Mazda showed off its racing-ready Skyactiv-D turbo-diesel I-4 last summer, but now the Japanese automaker has given us the full run-down on its new Mazda-6-based racecar and driver roster for the 2013 Rolex 24 Grand Am race later this month.
Mazda Motorsports will field three new cars in the January endurance race, all of which will be painted in vibrant green, orange, or red hues. The green Freedom Autosport #25 car will be manned by Andrew Carbonell, Tom Long, Rhett O'Doski, and Derek Whitis; the orange Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource/Yellow Dragon #00 will have Joel Miller, Tristan Nunez, Spencer Pigot, Yojiro Terada, and Tristan Vautier behind the wheel; while the black-and-red SpeedSource #70 car will be piloted by Jonathan Bomarito, Marino Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe, Tom Long, and Sylvain Tremblay.
The automaker has yet to disclose the exact output ratings of the new racing engine, but the Grand Am class that the new cars will be racing in has a target rating of 400 hp. Mazda has previously said that the engine will be based on a stock engine block, but that it has changed out valves, pistons, connecting rods, and oiling systems for racing duties. In European specification, the 2014 Mazda 6's 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D engine produces 173 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.
While Mazda Motorsports may be welcoming in a new set of teams, it will also be saying goodbye to two long-standing partners – Mazda will be parting ways with Dempsey Racing and Team Sahlen's. On the departure, John Doonan, motorsports director for Mazda North America said: "We wish everyone at Dempsey Racing and Team Sahlen’s great success in 2013, and we part as friends. We may still collaborate on future programs in the years ahead, and we’ll always welcome them back to the Mazda family, should it make sense for both of us."