Posts Tagged ‘racing’

2014 Mazda Skyactiv Prototype looks ready for Daytona

Published by Mazda Blogs on January 17th, 2014

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2014 Mazda Skyactiv Prototype

With less than two weeks before the Mazda Skyactiv Prototype makes its race debut at the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Japanese Zoom-Zoom brand brought its diesel-powered racer to the floor of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

The red prototype marks Mazda’s return to prototype racing, and will campaign the inaugural Tudor United SportsCar Championship using a 2.2-liter, SkyActiv-D diesel engine. With 451 horsepower on tap and 580 pound-feet of torque, the racer should stand up well against a field of gas-powered competitors.

Should the Skyactiv win Daytona, it’ll be a coup for Mazda. The racer is running an engine with over 50 percent of its parts drawn from the oft-delayed production Skyactiv-D. Head up top for our full gallery of images of the new Skyactiv Prototype. The 2014 Rolex 24 will be run from January 25 to 26.

2014 Mazda Skyactiv Prototype looks ready for Daytona originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Jan 2014 11:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda returning to top-tier racing with diesel-powered prototype in USCC

Published by Mazda Blogs on November 15th, 2013

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Mazda Skyactiv-D USCC Prototype

Mazda has unveiled its latest challenger in the top flight of endurance racing, a diesel-powered prototype that will campaign the inaugural, 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship. The new Skyactiv-D-powered car will make its race debut at January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“This is the most significant step Mazda has taken towards returning to the global racing stage since our overall victory at Le Mans in 1991,” said the director of Mazda Motorsports, John Doonan. That historic racecar, the rotary-powered 787B, has grown to become one of Mazda’s many, well-known racers.

More recently, the Japanese brand has been making waves in the Grand-Am series, campaigning RX-8s and, most recently, running diesel-powered Mazda6 sedans in the GX-class. Mazda will campaign two factory-backed prototypes at Daytona. Driver lineups will be announced closer to race day.

Take a look below for a press release from Mazda on its latest racing effort.

Continue reading Mazda returning to top-tier racing with diesel-powered prototype in USCC

Mazda returning to top-tier racing with diesel-powered prototype in USCC originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Nov 2013 13:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda hits Vegas with a pair of Sixes

Published by Mazda Blogs on November 6th, 2013

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Mazda Club Sport 6 Concept

Despite the fact that the annual SEMA show is more of an exercise in what “could be” than what “will be,” it gives automakers the chance to stretch the legs of some of its most important models. Take the 2014 Mazda6, for example – it’s hardly new, having gone on sale early this year – but this year’s SEMA expo marks the first time Mazda has been able to show off the customization possibilities for its sleek midsize sedan. To that end, the Japanese automaker has arrived in Las Vegas with two very different takes on its sexy Six.

First up is the Mazda6 Club Sport you see above, wearing a “motorsports-inspired” gray, black and red accent-color scheme that, as Mazda says, is “represented in not-so-subtle angular lines reminiscent of a car speeding past your line of sight.” The whole car is done up in a base color of Composite Grey, and uses a Brilliant Black roof to match the similarly colored front, side and rear diffusers, as well as the rear spoiler. Mazda has fitted the Club Sport with Rays 57 Motorsport G07FXX 20-inch wheels, wrapped in Yokohama 245/35R20 tires. Powering the CS is Mazda’s 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D diesel four-cylinder engine (that we’ll get in the standard Six early next year), and other changes include an H&R spring kit, larger Brembo brakes and a Racing Beat exhaust.

Mazda6 Ceramic 6 ConceptAnd then there’s the Ceramic 6 Concept, pictured right. The name comes from the car’s Ceramic White paint, though we don’t really get the Taupe Silver accent stripes. Mazda says they’re meant to mimic “the linear frequency patterns found on the likes of couture dresses and flowing fabrics,” but it just looks a bit overwrought to us. The Mazda6 already has so many clean lines, why add more?

Mazda has fitted the Ceramic 6 with Rays Volk Racing Original G25 20-inch wheels, also finished in that same silver color. Additional upgrades include an H&R spring kit, larger Brembo brakes and a Racing Beat exhaust (sound familiar?). Inside, there are new, premium soft leathers throughout, in a white-and-black theme, with metallic accents.

Have a look at Mazda’s SEMA Sixes in the galleries above and below, and scroll down to read about the company’s full Vegas smattering in the press release.

Continue reading Mazda hits Vegas with a pair of Sixes

Mazda hits Vegas with a pair of Sixes originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Nov 2013 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda surprises us with four SEMA previews

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 29th, 2013

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Mazda3 concept car SEMA

Mazda6 skyactiv-d concept car SEMAWhile the cars to look forward to at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas are starting to stack up pretty high – Ford alone is bringing 57 vehicles – we hadn’t gotten word about what Mazda was up to before now. A shadowy digital figure has reached out to the Autoblog staff, providing us with four tantalizing images of SEMA showcar renderings, though without any substantive information to go with them.

We don’t have any idea what is under the hood or behind the wheels of this foursome of two Mazda6s and two Mazda3s (hatch and sedan), but we can say that we like the way the company’s lauded styling for all models is wearing the amped up wheels and paint schemes.

The Mazda3 hatchback seen here seems to be making overt overtures to the world of motorsport, with a lowered front splitter, super low-profile tires on massive wheels, and a number 3 writ large on the bodyside. The Mazda3 sedan gets a similar treatment without the numeration.

Mazda clearly isn’t done telling the performance story for its impending Mazda6 Skyactiv-D diesel, either. The gray over black sedan is wearing a “CS6 Diesel” marking on its door, and could perhaps be a toned down version of the company’s Skyactiv-D racecar. Look for more information about the SEMA cars on the Mazda stand, when we have it.

Mazda surprises us with four SEMA previews originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda Skyactiv-D racer first diesel to run at Indy in 60 years

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 26th, 2013

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While it may not be touting the old “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” axiom we all know and love, Mazda recognizes that racing can only improve its cars. And so it’s no surprise that the Japanese automaker is testing and refining its Skyactiv-D diesel engine by sending it out on various race tracks around the country – notably being the first diesel ever to compete at Daytona and the first to notch a Grand Am win at Road Atlanta.

Next up? Indy. It has been over 60 years since a diesel-powered machine ran at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Cummins-powered racer that competed in the 1952 Indy 500 with a 6.6-liter inline-six-cylinder oil-burner was a fast and brutal machine that set a new lap record in qualifying leading up to the race. Though that car was withdrawn with turbocharger failure 71 laps in, its diesel powerplant left an indelible impression on the racing community, and that’s something Mazda hopes to accomplish once again.

Mazda says that the diesel engine in its race car is pretty darn close to stock – 51 percent stock by parts count, and 63 percent stock by weight – which means the way it performs in competition is at least a somewhat meaningful way to the stock engine’s durability in the real world. Check out the image of the Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racer posing alongside the 1952 Cummins above (click to enlarge) and feel free to peruse the press release below for the rest of the details.

Continue reading Mazda Skyactiv-D racer first diesel to run at Indy in 60 years

Mazda Skyactiv-D racer first diesel to run at Indy in 60 years originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Bauer Catfish is a Miata-based trackstar in the making [w/videos]

Published by Mazda Blogs on June 25th, 2013

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Mazda Miata-based Bauer Catfish trackday racer - front three-quarter view while racing

We’re not trying to make a joke here. The creation you see above really is called the Bauer Catfish, and while the name is about as attractive as your average bottom feeder, the car itself is built on a sexy notion. Take the mechanical bits of one 1990-2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata, add in a tube chassis for as little weight as possible, complete with some custom body work and go forth. Bauer says the finished product weighs in at just 1,550 pounds, and the company will be happy to pull the stock four-cylinder to drop in a healthy General Motors LS V8.

The pre-production prototype shown above competed in last year’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill, finished the race and earned a spot on the podium in the “anything goes for sports racers” ESR class. Very cool.

If you’re looking for a dedicated track car, it may not get any better than this for the money. Expect to pay around $13,900 depending on options, plus the cost of your donor Miata. That’s a good sight cheaper than a used Chevy Corvette Z06 and likely to be quite a bit more fun. After you’re done watching it in action in the brief videos below, check it out over at Bauer Ltd.

Continue reading Bauer Catfish is a Miata-based trackstar in the making [w/videos]

Bauer Catfish is a Miata-based trackstar in the making [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar gets first win at Road Atlanta

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 23rd, 2013

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Mazda has a long motorsports history, and one that is peppered with fascinating cars. The latest chapter in Mazda’s racing story has just been written, as Joel Miller and Andrew Carbonell have driven the Visit Florida Racing Mazda6 Skyactiv-D to the car’s first ever victory at the Rolex Grand-Am GX race at Road Atlanta. The win marks the first ever for Mazda’s diesel-burning, production-car based Skyactiv-D racer, and the first win for a diesel-powered car in a Grand-Am event.

In fact, it was a particularly good day for the Mazda Motorsports team, as a Mazda6 also picked up the third finishing spot at Road Atlanta. Director of Mazda Motorsports, John M. Doonan, said of the racecar, “We’ve always said that the best street cars make the best racecars, and, with more than half of the components in the race engine being shared with the street engine, this program is a solid proof-point.”

SpeedSource Engineering, which helped to build the Mazda6 racer, was greatly heartened by the car’s performance in just it’s fourth-ever race. Owner Sylvain Tremblay called the victory, “a tribute to the thousands of hours of hard work over many months,” continuing, “The normal plan with a new car is to spend the first year in development, the second year seeking race wins, and challenging for a championship in year three. We are already at our year-two status after four races. We can’t wait to get to the Belle Isle course in Detroit for round five.”

Continue reading Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar gets first win at Road Atlanta

Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar gets first win at Road Atlanta originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Apr 2013 11:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before

Published by Mazda Blogs on January 27th, 2013

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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.

Continue reading Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before

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.

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Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 25th, 2011

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Point. Shoot. Grin.

Flyin' Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Wedging myself into the cockpit of Keith Tanner’s 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned Targa Newfoundland podium finisher, I’m struck with the realization that most race cars are the automotive equivalent of a pet electric eel. They look fantastic lounging around, and you may even be struck with the impulse to get close, but the reality is that it’s only a matter of time before it reaches out and lights you up like a cheap string of Christmas lights. This notion is only underscored when Tanner hands me a set of noise-cancelling headphones with an integrated com system.

“Here. You’ll probably want these,” he says. “It can get kind of loud in here.”

With a 400-horsepower General Motors L33 wedged between the fenders of the poised Miata, it’s only a matter of time before the stripped interior resonates with the sound of eight furious cylinders. I ask if there’s anything I should know before I hit the ignition. Tanner says no. I’m beginning to suspect he’s lying to me.

Continue reading Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video]

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 1st, 2011

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Mid-stage is no time to let your driver know his navigator has no damn clue what’s going on.

My helmet has just been crammed into the cross ribs of the roof of our Miata for the third time in less than a kilometer, driving a guttural “OOMPH” from my lungs mid-sentence at the same time. I regain my breath, look from the route book to the kitchen timer that’s Velcroed to the rally computer on the dash, and start counting out the seconds on my fingers. My tiny brain is already too overloaded for simple math, and I’ve reduced myself to elementary school tricks for quick calculations. It’s the fifth stage of the fourth day, and the verdict isn’t good; we’re a far cry from our target time.

“We are 17 seconds slow,” I say into the mic, doing my best to stifle any tones of urgency.

“Seventeen seconds? Are you sure?”

The short answer is that no, I’m not sure. For the first time in a full week’s worth of time-speed-distance rallying, our time intervals are making no damn sense. We’ll pass one and be 25 seconds down only to pass the next and be within five seconds of our target. I’m all kinds of crossed up, but mid-stage is no time to let your driver know his navigator has no damn clue what’s going on.

“I’m sure. Beat on this thing.”

Always project confidence.

Continue reading How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video]

How to lose the 2011 Targa Newfoundland in one easy step [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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