Mazda SkyActiv-D racing turbodiesel heading to Le Mans in 2013
Earlier this month, Mazda announced that it was developing a racing version of its new 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D turbodiesel engine that would be sold to competitors in the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) for use in an unnamed production-based Mazda vehicle that will contest the new GX category that starts next year. Now, the automaker has confirmed that its Mazda Motorsport operation will offer a similar version of this new clean diesel for use in LMP2 prototype cars that will be eligible to run at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as participate in both the FIA's World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the ALMS. Like the GX-spec version, this 2.2-liter four-cylinder is based on the firm's production stock-block SkyActiv-D engine and is being developed jointly by Mazda Motor Corporation, Mazda North American Operations and SpeedSource Race Engineering.
Dempsey Racing, a current ALMS team co-owned by actor/driver Patrick Dempsey and Joe foster is scheduled to be the first customer for this new engine. The team has competed successfully with a Mazda RX-8 in the ALMS' GT category and both drivers also have previous Le Mans experience. Testing is currently underway on a new Dempsey Racing LMP2 entry that's scheduled to make its first appearance at an upcoming ALMS event here later this summer. From there, the team will move on to an even bigger challenge: Qualifying its SkyActiv-D charger for a spot on the grid at the 2013 running of the 24 hours of Le Mans next June.
"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." To date, Mazda is the one and only Japanese automaker to ever have been victorious at the French endurance classic.