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by Jay Traugott
Do turbo diesel engines have a future in motorsports for Mazda? We're about to find as the brand has a Mazda6 diesel with 400 hp competing at the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend.
Mazda is serious about its all-new engine technology, called SkyActiv. While US buyers of the also new Mazda6 will only have the gasoline SkyActiv 2.5-liter I4 at their disposal, other global markets will also have a new diesel option. And at this moment Mazda is seeking its 24th class win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race with a race-ready Mazda6 diesel. When prepped for Grand Am racing duties, this turbo 2.2-liter SkyActiv diesel with direct-injection produces an incredible 400 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque.
Now, this power output obviously won't be available to the public anytime soon, if ever (the production diesel will have around a 165 hp and 350 lb-ft output). But for now, Mazda is clearly quite proud of its new Grand AM GX-class racer, which according to the automaker utilizes over 250 stock components in the engine. The GX class is reserved for cars with new technologies and based on how the diesel-powered sedan does, Mazda may have just found the ideal 21st century outlet to express its "Zoom-Zoom" philosophy now that its rotary engines have been dropped from official racing duties.