|New Mazda for 2017|
LOS ANGELES —During a standing room only news conference today at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Mazda confirmed a two-car Daytona Prototype international (DPi) program and unveiled its new race car, which will compete full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class beginning in 2017.
"This new DPi race car reaffirms Mazda's longstanding commitment to IMSA and the WeatherTech Championship," said IMSA President Scott Atherton. "This first public unveiling of a DPi is the culmination of several months of collaboration between Mazda, the Riley/Multimatic partnership and IMSA. This car is nothing short of breathtaking, and represents a benchmark example of the vision we have for how manufacturers incorporate their production car design elements into a prototype race car. We eagerly anticipate its competition debut in the Rolex 24 At Daytona this coming January."
The new DPi car — dubbed the "Mazda RT24-P" in a nod to the manufacturer's successful "Mazda Road to 24" driver development program — will use the Mazda MZ-2.0T four-cylinder, turbocharged engine producing approximately 600 horsepower and a Riley/Multimatic prototype chassis with specially designed Mazda bodywork. The bodywork utilizes Mazda's KODO-Soul of Motion design philosophy and will include elements such as body contours and a five-point Mazda grille.
"KODO design is at the heart of any vehicle that carries a Mazda badge, and that is very evident in the design of the 2017 prototype," said Ken Saward, senior manager of Design at Mazda Design Americas. "We considered the two main parameters of designing a successful race car for this series: aerodynamic performance and the new-for-2017 technical regulations. Working with Multimatic's aerodynamicist and engineers, we discovered that applying the KODO design philosophy to the surfaces and the silhouette of the car enabled us to create a dynamic, purposeful-looking design and a very aerodynamically efficient one."
The South Florida-based SpeedSource Race Engineering will manage the two-car program on behalf of Mazda Motorsports. The pair of Mazda RT24-P race cars will be driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez, Tom Long and Joel Miller.
Mazda's new DPi program is the next chapter in a lengthy history of prototype racing in IMSA. The manufacturer has fielded a two-car, factory-supported team since the inception of the WeatherTech Championship after previously supporting prototype and GT race cars in both the American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM. Most recently, the manufacturer utilized a Lola LM P2 chassis and four-cylinder, turbocharged engine in the WeatherTech Championship.
"This is a huge moment for Mazda Motorsports and the entire Mazda family," said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports North America. "To have a car which features Mazda design language at the top level of our motorsports program is meaningful for us as a brand. We believe we have the right team, the right drivers and the right chassis to win races and championships.
"Mazda has good, long-standing relationships with Riley and Multimatic, and is happy to be the first to test their new chassis. We look forward to seeing it make its racing debut at Daytona with Mazda bodywork and the Mazda MZ-2.0T engine. The strategic vision of IMSA to give auto manufacturers this opportunity to integrate our branding — to better engage our passionate fans— is unique and we're proud to be the first to unveil what is possible."
The team will begin on-track testing later this month in preparation for the 2017 WeatherTech Championship season, which begins on Jan. 28-29 with the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Mazda joins Nissan as confirmed DPi manufacturers for IMSA's top Prototype class, which also will include international LM P2 prototype chassis from Riley/Multimatic, Ligier, ORECA and Dallara, powered by single-specification Gibson V8 engines.