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Mazda Motorsports today announced that it will sell racing versions of its new SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL engines to teams competing in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class of racing's greatest endurance challenge – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Le Mans engine program will make its debut at the 2013 running of the race. Mazda was the first – and to this day, remains the only – Asian manufacturer to score an overall win at the race, in 1991.
“This reopens our love affair with Le Mans,” said Jay Amestoy, Vice President of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “In 1991 we made history, winning with rotary technology. 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 current Mazda style, with engines being available for sale to European and U.S. customers competing in the LMP2 class for both the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).”
The engines are being developed jointly by Mazda Motor Corporation, Mazda North American Operations and SpeedSource Race Engineering. Dyno testing has already begun and on-track testing begins in late 2012.
The engines will be stock-block Mazda SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder, dual-stage turbocharged powerplants. According to John Doonan, MNAO's Director of Mazda Motorsports, “will deliver outstanding performance and fuel economy coupled with the kind of quality, durability and reliability needed to produce great street cars and win endurance races.”
Mr. Masahiro Moro, Executive Officer in charge of global sales and marketing of Mazda Motor Corporation, made the following comment: "Mazda has fostered the culture of 'never stop challenging.' And it was this spirit that drove us through 18 consecutive years of racing at Le Mans, until we finally triumphed in 1991. In fact, it is this same spirit that laid the foundation for the portfolio of SKYACTIV Technologies. This was realized thanks to a number of technological breakthroughs. I am pleased that we will be supporting our private customers who are taking up the Le Mans challenge by supplying race engines as a customer-program based on our SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL."
DEMPSEY RACING PLANNING TO BE FIRST SKYACTIV-D CUSTOMER
Planning and preparations continue for Dempsey Racing to become the first LMP2 customer for the Mazda SKYACTIV-D racing powerplant. Dempsey Racing is co-owned by racer/actor Patrick Dempsey.
Dempsey Racing has been racing Mazda RX-8s in the Grand-Am GT class since 2007 with their highlight being a podium finish at the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team has steadily improved their on-track performance since their arrival in the series, and was a key contributor to Mazda winning the 2010 Grand-Am GT Manufacturers Championship. With support from several partners such as VISITFLORIDA.com, Dempsey Racing expanded their operation this year to include a team running in the American Le Mans Series, and is competing in both the Prototype Challenge (LMPC) and Prototype 2 (LMP2) classes as they prepare for their Le Mans effort. In fact both team owner Dempsey and co-driver Joe Foster are currently testing their LMP2 car in Virginia as the rest of the sports car world focuses on the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.
Patrick Dempsey and his business partner/co-driver Joe Foster have both competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as drivers in the GT category, and are eager to return in 2013, this time in the LMP2 class and with Mazda SKYACTIV-D clean diesel-power.
Patrick Dempsey comments, “Our long-term partnership with Mazda has been fantastic, and we look forward to mutual success as we prepare for 2013. We are focused on that preparation which is why we are currently testing our LMP2 car here in the US in preparation for the next ALMS event. Our team and partners are excited to be associated with SKYACTIV-D technology and the cutting-edge green technology it represents."
Mazda Motorsports SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Le Mans Announcement (June 16, 2012) FAQ
Q1: In what car(s) will the engine be installed?
A1: Our show car is a Lola chassis. Lola has been a past partner with Mazda and is working with some current Mazda teams. Mazda will, however, work to support any other customer chassis manufacturers who are interested.
Q2: What are the horsepower and torque numbers for the SKYACTIV-D LMP2 engine?
A2: These are not yet set, but will be a function of the rules packages set by the ACO and the ALMS/IMSA.
Q3: What are the differences between the engines to be used at Le Mans versus the previously announced Grand-Am GX program?
A3: The exact specifications are not yet fixed, but it is hoped that the same basic engine will have multiple applications. The primary differences would be in chassis installation/plumbing requirements. As rules packages develop, we will be in a position to discuss the technical differences more fully.
Q4: Will MNAO manage the programs for WEC teams? What role will Mazda Europe play?
A4: The overall engine development program is being managed by MNAO with input from Mazda in both Japan and Europe. The role of Mazda Europe will be a function of the number of European teams competing with Mazda power in 2013.
Q5: Why LMP2 and not LMP1?
A5: LMP2 is for customer programs and Mazda is a customer focused company. The LMP2 class allows us to use a production block that we can make available (for sale or lease) to customer teams, making it more relevant to our business needs and objectives.