype cars will challenge the best North America has to offer.”
Long-time racing partner of Mazda, SpeedSource Race Engineering, the team that oversaw Mazda’s GX-class championship in 2013, will carry responsibility to develop and run the cars on track. Additionally, Mazda said it also is in discussions with customer teams interested in the prototype class, as well as teams interested in developing the championship winning Mazda6 into a GT Daytona class car.
“As a racer, you always want to be in the fastest class, said Sylvain Tremblay, Owner, SpeedSource Engineering. “The development of the Mazda SKYACTIV-D was a great deal of work by Mazda and SpeedSource and it will be quite the task to take this to the front of the prototype class in only our second year of competition. Mazda and SpeedSource will have a busy November and December of testing as we prepare for Daytona.”
Mazda is the only OEM racing with a diesel engine in this series. The SKYACTIV-D Smart Diesel race engine is said by Mazda to be a true production-based engine and a carry-over from the development work done with the Mazda6 GX-class racing cars. The engine is 51 percent stock by parts count, and 63 percent stock by weight.
Mazda chose this path as the company said it believes it is the most honest way to demonstrate the performance, quality, durability, and reliability of Mazda powerplants.
Driver line-ups and team partners will be announced at a later date. The cars will make their first public appearance at the “Roar Before the 24″ test at Daytona, held January 3 to 5, 2014.