Mazda Does Diesel at Daytona to Introduce Mazda6 Skyactiv-D to U.S.

By Paul Riegler on 28 January 2013
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Bildschirmfoto 2013-01-28 um 12.52Mazda, which recently announced it will offer the Mazda6 sedan with a diesel engine later this year, will introduce the United States to its brand of diesel engines at the Rolex 24, also known as the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Mazda will run three Mazda6 sedans in the endurance race this Saturday and, by doing so, will be the first to compete at the Daytona International Speedway using diesel power.

The sedans will have the new 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D turbodiesel and, although highly modified, will have 60% stock parts according to Mazda, including the engine block and head.  Audi, one of the five automakers that currently sells diesel-powered passenger cars in the U.S., has used the 24 Hours of Le Mans to showcase diesel, although Audi was not the first to race a diesel there: a French entry beat Audi to the punch in 1949.

“While many know us as the ‘rotary engine’ company, and we love that part of our heritage, to race our latest SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel technology in our newest car, in the race where we have scored our largest number of wins, is amazing,” said John Doonan, a director at Mazda Motorsports.

Mazda began offering the petrol-powered variant of the Mazda6 earlier this month and it says that the diesel model will arrive in dealerships towards the end of 2013 as a 2014 model.  Mazda last sold a diesel vehicle in 1985, the B2200 pickup truck.

The race version of the Mazda 6 diesel will use synthetic diesel fuel and will be capable of developing 400 horsepower.  The production version of the Mazda6 diesel is rated at 173 horsepower.  Diesel has the same advantages in race cars as in passenger cars, including roughly 30% greater fuel economy and more torque (the race version develops 445 pound-feet, versus a still-hefty 310 in the production vehicle).  The improved fuel economy means that the race car can run with a smaller fuel tank and save weight by carrying less fuel than other cars in the race.  The car that goes on sale at the end of the year in the U.S. is said to be capable of 44 miles per gallon (5.3 l/100 km) in highway driving.

The two Mazda 6 diesels have something else in common: neither will require costly urea injection or particulate filters to meet emissions standards.  Mazda credits the unprecedentedly low 14:1 compression ratio with the low emissions.