Recently, three Mazda6 sedans equipped with 173 horsepower 2.2 liter SkyActiv-D diesel engines established a new speed record for diesel powered production cars. Running in a 24 hour marathon at the ATP testing track in Papenburg, Germany, the fastest car averaged 137.368 mph during the 24 hour test with the other 2 cars less than 1 MPH behind. That’s almost 7 mph faster than the old record for diesel powered production cars between 2.0 to 2.5 liters.
The three Mazda 6 diesels were driven by 23 drivers from 7 European countries. Most of the drivers were professionals or journalists, but several were car enthusiasts selected from a pool of applicants back in May of this year. During their 1.5-hour stints behind the wheel, the drivers were not allowed to follow in the slipstream of a preceding car and needed to be “exceptionally careful” in the steeply banked curves at each end of the oval to avoid losing speed.
During the marathon event, the three Mazda 6 diesel sedans also set several other average speed records over a variety of distances. The cars were crewed by volunteers from Mazda dealerships all across Europe.
Diesel cars are hugely popular in Europe because they get better fuel economy than their gas-powered cousins. Diesel fuel also costs considerably less on the Continent than gasoline, which sells for the equivalent of $8.00 per gallon or more. The Mazda6 with the SkyActiv-D engine is available in Europe now, and is expected to be offered in the American market starting n 2015 (once they pass the stricter emissions tests).