Mazda prides themselves on their involvement in motorsports. As their popular tagline says: “there are more Mazda’s raced every weekend than any other brand.” One of the main reasons for that is because Mazda tends to make participation in motorsports relatively inexpensive. This was further proven today when it was announced that potential racers can have the brand new, ready to go 2016 Mazda MX-5 Cup for only $53,000. Now when Mazda says “ready to go” they mean it. The car will come with everything needed to run an MX-5 Cup race. The only thing the owner needs to worry about is transportation and entry fees but other than that the car needs nothing.
If you think $53,000 is a lot consider that this is the first time Mazda has sold complete race cars and if one was looking to build a Cup Car from the previous gen MX-5 they would likely end up spending anywhere from $65-70k. This makes the new cup car a massive bargain!
That is pretty awesome for those who are looking to make their way into the MX-5 Cup Series or any other type of racing in which the Cup Car is allowed to run. Obviously costs associated with running in a series will vary depending on how a racer goes about it. According to Mazdaspeed Motorsports, a typical race weekend (which includes fuel, tires, fuel for a tow vehicle, hotel, food, entry fees, practice, etc.) runs about $7,000. Again generally speaking that is a lot of money but relative to other series that isn’t too bad.
Either way, the barrier to entry when it comes to MX-5 cup racing just got a lot lower. If you want to get yourself a race car Mazdaspeed Motorsports officially starts taking orders today on their website and deliveries are slated to begin before the end of the year.
For more info scroll below for the official press release.
Mazda Announces Global MX-5 Cup Race Car Pricing
– Initial Orders Being Accepted for the $53,000 Ready-to-Race 2016 MX-5 Miata –
IRVINE, Calif. (October 1, 2015) – The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the most road-raced production car in the world. The reason is simple – great performance at an affordable price. The new Global Mazda MX-5 Cup race car follows that formula, and will be Mazda Motorsports’ first-ever ready-to-race MX-5 Miata. The new race car will be available at the special introductory price of $53,000. The race car ordering process begins on www.MazdaMotorsports.com with first deliveries scheduled to begin later this year.
Having a turnkey, ready-to-race car removes the effort of engineering and costs of fabrication, enabling the racer to focus on racing. All racers can purchase identically-built race cars so that driving talent will be the number one determining factor for on-track performance, rather than budget, engineering capability or fabrication skills. Production of the MX-5 Cup race cars starts with a street cars that receives motorsports specific modifications for race track safety and performance. The MX-5 Cup is an entry-level professional series, and is a part of the Mazda Road to 24, which helps promote racers up the ladder to the top levels of sports car racing.
“For the past decade, the third-generation sports car has been competing in our own MX-5 Cup series, and has been the ideal platform to showcase driving talent in a competitive environment on high-profile race weekends,” said John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “With the launch of the fourth-generation MX-5, we are raising the bar by making it even easier for aspiring professional road racers to get involved. We expect to sell out the first batch of cars rapidly.”
The MX-5 Cup series champion earns a $200,000 scholarship to move to a higher level series with Mazda the following year. Additionally, the 2016 Global MX-5 Cup series will culminate with a global finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. with entrants from around the world to crown a global champion. A one-day test in Mazda’s top-level IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship SKYACTIV prototype race car will top the list of prizes bestowed on the global champion.
The MX-5 Cup race car has been jointly developed by Mazda Motorsports and Long Road Racing in Statesville, NC. Long Road Racing will exclusively build the left-hand drive MX-5 Cup race car The team has evaluated key racing components and will announce several strategic component partners at a later date. Mazda factory race driver Tom Long has led the testing, along with fellow Mazda factory race driver Andrew Carbonell and Kenton Koch, the 2014 Battery Tender MX-5 Cup champion and 2015 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda champion. Tom Long has won races in all previous MX-5 generations, including the championship in the MAZDASPEED Miata Cup, and currently co-drives the Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Priority to purchase the new car will be given to current competitors in the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, and others who intend to compete in the 2016 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup. MX-5 Cup cars built by Long Road Racing will be eligible to compete in club racing with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA) as well as many track-day clubs.
Details for the ordering process, including financing options, are available at MazdaMotorsports.com, via our social media outlets: @MazdaRacing (Twitter), @GlobalMX5Cup (Twitter) and MazdaMotorsports on Facebook.
Mazda North American Operations 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. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.
Say what you want about Mazda’s market share when it comes to SUVs, economy cars, etc. There is no denying that Mazda absolutely owns the motorsports game in this country. Their famous “More Mazdas are raced every weekend than any other brand” isn’t just marketing hyperbole, its the truth. It is also one of the reasons why I personally have a lot of respect for the brand. As a lover of motorsports Mazda has been championing bringing up more young drivers through their (now global) Mazdaspeed Motorsports ladder (also known as the “Mazda Road To Indy”). Its the best program for any young racer looking to move their way up and eventually end up in a major racing series such as Indy Car.
The tradition continued last weekend when 21 year old American Spencer Pigot with Juncos Racing won the Indy Lights Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, earning the million dollar scholarship prize which entitles him to three Indy Car series races including the 2016 Indy 500. Despite there being an actual dollar amount attached to Spencer’s accomplishment, I’m sure knowing that he’ll have three shots to impress Indy Car teams in guaranteed rides including one of the most watched races on the planet, is priceless.
Spencer wasn’t the only winner over the weekend either. 19 year old Santiago Urruita of Uruguay won the Pro Mazda Series which earned him a trip to the next rung in the ladder: the Indy Lights Championship where he will have a shot at the same prize that Spencer won. The third championship winner of the weekend was Nico Jamin of France. Nico won the USF2000 series powered by Mazda and his prize gets him bumped up to the Pro Mazda series.
That’s three champions in one weekend! How awesome is that?! I am definitely looking forward to seeing how these three drivers perform in the next stages of their careers. If you want to follow, or even join the Mazdaspeed Motorsport ladder, check out their official website for details. You may just end up climbing it all the way to an Indy Car ride. For more info on the epic race weekend you can check out the official press release below.
Spencer Pigot Wins $1 Million Indy Lights Championship
Mazda Road to Indy championships also won by Nico Jamin and Santiago Urrutia
IRVINE, Calif. (September 13, 2015) – Spencer Pigot of Juncos Racing won the 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship with two title-clinching race victories this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Pigot, a 21-year old Indianapolis resident, grabbed the title with a league-leading six race wins in 2015, and has earned a $1 million prize that assures him of entries in three races in the Verizon IndyCar Series next year, including the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The Mazda Road to Indy is a program that allows drivers to progress up through a well-defined racing ladder to the top open-wheel category in North America with scholarships provided by Mazda. Pigot is the first driver to win four full-season Mazda scholarships. His first scholarship came in 2009, when, at age 16, he won a full season drive in the Skip Barber National Series. After winning that championship in 2010, he earned a Mazda scholarship for the USF2000 Series. He twice finished second in that championship before moving up to the Pro Mazda category in 2014. Pigot won the Pro Mazda title last year, which earned him a ride in the Indy Lights series this season. Now, he will carry the Mazda Road to Indy banner into the IndyCar series.
“What a year it’s been,” said Pigot after his second race win in two days. “The Juncos Racing guys have been outstanding for me. The Mazda Road to Indy has been a dream come true. I can say I’ve done all of the levels and had success. If it weren’t for this program, I wouldn’t be here. And I wouldn’t be looking to go into IndyCar next year. I’m very excited for the future to see what we can accomplish. It’s the best problem in the world to have: deciding what we’re going to do with the scholarship. It’s pretty cool. My first scholarship was back at Sebring when I was 16 years old, and we’ve had a few since then. You know, to be here in the Mazda scholarship car at Mazda Raceway on the top step of the Mazda Road to Indy is the perfect send-off for me. My whole career has been in the Mazda Road to Indy and it’s very special for me and something I’ll never forget.”
“It’s very emotional for me to see Spencer win the championship,” said John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda in North America. “We develop close relationships with these drivers as we help them follow their dreams. Spencer is clearly the ultimate embodiment of what we’re trying to do – he’s the proof of concept for the Mazda Road to Indy. He’s been with Mazda since age 16, and we couldn’t be more proud and more pleased to see him win yet another title and move up to IndyCar. If you add up the scholarships we have provided for Spencer, it’s more than $1,750,000, and he’s earned every cent of that. I can’t even express how happy we are that he’ll have a chance to race in the Indianapolis 500 next year.
“We believe deeply in promoting the superstars of the future, and we have two new names to add to our scholarship list. Nico Jamin was impressive this year to win the USF2000 championship. He’s very fast and consistent, so we’re thrilled that he will drive a Soul Red car next year in the Pro Mazda series. We’re also happy to support this year’s Pro Mazda champion Santiago Urrutia as he will race in the Indy Lights series with our backing in 2016. He’s really become a hero in his home country of Uruguay, and we love the passion and emotion of Santiago and his fans.”
Santiago Urrutia, Champion, Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires
Santiago “Santi” Urrutia, a 19-year old racer from Miguelete, Uruguay, clinched his first major motorsports championship this weekend at Mazda Raceway with two second-place finishes in the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire series. Urrutia won three races this season, and had 10 podium finishes in 16 races. He had only one finish worse than seventh place. With the championship, Urrutia has earned the Mazda driver scholarship of nearly $600,000 for the 2016 Indy Lights season.
“It’s very special for me to win [the championship] here,” said Urrutia after securing the title Saturday, “because we lost the biggest driver from Uruguay here 16 years ago, Gonzalo Rodriguez. I was wearing a helmet like his this weekend and was so happy to win this championship. I am pretty sure Gonzalo was here, pushing me. I can’t explain how happy I am, I can’t believe it. This is not only the result of this year’s work, but past years. I appreciate all the hard work by everyone in Uruguay who helped me and everyone who came and pushed me to win the championship.”
Nico Jamin, Champion, Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda
Nico Jamin, a 20-year old native of Rouen, France, won the Cooper Tires USF2000 Series powered by Mazda with a record-setting, dominant season. By claiming both race victories this weekend at Mazda Raceway, Jamin grabbed 10 race wins for the year. He set new series records for the most pole positions (14) and the most podium finishes in a season (15). His title with the Cape Motorsports w/Wayne Taylor Racing team earns him a Mazda scholarship of more than $380,000 to advance next season into the Pro Mazda series.
“I was racing in Europe,” said Jamin, “and I knew the racing markets were very difficult for young drivers to get to the top step, which over there is Formula 1. It requires a lot of money and there’s really no help from [auto] factories like Mazda. In Europe, there’s nothing like that. So, I knew my chance could be in the USA. I had the opportunity with Cape Motorsports to drive a great car all year and to get the championship. And now, I’m very excited to work with Mazda and to drive a Soul Red Pro Mazda car next year.”
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to Indy includes USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights racing categories with Mazda power. In sports car racing, a similar ladder system involves a number of racing series, culminating with the Mazda Prototype team which races in the top level of IMSA sports car racing in North America. In the grassroots categories, more Mazdas road race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer.
The next and final race in the Indy Car 2015 season is the Grand Prix Of Sonoma up in northern California. To promote the race, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was shut down (at least half of it was anyway) and five Indy Cars were sent across it to deliver the Astor Cup (series championship trophy) to the race venue.
While this event was likely at its birth a plan to simply promote the last race of the season, it was also turned into a tribute to Justin Wilson who tragically passed away earlier this week due to an accident. Leading the Indy Cars was Marco Andretti (Justin’s teammate) driving Justin’s #25 car. Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Graham Rahal followed while James Hinchcliffe brought up the rear driving a two seater Indy Car with the Astor Cup occupying the back seat.
Two safety vehicles were on hand as well, flying Justin Wilson’s flags to further honor the driver. You can watch a video of the event below.
Mazda just announced that they are officially taking over as the engine provider for the Indy Lights series which is a feeder series directly to Indy Car. Previously, Indy Lights cars were powered by V8s that were derivatives of Nissan/Infiniti engines. The new Indy Lights cars will be powered by a version of Mazda’s 4 cylinder 2.0 liter turbocharged MZR-R engine. If that engine sounds familiar its probably because it is the same powerplant Mazda developed in partnership with Advanced Engine Research (AER) for Mazda’s American LeMan’s series program. The Indy Lights version will have slightly less power (450hp) than the LeMan’s version (500hp) however the Indy Lights MZR-R is also built for durability as Mazda Motorsports claims that one of these engines can go for an entire Indy Lights season without needing a rebuild. This should make the racing much better with no mechanical DNFs and also make things a little bit easier financially on the teams.
Here’s hoping that the addition of lower cost, higher efficiency engines to the Indy Lights series results in more talent making their way up to the Indy Car series! Expect the new Indy Lights chassis and Mazda engines to line up on the grid next season. For more info, feel free to check out the official press release below.
Mazda Powers Indy Lights in 2015
Mazda Enters Third Decade of Open-Wheel Racing with Addition of Indy Lights
December 11, 2014 (INDIANAPOLIS) — Mazda announced the addition of Mazda-power in the all-new 2015 Dallara Indy Lights chassis at the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show. This was the latest development in its ongoing commitment to motorsports, which includes the Mazda Road to Indy, the most comprehensive driver development system in the world.
While most noted for success in sports cars, Mazda has been active in open-wheel, formula-car racing since 1984. In recent years, that has developed into the Mazda Road to Indy, where aspiring racers can advance upwards along a logical progression from karts all the way to the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 2014, Mazda powered both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. For 2015, Mazda adds Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
The all-new Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights chassis will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged Mazda MZR-R. Originally developed in conjunction with Advanced Engine Research (AER), the MZR-R was first campaigned by Mazda in the American Le Mans Series and Mazda customer teams in the European Le Mans Series. The engine enjoyed several milestone victories, among them were Mazda’s first-ever major North American overall sports car racing win and the 2011 LMP1 engine manufacturers championship. The engine, further developed by AER, will be designed to produce 450 horsepower and last an entire season without a rebuild.
The 2015 Mazda Road to Indy schedule will kick off with the fifth annual pre-season Cooper Tires Winterfest at NOLA Motorsports Park, just outside of New Orleans, La., on February 18-20 and will move to Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala., on February 24-26. The official season will open at St. Petersburg on March 27-29 and conclude at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 11-13.
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports: “The Mazda Road to Indy is a great showcase for what Mazda represents. Our strength is in helping drivers move up the ranks. Almost a third of the Indy 500 field traces their roots to Mazda. Adding the Indy Lights series allows us to have an even longer, more productive relationship with the Indy stars of the future. We were among the first to recognize the on- and off-track talents of racers like Simon Pagenaud, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal, and many others. We can’t wait for the season to start at St. Pete, all the way to autumn in Monterey at our own Mazda Raceway for the season finales.”
Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions: “From the onset of my involvement with Indy Lights, it’s been my hope to have our longtime partner, Mazda, join us in this effort. My decision to select AER as our engine provider was consciously made knowing the substantial Mazda involvement with the engine proposed by AER, and today I am delighted to confirm that the IL-15’s engine does indeed have deep Mazda roots. Mazda does more for open-wheel racing in North America than any other manufacturer, and its full involvement in the Mazda Road to Indy is great news for all.”
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: “Today’s announcement that Mazda has agreed to become the Indy Lights engine supplier next season is another pivotal step forward for the series. Mazda’s increased commitment to Indy Lights, and their continued support of the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder system, is instrumental in the development of the next generation of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers. We’re thankful for their partnership and certainly look forward to having Mazda power behind the new Dallara IL-15 chassis in 2015.”
Chris Pantani, Director of Motorsports for Cooper Tires: “Knowing that Mazda is once again our partner, this time in Indy Lights, continues to prove that the combination of Cooper Tires and Mazda is the best choice in the career path of a developmental driver. Our relationship with Mazda started in 2006, and continues to be the path chosen by many champions in the early stages of their careers.”
Spencer Pigot, Champion – 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires: “It would not be an exaggeration to say that I would not be where I am today without Mazda and the Mazda Road to Indy. They have been a huge part of my career since I began car racing. I’m thrilled to be the first driver to ever earn three Mazda scholarships, the first one being in 2009 when I was still in karting, to making the move up to the Skip Barber National Championship. The cost to rise through the racing ranks is so expensive, that it is only with support like the Mazda Road to Indy that many drivers can succeed. I can’t wait to start the season in 2015.”
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED
Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. 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. Via the Mazda Road to Indy and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.
Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.
Mazda 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.
In a statement put out by the man himself just moments ago he officially announces his retirement from Indy Car racing due to injuries he suffered earlier this year during an accident in Houston.
You can read his official statement below:
Statement from Dario Franchitti:
“Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority. I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I’d also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.
One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.
Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it’s really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.
I’d like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I’d also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all my fans around the world. I can’t thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.
I’ll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I’ve forged in the sport will last a lifetime.
Hopefully in time, I’ll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I’ll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I’ve made over the years at Target.
As my buddy Greg Moore would say, ‘See you up front’”
As a fan of American open wheel racing I have watched Dario drive for years. I have always been a fan so this is a pretty sad day. However I give much kudos to Dario for taking the advice of medical professionals and having the inner strength to walk away from doing what he loves so much. It is much better for him to go out this way rather than for something horrible to happen in the future due to his injuries.
Hopefully as the man said, we will still see him in Indy Car in some other capacity in the future.
For those of us who already have a passion for Motorsports, we understand that there is an inherent drama in racing that is immediately recognizable. Since we understand racing we can see the struggle, the sacrifice, the frustration, and joy of motorsport very easily. However, sometimes when such things are committed to film, especially by very talented individuals, even a initiated motorsport enthusiast can see things in a new way.
For example take Clash Production’s newest flick. At its core its really just about a team (Dijkstra Racing) and two drivers racing their Porsche RSR at Spa Francorchamps. Yet, the way that the Clash team filmed the event, just adds more to the experience. They have a real knack for putting their viewers into the racing seat so to speak. Seriously these guys are awesome. Anyhow I will stop typing here so you can scroll down and enjoy “The Men and The RSR”.
Miss out on the Singapore GP this weekend? Its ok, we wont revoke your gear head card. Instead we will help you out with the official results. But first a little tidbits of note: Kimi Raikkonen did the whole race with a painful back injury and Mark Webber got hit with a penalty after hitching a ride on Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari after his car got stuck at turn 7! Crazy right! Ok, ok on to the results.
1st place: Sebastian Vettel
2nd place: Fernando Alonso
3rd place: Kimi Raikkonen
Sebastian Vettel now has a 60 point lead over his closest points competitor Fernando Alonso. However there are still 6 races left in the season so even though it seems tough there are still at least a few drivers who have a shot at taking down Vettel. The rest of the year should be interesting (hopefully).
With the F1 and Drifting break it has been a while since I’ve had some motorsport news here so it is good to have some today! We are starting off with the GoPro Indy Grand Prix Of Sonoma at the Sonoma Road Course in what was a rough weekend for many drivers at the top of the points battle. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, and James Hinchcliffe all had pretty bad practice sessions which left them with a lack of confidence going into qualifying and the race on Sunday. On the other hand Team Penske seemed to find their groove as Will Power and Ryan Briscoe both had strong practice and qualifying efforts. Helio Castroneves had a few hiccups but kept himself at the front of the field for the race start.
NOTE: IndyCar now puts entire races on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. If you want to watch the whole thing unfold for yourself then just watch below. If you want the cliff notes just scroll past the video and read on.
However once the race went underway Helio got into the back of Scott Dixon, spinning him out which effectively jacked up Scott’s day and Helio’s as he was given a drive through penalty for avoidable contact. Later on James Hinchcliffe retired after being punted by a lapped car which upset the oil pressure and ended his day early. Up front, Will Power was running away from the field for the most part and everything was going his way until a late caution while he was in the pits caused a mix up that ended up putting him behind his teammate Ryan Briscoe in the restart. Behind that Ryan Hunter-Reay shook off any anti-confidence demons he had to work his way up to third but a dive-bomb boner by Tagliani spun Ryan out and put him at the back of the field with less than 10 laps remaining.
With Ryan Hunter-Reay put way in the back Will Power decided it would probably be best to avoid pressuring Ryan Briscoe too much and possibly ruining his points run. As such Ryan Briscoe went on to win the race with Will Power coming in second, and Dario Franchitti taking third. Will Power remains in the championship lead and Ryan Hunter-Reay is now 35 points behind Power and only 5 points ahead of Helio Castroneves going into the next race at Baltimore. After Baltimore is the final race of the season when Indy Car returns to California Speedway for the MAVTv 500.
Can Will Power keep his lead and get his first championship? Or will Ryan Hunter-Reay or Helio Castroneves come from behind? Only two more races to go!
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.
Just as the 50th Rolex 24 Hours Of Daytona race was getting underway GRAND-AM made the announcement that B-Spec racing would be included as part of their 2012 season. I suspected that B-spec would become a part of GRAND-AM soon but I did not think it would come this soon! For now B-Spec drivers will be allowed to run at 6 events this year with the first being at Homestead Miami-Speedway at the end of April (27th-29th), then New Jersey Motorsports Park in May (11th-13th), followed by Mid-Ohio (June 8-9), Watkins Glen International (July 29th-June 1st), Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Sept. 8th-9th), and finally Lime Rock Park (Sept 28th-29th). For an amatur series’ first year that location list is pretty damn impressive!
Each B-Spec event will be in a sprint race format (30-45 minute timed races) and the events will not be “connected” as in each race is a stand alone event so there is no need to travel the country to race each one in hopes for a championship (unless you really want to). Instead GRAND-AM just wants local racers at each track to come out and do their best to win the day. I have to admit with the schedule they put together combined with the lack of pressure by not having to run a full year for a championship B-Spec is looking pretty damn attractive right now. I would love to put a car together in time for the Mazda Raceway event!
GRAND-AM To Add B-Spec Races Entry-Level Class Features Exciting Sub-Compact Street Stock Cars
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2011)
Currently, the six sprint races – planned for between 30 and 45 minutes in length – will run in conjunction with GRAND-AM weekends at Homestead-Miami Speedway (April 27-29), New Jersey Motorsports Park (May 11-13), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (June 8-9), Watkins Glen International (June 29-July 1), Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Sept. 7-9) and Lime Rock Park (Sept. 28-29). Each of those weekends will also feature North America’s most popular forms of sports car competition – the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Regional racers who meet entry requirements are welcome at each event, with a concentration on event victories instead of a national championship. No currently licensed professional drivers will be allowed to participate.
A total of five manufacturers have committed to the new competition, with the following models involved: Mazda 2, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper, and Kia Rio. Additional future manufacturer entries are expected.
One of the fastest-growing segments of the automobile business, B-Spec is among the most affordable classes for entry-level racers, and is expected to enjoy great support from club racers.
Cars will be 4-cylinder models, with a target cost range of $20,000-$30,000.
B-Spec features showroom stock racing cars utilizing stock engines and chassis, fitted with a competition roll cage, racing seat and other safety equipment; and manufacturer-approved suspension components, tires and wheels. Weight and other variables will be used to balance performance among competing manufacturers.
Each manufacturer will develop an approved performance kit which is subject to GRAND-AM approval. These will be the only alterations permitted to the respective cars. All practice sessions will also serve as qualifying to set race grids.
“This new form of GRAND-AM racing will attract new racers and in the process, new fans,” said GRAND-AM Managing Director of Racing Operations Mark Raffauf. “The cars are cool and the competition will be door-to-door, which should be a lot of fun for everyone – a nice fit with what GRAND-AM already has happening at every event.”
– GRAND-AM Road Racing announced today an exciting complement to its two existing sports car series, in the form of a new “B-Spec” level featuring sub-compact cars in six races this season.