SKYACTIV Diesel Technology Comes Back To Corporate Home Track
Anticipation was the word going into the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix weekend of races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, May 1-3, 2015.
The Mazda SpeedSource SKYACTIV Prototype diesel-powered team effort seems to be a bit frustrated after just three races into this 12 race Tudor United Sports Car Championship season. After finishing no better than 7th this season, the feeling throughout the Mazda SpeedSource Prototype paddock was this would be the race for a breakthrough since these cars and the type of torque and mileage delivered by the experimental SpeedSource SKYACTIV Diesel engines seems suited to the multiple turns, elevation changes, and shorter straights characterized by the corporate named track near Monterey.
|The fuel efficient Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype at the top of the Corkscrew, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)|
This excerpted and edited from Planet Le Mans -
Mazda Prototypes at Mazda Raceway: High Expectations
April 29, 2015
There’s a new kind of pressure on the Mazda SpeedSource Prototypes for this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda. Race number four for the TUDOR United SportsCar Series will take place Sunday, May 3 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The two-hour, forty-minute race takes place at a track which plays into the strengths of the chassis and SpeedSource SKYACTIV Diesel engines. The team aims to live up to the pressure of heightened expectations with drivers such as Jonathan Bomarito, who grew up in Monterey, and Tom Long, who will be pulling triple duty through the weekend.
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 70, Mazda Prototype
“Yes, there is pressure. But it’s a good pressure. We’re expected to do well – plus the track is named Mazda Raceway! The opportunity is there for us to capitalize.”
Why do the Mazda Prototypes perform so well at this track? “Mazda Raceway allows us to showcase all of the elements where we excel. The track has 11 corners, and not a lot of long straights. All of the corners that lead into the straights, such as turns four and six, are smooth, medium- to high-speed corners that play to the aerodynamic strength of our chassis and the torque of our diesel engine. Our chassis likes to be run close to the ground for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, and the smooth track allows us to run much lower than at a bumpy course like Long Beach. All of those elements play into what we believe is a performance advantage. It’s our strongest track, so we expect to perform well.”
Bomarito is a native of Monterey and expects a large contingent of supporters for the event. “My best friend, my family and many more. My mom knows everyone in the Monterey Peninsula, so there will be a lot of familiar faces there.”
Tom Long, driver, No. 07, Mazda Prototype
Long has three distinct roles this weekend at Mazda Raceway. In addition to driving the No. 07 Prototype, he will be racing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race in a Mazda MX-5 with Freedom Autosport.
My main focus is certainly with the SpeedSource Mazda Prototype. We have the tools we need to really compete, so that’s the number one priority for me. I have to make the best of it and capitalize on such a great opportunity.”
About Mazda Raceway: “It’s not my home track because I’m from the East Coast, but I really like it. I’ve driven a lot of laps and done a lot of driver coaching for Mazda here. I think the coaching and tutoring really help me. If you understand the track better by teaching it to others, I believe it has the advantage of being an almost subconscious boost when it’s time for me behind the wheel.”
Mazda Driver Lineup / Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Car No. 07 Tom Long / Joel Miller
Car No. 70 Jonathan Bomarito / Tristan Nunez
The pair of sleek Corporate colored and SKYACTIV liveried Soul Red cars are coming off of their best finishes of the year, with the SpeedSource No. 07 finishing seventh and the SpeedSource No. 70 finishing eighth (out of a field of 9 cars in class) at the Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
|Tristan Nunez, who has been doing double duty driving in two racing series (Verizon IndyCar Series), pilots the SpeedSource #70 Mazda Prototype through the famed Corkscrew Turn at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)|
The weekend hopes had a promising beginning because for the second time in four races, a Mazda SpeedSource SKYACTIV Prototype led the race. At about 45 minutes into the 2 hr. and 40 min. trophy dash, after starting eighth in a nine car class field.
This excerpted and edited from Concept Carz -
MAZDA PROTOTYPE MATCHES BEST-EVER FINISH AT MAZDA RACEWAY
May 3, 2015 - Concept Carz
The No. 70 Mazda Prototype with drivers Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito recorded a finish of sixth in class and seventh overall in today's Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda. Both numbers match the best-ever results for the diesel-powered Mazda Prototypes, which began an aggressive development program in 2014.
Tristan Nunez, who started the race in the No. 70 car, led seven laps, taking advantage of the fuel economy from the diesel engine. It is the second race that Mazda has led this season.
The sister car, the No. 07, started strong with driver Tom Long before dropping out of the running early with engine issues. Long and teammate Joel Miller finished ninth in the Prototype category.
Tristan Nunez, driver, No. 70 Mazda Prototype About starting the race and being in the midst of heavy race traffic: 'As the starting driver, you have to think of the long view of the race. Mostly, I was thinking of putting it in Jonathan's hands. That's what's tough as the starting driver: you have all of the traffic - it's mayhem in front of you - but you've got to keep the car clean. Our plan was to keep up with the leaders so that we could get in a position where we could lead and take advantage of our fuel mileage advantage.'
|SpeedSource #70 Mazda Prototype Diesel powers out of Turn 6 on its way up the Rahal Straight. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)|
About leading overall for the first time in his young Prototype career (Nunez is 19 years old.): 'The team came on the radio and told me that I was leading the race, and then I looked at the No. 70 up on the (scoreboard). It was really surreal. I dreamed of leading and winning with this team since I started racing. It was my dream to wear the Mazda brand. And what better place to do it than Mazda Raceway! This is the race track where I won my first car race… oh gosh, I was such a young boy. It was 2010 in the Skip Barber Series.'
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 70 Mazda Prototype About matching the best-ever finish for the Prototype: 'We're racing at Mazda Raceway in a Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda - so it's an amazing day really. I feel bad for the guys on the No. 07 car, they had some trouble early, but the No. 70 had a great race. Good strategy, good pit stops. The drivers want so bad to have good results for these crew guys who work so hard year-round, and for Mazda and SpeedSource. I'm happy about the day and the car ran great.'
About repeatedly lowering his personal-best lap times late in the race: 'When the field gets spread out, you're almost racing yourself. Primarily, you're managing traffic and trying to keep improving that lap time. That's what keeps you motivated and pushing, and we were running a really decent pace at the end of the race.
(ht: Mazda Motorsports)
SpeedSource celebrated its 20th anniversary on Monday, the day after this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda. Next race, SpeedSource hopes to have both cars finish and place setting new marks in race five to be held May 30, 2015 at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers at Belle Isle near Detroit, Michigan.
... notes from The EDJE
TAGS: Continental Tire, Monterey Grand Prix, Mazda, SpeedSource, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, SKYACTIV, Nunez, Bomarito, Long, Miller, The EDJE