With a racing heritage going back decades, and a long-standing reputation as one of the most enthusiast-oriented of the Japanese automakers, Mazda announced yesterday that it will offer a race-spec version if its Skyactiv-D diesel engine for the Grand-Am's new GX Class, which will feature advanced-technology powerplants, starting with the 2013.
According to information released by Mazda, the engine will be based on a stock-block engine, and in testing, the block, head and common-rail injectors have proven robust enough for racing duty. The valves, pistons, connecting rods and oiling systems will be changed for racing duty, within class guidelines.
Estimated output of the engine was not announced, but the Grand-Am GX category has a 400-hp target output, although final rules and guidelines are to be determined. Mazda was also mum on what car will run the engine, and promised an announcement on specific vehicles will be coming later in 2012.
The engines are being jointly developed between Mazda Motor Corporation, Mazda North American Operations, and SpeedSource Engineering out of Coral Springs, Florida. The engines will be built by SpeedSource in Florida. The engine's racing debut will be at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
Considering the company's current financial situation, many may be questioning the company's announcement in the context of its current situation. Mazda stresses that this is not an expensive full factory-backed racing team effort, but rather the availability of this new powerplant to independent teams.
Mazda will provide technical support and assistance to teams that run the engine, and will provide race-by-race and season contingency sponsorship. The company notes that it sells more than $8 million in motorsports-related parts, and the addition of the Skyactiv-D racing engine should make it a revenue-positive proposition.