Mazda Motorsports today announced that it will supply racing versions of its new SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engines to customer teams competing in Grand-Am's new GX Class for advanced/clean technologies, beginning with the 2013 season.
“This opens a new chapter in racing for us,” said Jay Amestoy, Vice President of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “We've won with rotary technology, and now we're looking to again put our customers in the winner's circle with what we believe will be the most advanced and cleanest production-based powerplant the sport has ever seen.”
The engines will be stock-block Mazda SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder, dual-stage turbocharged powerplants that, 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.”
Mazda remains the only Asian auto maker committed to bringing modern clean-diesel technology to the United States. The production Mazda SKYACTIV-D features include:
- 14:1 low compression ratio
- New two-stage turbocharger
- A 5,200 rpm redline
- Compared to Mazda's current-production 2.2L MZR-CD diesel engine:
• Up to 20% reduction in fuel consumption
• 20% reduction in internal engine friction
• 10% reduction in weight
Since 2007, Mazda has been competing in the Grand-Am GT class with the rotary-powered RX-8. Mazda racers have secured manufacturers, team and drivers championships, along with 2008 and 2010 GT-class wins by the SpeedSource RX-8 in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. With the RX-8 no longer in production for the U.S. market, Mazda needed a new challenge.
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY will allow Mazda to chart its own path in racing, showcasing the latest in fuel-efficient, powerful and clean powertrains.
The engines are being developed jointly by Mazda Motor Corp., Mazda North American Operations and SpeedSource Engineering. Dyno testing has already begun and on-track testing begins in late 2012. Engine pricing and terms will be announced at a later date.
The actual Mazda model in which the SKYACTIV-D racing engine will be installed will be announced after the conclusion of the 2012 Grand-Am racing season.
Q&A: MAZDA GX ENTRY
Q1: What car(s) will the engine be installed in for the new Grand-Am GX class?
A1: We are not yet ready to announce the specific vehicles for 2013. Expect an announcement on this in late 2012.
Q2: What are the horsepower and torque numbers?
A2: The current target horsepower for the Grand-Am GX category is 400hp, but final horsepower and torque numbers will be a function of the final rules packages set by Grand-Am.
Q3: Why diesel?
A3: Mazda believes in racing what we sell. Mazda is re-entering the diesel market, so this is an optimal time to showcase our SKYACTIV-Clean Diesel technology.
Q4: Given the challenging business scenario for Mazda, is this a wise use of resources?
A4: Racing is important to both Mazda and Mazda customers. The fact that these engines will be sold to race teams means that they will generate revenue as a part of our overall motorsports parts program.
Q5: Does that mean Mazda will profit on each engine?
A5: Financial numbers are confidential, but Mazda currently sells approximately $8M in parts to racers each year. Enhancing the revenue with SKYACTIV-Diesel engine sales will help the overall motorsports budget.
Q6: Will Mazda be supporting teams financially?
A6: While Mazda may work with a lead development team, the goal is to not support a factory effort, but rather to support all customer programs equally with technical support, as well as race-by-race and full season championship contingency.
Q7: What is SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY?
A7: 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. 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.
Q8: How much carryover is there from the street engine to the race version?
A8: 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.
Q9: Will Mazda race this in other series or classes?
A9: We are investigating other markets where this engine could be sold. Other announcements will be made as decisions are made.
Q10: What is the expected engine Life?
A10: 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.
Q11: Who is building the engines?
A11: The engines are being developed by SpeedSource Race Engineering in conjunction with Mazda North American Operations and Mazda Motor Corporation. Final assembly will take place at the SpeedSource facility in Coral Springs, Florida.
Q12: When will the SKYACTIV Diesel make its racing debut?
A12: The Mazda SKYACTIV-Diesel will make its racing debut at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona, where Mazda will be seeking their 24th class win.
Q13: Who will Mazda be competing against in Grand-Am GX?
A13: You would need to ask Grand-Am. We are the first to commit to the class but hope others will be making announcements in the months ahead.
Q14: Will Mazda continue support for Mazda RX-8 teams in 2013?
A14: Our support for RX-8 teams will not end after the conclusion of the 2012 Grand-Am season. We will add technical support for all SKYACTIV-D customers starting in 2013. Meanwhile, Mazda will also continue to pay contingency for teams racing RX-8's in 2013.
Q15: Why did you announce this engine program today?
A15: Obviously, we needed to wait until Grand-Am announced the GX class, which was done yesterday. The large concentration of automotive media in Southeast Michigan made the Detroit race weekend a logical time/place to make our announcement.