Mazda to Campaign Diesel Prototype for United SportsCar Championship
Automaker Looks to Build on 2013 Grand-Am Title
After proving its diesel dominance in the GX class of the Grand-Am Road Racing series—where the 2014 Mazda Mazda6 won both the 2013 manufacturers title and nine of 12 races during the season—Mazda will rely on its SKYACTIV-D “Smart Diesel” technology to contend for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (USCC). The new motorsports competition was created by a merger between Grand-Am’s Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series, and will represent the pinnacle of road racing in this country.
Mazda will naturally target the very top of the peak by competing in the series’ Prototype class, open to “the fastest and most technologically advanced cars in North America,” according to the USCC. In fact, the purpose-built Prototype racers will be capable of speeds in excess of 200 mph, which is just fine with Sylvain Tremblay. As the owner of SpeedSource Engineering, Tremblay helped oversee last year’s Mazda6 diesel-racing program, and he will serve the same role in developing Mazda’s new Prototype cars.
"As a racer, you always want to be in the fastest class,” said Tremblay. “The development of the Mazda SKYACTIV-D was a great deal of work by Mazda and SpeedSource and it will be quite the task to take this to the front of the prototype class in only our second year of competition. Mazda and SpeedSource will have a busy November and December of testing as we prepare for [the first race in] Daytona."
Added John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports: "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 … [W]e're confident that our two prototype cars will challenge the best North America has to offer."
It’s also worth noting that Mazda hasn’t officially retired its 2014 Mazda Mazda6 diesel racers, and is now talking to teams about reconfiguring the cars for the USCC’s GT Daytona class.
The first United SportsCar Championship season kicks off Jan. 25-26, 2014, with the Rolex 24 Hours endurance classic at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.