Friday, November 30, 2012

Mazda Burnishes New Mazda6 Clean-Diesel Reputation

Mazda announces its participation in the 2013 Grand Am racing series in front of the media crowd gathered at the LA Auto Show during Press Days. Image Credit:Edmund Jenks (2012)

Mazda Burnishes New Mazda6 Clean-Diesel Reputation

Mazda North American Operations, in a move to further enhance its reputation as a company that builds cars that are fun to drive, announced that the new, redesigned Mazda6, Mazda's flagship mid-sized car, will be entered into the Grand Am series running on Mazda's SKYACTIV technology clean-diesel.

The 2014 Mazda6 will make its motorsports debut at the Rolex 24 endurance race on January 26-27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Mazda6 racecar will be powered by a Mazda SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine (video) and is being developed to compete in the new GRAND-AM GX class.

This announced entrant marks the first time a diesel-powered vehicle of any type will have ever raced at the Rolex 24. Mazda will be seeking their 24th class win in the American endurance classic, having most recently won in 2008 and 2010.

John Doonan, Motorsports Director, Mazda North American Operations noted that:

“We have been eager to announce this car for months, but had to wait until the production car was revealed. The SpeedSource engineering team, working with the Mazda engineers, have been flat out for months on engine development. We’re happy to report that the engine is meeting the performance targets for both power and endurance. That means 400+ hp for over 50 hours, with an engine that includes a very long list of production Mazda parts. This is not a pure race engine; it is a production block SKYACTIV-D. We’re excited about having our newest engine powering our newest car.”

A few of the Mazda Young Guns 2013 - Kenton Koch, Elliott Skeer, Gustavo Menezes, Joey Jordan, at LA Auto Show. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The Mazda6 was one of the first models declared eligible for the GX class, along with Lotus Evora GX and Porsche Cayman. The class will help nurture emerging technologies such as alternative fuels.

When one first sees the redesigned Mazda6, one is struck at the overall upgrade to the styling, primarily with the front end grille and rear tail light configuration. The front impresses the eye with a look similar to a blending of a Mercedes and a Volvo (not bad styling company), with the rear leaving one with the feel of a high-end Lexus without the ridging jut of the tail-light ... the Mazda6 being smoothed and rounded, say sophisticated.

Strongly influenced by the TAKERI Concept, the Mazda6 makes no excuses for its style, safety and spunk – qualities usually absent in a mid-size sedan. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012) 

The GX racing version of the Mazda6 is being developed by SpeedSource and Mazda engineers. The challenge expects to have two factory entries ready to compete at Daytona.

GX will join the Daytona Prototype and GT classes in events sanctioned by Grand-Am Road Racing in 2013, the last year before Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series merge in a single organization that has yet to be named.

Models eligible for GX besides the Mazda6, Evora and Cayman include the Audi TT, BMW 1 Series, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus sedan, Hyundai Genesis, Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S, Nissan 370Z or Altima, and Volkswagen Eos.

The KODO "Soul of Motion" design language commands and creates every facet of the vehicle's handsome sheet metal, from its alluringly swept elongated hood and cab-forward proportions to the chiseled steel shaping its frame, the Mazda6 suggests power and elegance before the gas pedal is even floored to go. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

In making its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the highly-anticipated mid-size sedan will go on sale in January 2013 and be equipped first with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine.  The SKYACTIV-D-equipped version will follow suit during the second half of the year, making Mazda the first Asian manufacturer to offer a modern-technology clean-diesel engine in a non-commercial vehicle. The 2014 Mazda6 also will be the first production vehicle to feature Mazda's capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system called i-ELOOP.

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Mazda Burnishes New Mazda6 Clean-Diesel Reputation on Technorati **

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