Mazda has announced it will be competing at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours event with a racing version of its clean 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D turbodiesel engine.
Following the adoption of diesel race engines by Audi and Peugeot in the race’s LMP1 class at the famous twice-round-the-clock French classic, Mazda has decided to race-tune the ultra-efficient engine found in the new Mazda CX-5 crossover and other products.
The new motor will be eligible for competition in the LMP2 category – a formula that is capped by cost and ideally suited to the new engine.
The four-cylinder power plant is a highly economical unit, returning 61.4mpg combined with 199g/km CO2 emissions in the Mazda CX-5. With strong performance and efficiency – characteristics looked for by sportscar teams – the SKYACTIV-D engine has the makings of a great race product thanks to its amazing on-road performance.
Endurance racing has a large focus upon efficiency as the less time spent refuelling – and the further you can run on a given amount of fuel – gives you the ability to extend your lead over your competitors.
The firm has excellent experience in endurance racing and is still the only Japanese manufacturer ever to win Le Mans outright, achieved in 1991 with a rotary-engined car that set the ball rolling for modern Mazda sports coupés such as the RX-8.
American sportscar racing team Dempsey Racing will be the first customers to utilise Mazda diesel power at Le Mans and are thrilled to be the pioneers of the firm’s diesel racing technology:
“Our long-term partnership with Mazda has been fantastic, and we look forward to mutual success as we prepare for 2013,” said team owner, Patrick Dempsey.
“Our team and partners are excited to be associated with SKYACTIV-D technology and the cutting-edge green technology it represents.”
The new race engine will debut next year and initial testing of the power plant has already begun.
Visitors to T W White & Sons showrooms in Bookham, Surrey and Orpington, Kent can have an early viewing of the new engine too: the road-going version is fitted to the new Mazda CX-5 which is available for test drive at our branches today.