MAZDA HAS BEEN WINNING RACES AROUND THE WORLD FOR 50 YEARS
From Le Mans, France to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey,California, Mazdas have been a constant presence at race tracks around the globe, garnering wins and championships in races too numerous to list. And the list keeps growing.
Mazda Motorsports is responsible for all auto racing initiatives within the North American market. From promoting and servicing grassroots racers, to developing the open-wheel and sports car drivers of the future, to competing in the top-tier of North American endurance sports car racing, Mazda Motorsports oversees one of the largest and most diverse racing programs anywhere. Our mission is to ensure that anyone who wishes to race a Mazda at any level has the support they need to be competitive. Through our Mazda Team Membership Program, Mazda racers have access to parts at discount, and can earn a variety of contingencies as well as benefit from at-track support at many events around the country.
Our passionate support of Mazda racers stretches back 50 years. It traces its origin to an inde-pendent racing team in 1967 under the name "Mazda Sports Corner" at Mazda Auto Tokyo, Japan's largest Mazda dealer.
The story begins when a group of hardcore racers at Mazda Auto Tokyo were impressed by the performance potential of the Cosmo 110S. The sleek, two-seat sports car debuted the first-ever production rotary engine, and the team ambitiously set out to establish a Mazda presence at ma-jor motorsports events worldwide. At the same time, Mazda was interested in proving the viability of its rotary engine to the world. The two goals came together with the racing team's 1968 inter-national debut, fielding two Cosmos on the Nordshleife at the Nürburgring for the "Marathon de la Route," an incredibly grueling 84-hour endurance event. The surprise came when the little Cos-mo took fourth place, a great achievement for a new racing team and a new car with completely new engine technology.
Over the next 15 years, the team campaigned across the U.S., Japan and Europe in both en-durance and conventional sports car events. After Mazda replaced the Cosmo with the more practical R100, Europeans watched in awe as two of the boxy hatchbacks dogged four Porsche 911s for 24 hours at the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium, claiming a class win and fifth and sixth place overall.
As Mazda launched new models, Mazda Sports Corner raced them. Following the Cosmo and R100 came the RX-2 and RX-3.
Everything then jumped up a notch when Mazda introduced the first RX-7 in 1978. Here was a car that would succeed in a variety of classes and, most notably in the U.S., would achieve an unprecedented 100 wins over the next 12 years in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Series. Since 1975 Mazda has scored 23 class-wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and 13 class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
In 1983, Mazda Motor Corporation brought the racing team from Tokyo to the company's corpo-rate headquarters in Hiroshima to help drive Mazda's factory racing ambitions, and it was here that the MAZDASPEED name was born.
By the mid-1980’s, sights were turned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Privateers had raced Mazdas through the seventies, but MAZDASPEED had decided that it was time to join the fray. The late eighties saw some class wins, and then in 1991, the MAZDASPEED team succeeded in doing what no other Japanese auto maker before or since has been able to accomplish: capturing the overall win at the world's most prestigious endurance race.
Fearing a long-standing technical single-brand dominance, the FIA outlawed rotary engines after the 1991 Le Mans race. Unable to race Mazda's trademark rotary engine in the world's most prestigious sports car race, MAZDASPEED began focusing more on the business side of motor-sports and started developing and building aftermarket parts and accessories, while continuing grassroots motorsports initiatives.
By this time, it was clear that a disproportionate number of Mazdas were appearing and winning in small owner-driver sports car events all over the world, and that this was where Mazda truly belonged and should focus its competitive efforts.
In 1999, Mazda Motor Corporation took full control of MAZDASPEED and today, Mazda show-cases our performance products under the Mazda Motorsports brand.
It's a bold claim, but one that would be hard to argue against - the MX-5 Miata is THE most im-portant car in all of road-racing. With more than 1,000,000 sold since 1989, the car is the go-to car for club racers. Spec Miata alone accounts for the single largest class in all of SCCA Club Racing. MX-5's are found in multiple classes for both the SCCA and NASA. On the professional level, the MAZDASPEED Challenge gave way to the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup that would become the Battery Tender® Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich. Independent teams race MX-5's in both the Continental Tire Challenge and the Pirelli World Challenge.
Mazda has also created opportunities for drivers and teams in the open-wheel world. Since the original Russell-Mazda formula car in 1984, which evolved into Star Mazda, then Pro Mazda, Mazda has helped develop hundreds of drivers over three decades. Mazda currently powers the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires as well as the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. In 2018, each of the three levels will feature race cars that are among the finest junior open-wheel cars in the world. On the club racing level, Mazda powers the entire grid of Formula Mazda and Formula Enterprise as well as a number of Formula Atlantic cars. In the 100th-running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016, 25 of the 33 drivers had spent time in a Mazda-powered car as they moved up the ladder.
The past ten years have seen great successes by Mazda teams at all levels. Mazda has scored wins and championships in IMSA, the American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am GT, Continental Tire ST, and Pirelli World Challenge Touring Cars. On the club racing side, Mazda is the number one player, exceeding the combined efforts of Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. This was achieved during a period of extensive changes in the racing world, and the automotive world at large.
In 2012, Mazda announced an all-new program, a racing version of its latest powertrain, the SKYACTIV-D. Mazda would do what no one had previously done, race a stock-block diesel. The SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine in the all-new Mazda6 is a true production-based engine. The engine is 51 percent stock by parts count, and 63 percent stock by weight. Mazda chose this path as it is the most honest way to demonstrate the quality, durability, and reliability of Mazda cars.
In 2014, the SKYACTIV-D became the power plant for a full effort in the top-level of IMSA rac-ing in the Prototype division. After two seasons in the Mazda Prototypes, the diesel program had developed a number of technical advances that will apply to the next generation of diesel en-gines on the showroom floor.
An all-new era of MX-5 Cup racing was born in 2016, as the fourth-generation MX-5 car became the basis for the new Battery Tender® Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires. Built by Long Road Racing in North Carolina, the MX-5 Cup car is purchased as a turnkey, ready-to-race model, and represents the best value in sports car racing. The long-term goal is to see many countries around the world develop their own MX-5 Cup championships. For 2017, the North American series is now sanctioned by INDYCAR, which means bigger events, historic tracks and much more exposure for the series.
The Mazda Prototype program unveiled a beautiful new car beginning in 2017 as a part of the Daytona Prototype international rules for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Mazda RT24-P is based upon a Riley-Multimatic chassis with a 600-hp, inline four-cylinder tur-bocharged Mazda engine, but the styling and the look of the car is pure Mazda. The same de-signers who created the latest models of the MX-5, CX-5 and CX-9 applied the same KODO - Soul of Motion design language to the race car, making it gorgeous - and unmistakably a Mazda.
Mazda has achieved success on the road and on the track thanks to thousands of people within Mazda and our extended family of dealers, customers and racers. We are a small company who dreams big and never stops challenging.