Even though I have never owned a Mazda, I have always appreciated the plucky Japanese brand for its efforts to build driver-centric cars. The Miata is perhaps the best example of Mazda’s track heritage, and the new SkyActiv technology promises to blend performance with fuel economy, maintaining Mazda’s fun-to-drive dynamics.. Mazda has announced that it is entering its SkyActiv-D diesel engine into the newly announced Grand-Am GX class for the 2013 racing season.
SkyActiv engine technology utilizes a number of technologies like a 4-2-1 exhaust system and an incredibly high combustion ratio of 14:1 to squeeze as much performance and efficiency out of gasoline and diesel as possible. Mazda will be entering a production version of its 2.2 liter SkyActiv-D engine into the new-for-2013 Grand-Am GX class, which opens the door for many new, clean racing technologies.
The SkyActiv-D engine utilizes a two-stage turbocharger and a redline of 5,200 RPM to deliver power in an as-yet-unannounced model. What it could be is anybody’s guess; Mazda is ending RX-8 production, and I doubt the Miata is about to get a turbodiesel engine (although I would love to be wrong). More like than not, it will be the Mazda 6 sedan gussied up for road racing that makes it to the track with this peppy diesel engine. Then again, the next Miata is supposed to be smaller and will get a tiny turbo engine, so who knows what Mazda has on tap.
While the motor will be based on a production engine block, much of the performance upgrade work will be done by SpeedSource Engineering. SpeedSource and Mazda go way back, and SpeedSource is one of the largest road racing teams in the country. They know their stuff, though the transition from a rotary-engine RX-8 to a turbodiesel engine won’t be easy.
The SkyActiv-D is 20% more fuel efficient, produces 20% less internal engine friction, and weighs 10% less than its predecessor. That is all well and good; but does it have the chops for Grand-Am racing? I know I am excited to find out come the 2013 racing season.