Prototype Team In High Spirits for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
January 21, 2014 (IRVINE, Calif.) – At this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mazda’s two SKYACTIV Prototype cars will have the only diesel power-plants in the season-opening TUDOR United SportsCar Series race. The diminutive inline four-cylinder 2.2-litre Mazda engine continues into 2015 with its unique compound turbochargers and a host of stock-based components. Hard work over the winter has led to big improvements, helping set lap times at the recent Daytona International Speedway test session that were six seconds quicker than last year’s best. The top speeds have also risen by 20 mph.
“Last year was the start of a very aggressive development program for Mazda,” said John Doonan, Mazda’s director of motorsports in North America. “Now, in the second year, that development is beginning to pay off. The improvements we have seen are a product of very smart people working very hard to enhance every aspect of the race car. It was great to see that effort show up in the lap times and top speeds, and in the smiles from the drivers and the team.”
Why the big improvements? As with most gains in auto racing, it has been a constant and intense process where each small gain leads to other incremental benefits. The multiple changes combine to produce faster and better-driving cars.
“The engine improvement has been good,” said Sylvain Tremblay, driver and owner of SpeedSource, the Mazda factory team. “We improved the engine and the cooling system, and we also focused on aerodynamic gains, weight-saving and more. Mazda’s SKYACTIV philosophy is to make each piece of the car lighter, stronger and provide better performance, and I think we’ve done that.
“We have a dedicated, in-house engineer who constantly runs simulations for each track, and that has really paid off,” said Tremblay. “The car is faster, but it also handles better and is much more consistent. All of our drivers can go quicker and do it for a longer length of time. We all have a lot more confidence in the car and the engine going into the race this weekend.”
The Driver Lineup
The Mazda driver lineup for the Rolex 24 consists of drivers who have each come through Mazda’s extensive driver development program such as open-wheel’s Mazda Road to Indy or the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy ladder system.
No. 70 car: Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez (full-time drivers for the 2015 season), with Sylvain Tremblay and IndyCar star James Hinchcliffe
No. 07 car: Joel Miller and Tom Long (full-time drivers for 2015), with Tremblay and Ben Devlin
Mazda Fast Facts
Mazda has 23 class victories in the Rolex 24 since 1975. For 2015, the 2.2-litre engine produces approximately 475 HP, and the compound turbochargers can spin at an amazing 180,000 RPM!
About Mazda Motorsports
Mazda’s SKYACTIV Prototypes compete in the highest category of the TUDOR United SportsCar Series. The Prototype cars can also be seen in high schools across North America as a part of Mazda’s extensive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational program called Racing Accelerates Creative Education (R.A.C.E). The program reached more than 12,000 students in 2014.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you’ll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 2,500 first- and second- generation Miatas tearing up America’s racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world.
Mazda’s involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world’s premier road-racing circuits, the Mazda Road to Indy and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy.
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. Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsports), Twitter (@mazdaracing), Instagram (MazdaMotorsport) and www.mazdamotorsports.com. ∞