The real beauty of a 24 hour endurance race are the participants. Even though major media outlets tend to focus on a few major, well-funded teams in reality there are many other teams big and small who participate in races like this. Each team, no matter how big or small has their own story of how they got there and furthermore how they endured (no pun intended) something as grueling as a 24 hour race. In addition to the teams there is also the hundreds of photographers and journalist running from corner to corner, in and out of pits, searching for new spots to try and capture compelling still shots of an incredibly fast sport. There are also the fans, some of which traveled from great distances all just to sit in one seat or stand in one spot for hours to cheer on their favorite driver, team, car as it passes by them once every few minutes are so.
What is it like to walk in the shoes of each one of those people? What is an event such as that like for them? This is what my favorite cinema crew Clash Production asked themselves when they produced their latest video for Audi. Titled “Competition: A Thousand Experiences”, the guys at Clash attempt to briefly put you in the same place for as many people as possible as Audi competes in an endurance race. From driver, to mechanic, to crew, to photographer, to a fan, viewers of this video get a few seconds in something of a “first person perspective” view with each of those people all wrapped up in a near two minute piece of cinematic art.
Heads up: all the text associated with the video including the title and its YouTube description is all in French. However, it is not necessarily to understand the text to enjoy the video. Although if you really need to know that badly then you can always use Google translate. Anyhow, scroll down and enjoy the video below!
Today’s hype video comes to us from the geniuses at Clashproduction. In their latest work they take us behind the scenes of JRM Racing’s 24 Hours Of LeMans effort. It was JRM Racing’s first outing at the famous race and they brought their Honda powered HPD-ARX-03A and three drivers: David Brabham, Peter Dumbreck, and Karun Chandhok (the first Indian to ever compete in the race) to make their mark at the iconic event. All the while the guys at Clashproduction were capturing all the best moments and put them together in a very compelling way.
This is definitely worth the next 4 minutes and 37 seconds of your life, so I am going to shut up now so you can scroll down and watch.
Soon after Audi made history this weekend by achieving the first 24 Hours Of LeMans victory with a hybrid race car, Mazda has announced that they will take their knew “Skyactiv-D” race engine to next year’s LeMans race with Dempsey Racing’s LMP2 class program. The Skyactiv-D race engine is the result of a partnership between Mazdaspeed Motorsports and SpeedSource racing. When all was said and done SpeedSource started with a stock Skyactive-D 2.2 liter engine block and turned it into a dual-staged turbo’d beast. Although I am not sure of the performance numbers I am sure this engine is more than capable of hanging with the big dogs in the class. I personally can’t wait to see Mazda run in the prototype class at LeMans again!
MAZDA ANNOUNCES SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL ENGINE FOR 2013 24 HOURS OF LE MANS
- DEMPSEY RACING PLANNING TO BE FIRST CUSTOMER FOR NEW ENGINE –
June 16, 2012 (LE MANS, FRANCE) Mazda Motorsports today announced that it will sell racing versions of its new SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL engines to teams competing in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class of racing’s greatest endurance challenge – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Le Mans engine program will make its debut at the 2013 running of the race. Mazda was the first – and to this day, remains the only – Asian manufacturer to score an overall win at the race, in 1991.
“This reopens our love affair with Le Mans,” said Jay Amestoy, Vice President of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “In 1991 we made history, winning with rotary technology. Now we’re looking to return to the winner’s circle with what we believe will be the most advanced and cleanest production-based powerplant the sport has ever seen. We’ll do it in current Mazda style, with engines being available for sale to European and U.S. customers competing in the LMP2 class for both the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).”
The engines are being developed jointly by Mazda Motor Corporation, Mazda North American Operations and SpeedSource Race Engineering. Dyno testing has already begun and on-track testing begins in late 2012.
The engines will be stock-block Mazda SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder, dual-stage turbocharged powerplants. According to John Doonan, MNAO’s Director of Mazda Motorsports, “will deliver outstanding performance and fuel economy coupled with the kind of quality, durability and reliability needed to produce great street cars and win endurance races.”
Mr. Masahiro Moro, Executive Officer in charge of global sales and marketing of Mazda Motor Corporation, made the following comment: “Mazda has fostered the culture of ‘never stop challenging.’ And it was this spirit that drove us through 18 consecutive years of racing at Le Mans, until we finally triumphed in 1991. In fact, it is this same spirit that laid the foundation for the portfolio of SKYACTIV Technologies. This was realized thanks to a number of technological breakthroughs. I am pleased that we will be supporting our private customers who are taking up the Le Mans challenge by supplying race engines as a customer-program based on our SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL.”
DEMPSEY RACING PLANNING TO BE FIRST SKYACTIV-D CUSTOMER
Planning and preparations continue for Dempsey Racing to become the first LMP2 customer for the Mazda SKYACTIV-D racing powerplant. Dempsey Racing is co-owned by racer/actor Patrick Dempsey.
Dempsey Racing has been racing Mazda RX-8s in the GRAND-AM GT class since 2007 with their highlight being a podium finish at the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team has steadily improved their on-track performance since their arrival in the series, and was a key contributor to Mazda winning the 2010 GRAND-AM GT Manufacturers Championship. With support from several partners such as VISITFLORIDA.com, Dempsey Racing expanded their operation this year to include a team running in the American Le Mans Series, and is competing in both the Prototype Challenge (LMPC) and Prototype 2 (LMP2) classes as they prepare for their Le Mans effort. In fact both team owner Dempsey and co-driver Joe Foster are currently testing their LMP2 car in Virginia as the rest of the sports car world focuses on the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.
Patrick Dempsey and his business partner/co-driver Joe Foster have both competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as drivers in the GT category, and are eager to return in 2013, this time in the LMP2 class and with Mazda SKYACTIV-D clean diesel-power.
Patrick Dempsey comments “Our long-term partnership with Mazda has been fantastic, and we look forward to mutual success as we prepare for 2013. We are focused on that preparation which is why we are currently testing our LMP2 car here in the US in preparation for the next ALMS event. Our team and partners are excited to be associated with SKYACTIV-D technology and the cutting-edge green technology it represents.”
About Mazda & MAZDASPEED
Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MAZDASPEED Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Every now and then I come across a photo that is dripping with awesome, although I never seem to be motivated to do anything with it besides look at it. Well today I’ve decided take a page from some of my other car blog colleagues and start posting pictures that you guys can use as wallpapers. This first photo is of Audi’s R18 e-tron quattro race car that is heading to LeMans this year. Besides being on the forefront of motorsport technology, the R18 e-tron quattro is just damn good looking! I could stare at this thing standing still all day, and now you get to! Just click the thumbnail below to see the full size picture then right click and save!
Today Italian chassis builder Lola announced that Lotus will be entering LeMans with an LMP2 program in a Lola Chassis that will be powered by a BMW V8 built by the same engineers that Lotus is currently working with to develop their twin-turbo V6 Indy Car engine program. With their entry into LeMans I think the only major motorsport Lotus does not have their hand in is NASCAR!
Here is another fun fact, if you really dig the livery on the Lotus LMP2 car you may be happy to know that it was designed by Daniel Simon who also designed the light cycles for Tron: Legacy! Cool huh?
This year was the 20th anniversary of Mazda’s historic win at LeMans with their mythical 4-rotor 787B race car. To celebrate Mazda went back to LeMans and brought the 787B and Johnny Herbert (the man who was behind the wheel when the 787B crossed the checkered flag) with them. In the video below we get to see Herbert jump inside the cockpit one more time and do a flying lap around LeMans 20 years later. Scroll down below to see it all for yourself, by the way you should turn your speakers up for this one!
The year was 1991. Ric Flair won the NWA/WCW championship, Seinfield made its TV debut, Bryan Addams was on the top of the Billboard 100, I started 4th grade, and most importantly Mazda made history by being the first Japanese manufacturer to win the 24 Hours Of LeMans with their 4-rotor powered 787B race car. Its been 20 years and a lot of things have changed since ’91. Ric Flair retired, Seinfield ended, Bryan Addams has been spoofed by a cartoon baby, and I finished college (mostly). However, one thing that hasn’t changed was Mazda’s accomplishment. They are still the only Japanese manufacturer to ever win LeMans and the 787B is the first and only rotary powered car to win the race (rotaries were banned after ’91).
To celebrate their 20 year standing accomplishment the organizers of the 24 hours of LeMans have invited Mazda to back to Circuit de la Sarthe for a special exhibition run, complete with members of the original 1991 team! Engineers at Mazda have completely restored the 787B to racing condition for the event on June 11th which will be photographed and recorded by Mazda and then uploaded for all the interwebs to see. And it will be quite a sight to see the ol’ 787B taking the corners of de la Sarthe again. I can’t wait! Until then I will just listen to another 4-rotor Mazda in action to hold me over.
- The Mazda 787B’s incredible 4-rotor engine noise will be heard again around the Circuit de la Sarthe on June 11, before the 24-hour race begins -
HIROSHIMA, Japan—2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Mazda’s victory in the world’s most demanding endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1991, Mazda became the first and only Japanese car manufacturer to win the race. In celebration of this anniversary, and at the invitation of the event organizers, the Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), Mazda will demonstrate the winning Mazda 787B on the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France on Saturday, June 11, 2011, before the 24-hour race begins.The 79th 24-Hours of Le Mans is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (local time) on Saturday, June 11, 2011, and finish at the same time on the following day. Mazda plans to hold the demonstration of the 787B racecar on the Circuit de la Sarthe at 12:30 p.m. on June 11. Additionally, the 787B will also take part in the Driver’s Parade through the Le Mans city center on Friday June 10.
The Mazda 787B is the first and only Japanese car, and rotary-engine car, to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Jointly developed by Mazda and Mazdaspeed, the organization that managed Mazda’s racing program, the 787B has a chassis designed to meet Group C racing car technical regulations and is powered by a four-rotor rotary engine that produces 700 horsepower. Due to a change in the race regulations, 1991 was to become the last year that a rotary-engine car could participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the last chance, after 17 years of effort, Mazda finally realized its long-held dream to take the overall victory at Le Mans. This victory was not Mazda’s alone, but the result of long years of hard work by Mazdaspeed, the drivers, suppliers and the many others involved.
Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda’s representative director, chairman of the board, president and CEO, said, “Mazda is founded on a desire to ‘never stop challenging.’ This spirit brings Mazda Group employees together across the globe, and it inspires us to achieve the demanding goals we set ourselves. Exactly 50 years ago, in 1961, Mazda commenced development of the rotary engine. The road from this beginning until our 1991 victory at Le Mans, and on to our current SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY development program, is built upon our spirit of challenge. 2011 is set to be another landmark year for the entire Mazda Group, as we enter our SKYACTIV era with the global introduction of our next-generation vehicles.”
Since 1991, the winning Mazda 787B has mostly been on display at the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima, Japan. In preparation for the demonstration at Le Mans, Mazda has carefully restored the winning 787B racecar back to driving condition for the first time since its post-race overhaul in 1991. The work was carried out by current Mazda employees who participated in the company’s original Le Mans Challenge Project, along with engineers from Mazda’s subsidiary engineering company Mazda E&T. The restored 787B has been tested by one of Mazda’s in-house top gun drivers, and its performance has been confirmed by former Mazda factory drivers Yoshimi Katayama, Takashi Yorino and Yojiro Terada at Mazda’s Mine Proving Ground in western Japan.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, various members of the 1991 Mazda team will also return to Le Mans. The winning driver Johnny Herbert (England) will be joined by 1991 Mazda drivers David Kennedy (Ireland), Pierre Dieudonné (Belgium) and other team members.
Video footage and photographs of the restoration work and the demonstration at Le Mans will be uploaded on Mazda’s official Facebook and YouTube web pages.