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  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Introduced in:2014
Internal name:B12/80
Designed by:Julian Sole for Lola
Successor:Mazda Prototype
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 24, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn 2012, Mazda Motorsports announced the production-based Skyactiv-D diesel engine with the intention to run it at Le Mans powering a Lola LMP2 car the following year. For a variety of reasons, this project never materialised and the Japanese manufacturer instead fielded a pair of diesel engined Mazda 6s in the experimental GX class of the Grand-Am championship during the 2013 season. Although faced with limited competition, the diesel-engined racers performed formidably.

Following the merger of Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series into the United SportsCar Championship, the once second tier LMP2 cars are now in the running for outright victories in all of the major North American sports car races. This was the incentive Mazda Motorsports needed to pursue their original plans and ready a pair of Skyactiv-D engined prototypes ahead of the 2014 season. As with the Mazda 6 program, the day-to-day running of the operation was entrusted to Sylvain Tremblay's Speedsource team.

As in the Mazda 6 Skyactiv-D GX, the diesel engines used in the new Mazda Prototype have been lifted straight off the production line. Over 60% stock components are used in the sophisticated competition engine including the aluminium block and head. Displacing just under 2.2 litre, the Skyactiv-D straight four is equipped with Bosch direct injection and a Garrett turbo. Tweaked for use in the Prototype, the engine is now good for around 450 bhp compared to 380 bhp in Grand-Am GX specification.

Two brand new chassis were ordered from Canadian company Multimatic, who acquired the assets and designs from the bankrupt Lola. Similar to the Lola Coupes previously used by Mazda in ALMS, the new Prototype is built around a carbon-fibre monocoque. Suspension is by double wishbones and push-rod actuated springs and dampers on all four corners. Mounted amidships, the Skyactiv-D engine is mated to an XTrac 6-speed sequential gearbox. The completed car tips the scales at the class minimum of 900 kg.

First seen in pre-season testing, the Mazda Prototype will make its competition debut in January 25-26 Daytona 24 Hours. The two cars entered will be the only diesel powered racers on the grid. Full season drivers Sylvain Tremblay, Tom Long, Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez will be joined by James Hinchcliffe and Tristan Vautier for the endurance events.

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  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications