Mazda will once again attempt to demonstrate the performance and durability of its SkyActiv-D diesel-powered 6 sedan by entering a trio of the cars into the 25 Hours of Thunderhill race. Of the three Mazda 6 diesel racers, one will be fielded by a team of Mazda North American Operations employees and two others will be driven by representatives from Mazda dealers.
Unlike the company's previous Mazda 6 Diesel race cars that raced in the Grand Am GX class (pictured below), this trio of cars is closely based on European-market production models. The cars were modified over the past few months by a volunteer crew, although the 2.2-liter turbodiesel engines remain stock with about 173 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, and will send power through an unchanged six-speed manual transmission. However, the rest of the cars have been thoroughly modified. The interior has been stripped and replaced by a roll cage, racing seats, a fire-suppression system, and racing data loggers. ProParts USA provided new springs, shock absorbers, and anti-roll bars for the suspension; Enkei supplied 17-inch wheels shod in BFGoodrich racing tires; and Mazda enlisted StopTech to outfit the race cars with four-piston brake calipers and large brake rotors.
The trio of Mazda 6 diesel race cars will enter the 25-hour endurance race in California in the National Auto Sport Association E1 class. There are a total of 70 cars entered in the race, including a total of 13 Mazda models. This year's race takes place on December 7 and 8.
Although Mazda plans to sell a diesel version of the 6 in the U.S., the car's launch has been pushed back until spring 2014, explaining why Mazda had to use European cars for its racing efforts.