New GRAND-AM GX Class Gets Mazda6 As First Diesel-Powered Vehicle To Compete In Rolex 24 It's official. Mazda North American will field a Mazda6 in GRAND-AM's new GX category beginning with January's Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Mazda's announcement came amidst the glitz and glamour of this week's Los Angeles Auto Show. The race car will be powered by the manufacturer's SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine and will mark the first time a diesel-powered vehicle of any type has competed in America's premier, twice-around-the-clock event.
Mazda will be seeking its 24th class victory in the Rolex 24, having most recently won in 2008 and 2010.
John Doonan, Motorsports Director, Mazda North American Operations, said the race car has been under development for months but the competition announcement 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," said Doonan. "We're happy to report that the engine is meeting performance targets for both power and endurance."
Doonan added that the SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel is much like the engine that powers that street version of the Mazda6. "This is not a pure race engine," he said. "It is a production block SKYACTIV-D. We're excited about having out newest engine powering our newest car."
Further details – including drivers of the Mazda6 GX – will be announced in the near future.
Mazda is the second manufacturer to announce GX class participation. Lotus earlier this year announced its Evora GTC will be coming to GRAND-AM with McMahon Raceworks with Condor Motorsports.
GX is a class for sports-type cars and will compete alongside GRAND-AM's Daytona Prototype and GT classes. So far 13 models from 12 different manufacturers –Mazda, Lotus, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Subaru, Porsche, Scion, Nissan and Volkswagen – have been approved for competition in 2013.
GRAND-AM created the class to embrace emerging vehicle technologies and to give a greater number of manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their products. Mazda's SKYACTIV-D is a prime example.
The 51st running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona is set for Jan. 26-27, 2013.
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