Mazda North American Operations and SpeedSouce have today announced their commitment to the 51st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Marino is once again confirmed as an integral part of the driver line-up.
However, next January the “screaming” high pitched sound of the Mazda RX-8 engine will have disappeared and been replaced by the all new SKYACTIV-D clean diesel-powered Mazda 6 which is being developed for the new Grand-Am GX class and will mark the first time a diesel-powered vehicle of any type has ever raced at the Rolex 24.
I can't wait to try the new car at the Test in January.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show in California John Doonan, Motorsports Director of Mazda’s North American Operations said “We have been eager to announce this car for months, but had to wait until the production car was revealed. The SpeedSource engineering team, working together with Mazda’s engineers, has been flat out for months on engine development. We’re happy to report that the engine is meeting the performance targets for both power and endurance. That means 400+ hp for over 50 hours, with an engine that includes a very long list of production Mazda parts. This is not a pure race engine; it is a production block SKYACTIVE- D. We’re excited about having our newest engine powering our newest car”.
The first time the all-new SKYACTIVE-D Mazda 6 will be put through its paces is at the official test “Roar Before the Rolex 24” at the Daytona circuit between 4-6 January, 2013.
The works’ backed SpeedSource team have also confirmed their driver line-up for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and team owner, Sylvain Tremblay, together with co-driver Jonathan Bomarito, who commencing 2013 will contest the new Grand-Am GX Championship, also announced that their regular pairing will once again be joined by “world-class sportscar driver Marino Franchitti and Indycar superstar James Hinchcliffe”.
Needless to say Marino is thrilled to be back rejoining the stellar line-up of co-drivers he so enjoyed working with at the race in January of this year, “It’s hugely exciting to be back with the SpeedSource team in the all new Mazda 6, going from the scream of the rotary to the near silence of the diesel engine is going to be interesting and I can't wait to try the new car at the Test in January. The dynamic of the team was fantastic at the last race so I'm delighted to be back together with Sylvain, Jonathan and James for another go at winning a Rolex Daytona!”