It took Mazda almost 20 years to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and since their 1991 victory the small Japanese automaker has taken a hiatus from endurance racing. But now that Mazda has a new line of SkyActiv engines it needs to promote, they’re looking to return to Le Mans in a big way. Next year Dempsey Racing will be powered by a 2.2 liter SkyActiv-D diesel engine in the 2013 Le Mans race, marking Mazda’s long-awaited to return to endurance racing.
Mazda has already made it known that the 2.2 liter SkyActiv-d diesel engine will be competing in the brand new Grand Am GX class next year. And now that ACO is easing engine restrictions and making Le Mans a competition of power as well as efficiency, a smaller diesel engine like the 2.2 stands to compete. Dempsey Racing, which is owned in part by Patrick Dempsey, has been racing a Mazda RX-8 in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series, so their relationship with Mazda is pretty rock solid.
That’s not the only place we’ll be seeing this efficient, powerful engine though. Mazda is letting it be known that their SkyActiv-D engine will be participating in contests of speed across the US in the 2013 American Le Mans and World Endurance Championship Series as well. Makes me wonder how much a crate motor might cost. Probably more than I could afford, though I can think of a few hot rods that might enjoy that conversion.