This weekend the Mazda6 Diesel became the first diesel-powered race car to win an event at the Indy Motor Speedway. Alas, that win comes with an asterisk, because the pair of factory-supported Mazda6 diesels competed against just one other car. It’s no surprise then that organizers are looking to fold the alt-fuel GX class into the more-competitive GT class next year.
Mazda is the only manufacturer supporting the Grand-Am’s GX Class, and their only constant opponent has been a Porsche Cayman campaigned by a privateer team. With the merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am happening at the end of the 2013 season, the two organizations are no doubt looking to merge a number of departments and classes in the new United SportCar Racing Series. While not official yet, organizers have heavily hinted that it is a likely move that makes sense.
The preference is for just four classes, and merging the GX Class with the GT class is a no-brainer. Right now the power goal for the Mazda6 Diesels has been around 400 horsepower, while moving up to the GT class will require another 20 to 50 horsepower to remain competitive. A tall order for the 2.2 liter turbodiesel, but not impossible.
Even the Mazda6 team seems on-board with John Doonan of Mazda Motorsports North Americatelling SPEED.com that;
“I think that’s probably the best thing for the series,” Doonan said. “It allows the platform to continue to compete. It allows us to sell customer cars as we’ve had more interest recently. It will allow us to continue to pursue our model and that type of thing.”
Sounds even better to me, quite frankly. This opens the possibility of more alt-fuel vehicles competing against their conventional counterparts in a major class, rather than on the fringes. If alt-fuels prove dominant, it won’t be long before other teams follow suit.