Mazda taking a page out of the Audi playbook with a diesel racer at the Rolex 24 at Daytona to highlight the arrival of the diesel Mazda6 in North America.
Between the Miller-cycle engine in the Millennia, the rotary in the RX-7 and the world's smallest V6 that was shoehorned into the MX3 hatch, Mazda has an extensive and proven track record of developing and marketing innovative approaches to the internal-combustion engine. And for the first time, it will offer a diesel in North America. We're talking about the new Mazda6, which the Japanese automaker has confirmed will be available Stateside with its SkyActive-D 2.2-liter diesel engine.
We can't tell if you yawned or not at that piece of news, but either way, you may find this next big more exciting. Mazda has announced that it will campaign a racing version of the Mazda6, complete with diesel power, in the Grand-Am series next year. The racing league, which is preparing to merge with the American Le Mans Series, will allow the diesel-powered Mazda6 to campaign in the GX class for experimental technologies. Previewed by this solitary rendering, the Mazda6 racer will pack in more than 400 horsepower from a racing-tuned version of the SkyActive-D that will share 60 percent of its components with the production powerplant.
It's scheduyled to debut at the headline Rolex 24 at Daytona, the American endurance racing classic that traditionally kicks off the new racing season in late January or early February of each year. Of course this won't be the first diesel racing car, Audi having dominated Le Mans for years with its TDIs and Seat having done the same in the World Touring Car Championship. Bringing diesel power to racetracks in the US, however, could put Mazda and its new SkyActive technology on the map for American racing fans... and potential customers.