Archive for January, 2013
It took 24 hours to run the race, but it was the last one was stuffed with the high action as four cars were still trying to figure out how to gain victory on the track and in the pits. Along with the obligatory crashes, spins, mechanical issues and retirements had come numerous penalties, a double-digit number of full-course yellows and two hours of fog that turned early Sunday morning into a stretch of parade laps.
The final hour would make up for the morning – drivers who might have been happy just to get on the podium had a shot at victory as the end of the race approached, and that turned into a few gambles that paid off, and at least one that didn’t…
The 2013 Rolex 24-hour race at Daytona comes down to the last hour [spoilers, w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
There has never been a four-door diesel sedan in the Grand-Am series, until now: The blunt, bewinged grille of the Mazda6 GX has blown right through that wall. It’s said that racing improves the breed, but usually the breed has gone on sale when the racing begins. One of the unusual aspects of the Mazda6 GX, on the other hand, is that while the diesel won’t go on sale to the public until later this year, it will already have tasted racing blood by the end of the day. That kind of reversal is more likely found with super coupes like the Lexus LFA and Honda NSX.
Mazda has taken class wins at Daytona’s 24-hour race a whopping 23 times since 1975, most recently in 2010 with the RX-8 in the GT class. This year the Hiroshima company decided to show off its SkyActiv technology, then turned things up to eleven by opting for its SkyActiv-D instead of the more conventional SkyActiv-G gas engine to run in the new GX class. It will be joined by competitors like the Lotus Evora and Porsche Cayman in the class, nevertheless, at 2.4 liters, it’s the smallest engine on the grid.
Time has not been a friend, either – Mazda said that the first five SkyActiv-D engines off the production line went to Speed Source in Coral Gables, Florida, the company that preps Mazda’s race vehicles. Still, race driver Jonathan Baumarito on the #70 car said that although the engine’s been on the dyno since February of last year, it’s only been in the car for about a month and there have been only a couple of test days.
Speed Source owner, team driver and multiple 24-hour winner Sylvain Tremblay – he drove in the teams that won in 2008 and 2010 in the RX-8 – said the big challenge right now is getting the gearing right. Both Tremblay and Baumarito said that the diesel’s torque is a plus through the Bus Stop section at the back of the course, entered after coming off the high-speed banked turn. But Tremblay said that the first infield section of horseshoes is more trying because the SkyActiv-D needs to be on boost to get its power on, and that doesn’t happen until after 3,500; maintaining that through slow-speed turns and having enough to get the job done through the high-speed ovals is the test.
There are three Mazda6 GXs competing, Everyone is cautiously optimistic about how things might go during the race, but in fairness this has to be looked at as a 24-hour testing session. Road & Track rode shotgun for a lap in the #00 Visit Florida Racing car, you can check out the sounds of diesel at Daytona in the video below.
Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Jan 2013 19:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Although a little bit later than expected, Mazda and Fiat have signed a final agreement that will bring a next-generation MX-5 Miata to the Japanese automaker and a new roadster to Alfa Romeo. When the proposed arrangement was announced back in May, the two automakers had hoped to seal the deal last year, but it doesn’t appear that the production timeline for these cars has slipped any, with both expected to start rolling off assembly lines in 2015.
Other than a shared chassis with a rear-wheel-drive layout, it sounds like the two cars are still planned to be distinct in their own ways from their styling right down to their engines. Mazda will produce both cars at a plant in Hiroshima, Japan, but it isn’t clear what role each automaker will play in the cars’ developmental process. The big question, of course, is what clever portmanteau name we can come up with, like Toyobaru. Mazda Romeo is the easy choice, but Alfazda might roll off the tongue a little better.
Scroll down for a brief press release from both automakers.
Mazda and Fiat finalize deal for Alfa roadster, next-gen MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Jan 2013 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Mazda technologies like SkyActiv-Body and SkyActiv-Chassis, plus ultra-high-tensile steel, six airbags, “crusable” brake and accelerator pedal assembly and collapsible steering column have helped the 2013 Mazda3 and 2014 Mazda CX-5 win Top Safety Pick laurels from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s the second year in a row for the Mazda3.
The accolade is earned by receiving “Good” marks for frontal moderate overlap crashes, side and rear impact crashes, and tests of roof strength. Remember, the small overlap test that the IIHS commenced in August 2012 has lately tripped up some makers who have excellent safety reputations.
The Mazda3 and CX-5 join offerings like the Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Subaru Forester among the 117 vehicles so far declared Top Safety Picks – which is different than the 13 named Top Safety Picks+, mind you – for this year. Have a read of the press release below for more information.
It may not be quite as radical as some of the company’s past rotary racers, but the new Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar does have a notable powertrain underhood: the automaker’s brand-new clean diesel four-cylinder engine.
Three of these new diesel-powered Mazda6 racers will take to the track in the Grand-Am GX class of the upcoming 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 26, with five drivers on each team. The car you see above, number 70, is sponsored by Mazda’s longtime motorsports partner, SpeedSource.
Mazda6 Skyactiv-D Racecar ready to bring diesel to Grand-Am originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Jan 2013 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
After the turmoil of last year, 2013 is getting off to a much better start for Mazda. The company has issued a release indicating that the forthcoming plant in Salamanca, Mexico has had its production capacity raised even though it isn’t scheduled to go online until March 2014. The original plans called for a 140,000-unit capacity, 90,000 of that allotted for the Mazda2 and Mazda3, the remaining 50,000 for a small car Mazda would build for Toyota that would be based on the Mazda2. The new plans call for raising that by 90,000 units to a total of 230,000 units within two years, by the end of March 2016, and it looks like it will all go toward Mazda production to satisfy growing demand for Skyactiv vehciles. The Mexican plant’s opening will be the return of Mazda manufacturing to North America, after Mazda6 production was moved back to Japan last year.
More good news for the company is that it projects 10 billion yen ($114 million) in net income for the financial year that will end in March. That would be a welcome turnaround from the 100-billion-yen loss in the previous financial year, part of a series of three annual losses in a four-year span.
You’ll find the press release with the factory update below.
Mazda’s new Mexican plant capacity rises to 230,000 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 05 Jan 2013 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Mazda is getting serious about showing off the Skyactiv-D turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine in the Mazda6. The automaker has just announced it will campaign three diesel Mazda6 racers in the Grand-Am GX class of the upcoming 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona in a quest to walk away with the company’s 24th class win. Mazda partnered with SpeedSource to develop the race version of the new sedan, with Japanese and American engineers lending a helping hand where needed. Meanwhile, Freedom Autosport and Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource/Yellow Dragon Racing will helm teams of their own.
Each car will make use of a five-driver team for the 24-hour race on January 26. In the interim, you can check out the full press release below for more information as well as the full driver roster. Mazda says we can expect to see the No. 70 SpeedSource car under the lights at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show later this month, as well.
Mazda6 diesel to race at Rolex 24, team and drivers announced originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Jan 2013 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.