MAZDA KICKS OFF 2014 SEASON AT ROLEX 24Company press release.
• Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype Begins New TUDOR Championship Era
January 21, 2014 (IRVINE, Calif.)
— Mazda Motorsports is known for several things – sports cars, endurance racing, and taking the engineering path less traveled. This coming weekend, Mazda Motorsports will begin a new era of professional sports car racing when its latest SKYACTIV-powered Mazda Prototype takes the green flag at the first ever TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race.
The season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, is one that Mazda knows well, having scored 23 class wins in the endurance classic since 1975. The challenges for 2014 will be bigger than in any past season as Mazda will be competing for the overall win against some of the world's best racers, teams and manufacturers.
The quote: 'Mazda is thrilled to once again be coming to a new series in our own unique manner. Our SKYACTIV Technology is a perfect match for racing as the mindset is the same – every single component and system can be optimized for increased performance and efficiency for both the street and the track. By using a production Mazda SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine we are charting our own course. The work is compounded by the fact that our team is having to invent new ways of doing things as there are no racing components on the shelf that fit our engine. All of this just means the rewards will be that much sweeter for all of us and the many partners who have helped us get here when we achieve success,' noted John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations.
The car: Mazda Motorsports, working in conjunction with SpeedSource Race Engineering and Multimatic Engineering have built two all-new prototype cars. The car will be known as the 'Mazda Prototype.'
The powertrain: The engine powering the all-new Mazda Prototype is the latest evolution of the Mazda SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel that Mazda used to win nine races and the 2013 Grand-Am GX Manufacturers Championship. While the engine itself is almost identical to that used in the Mazda6 last year, everything from the flywheel to the wheels is all new. Managing almost 800 Nm (600 lb-ft) of torque will be the biggest technical challenge for the team. Over the course of the 2013 season, the team broke more than a dozen racing driveline components, but no stock Mazda parts!
The team: SpeedSource Race Engineering, from Coral Springs, Florida, remains the lead race team within Mazda Motorsports. Led by Sylvain Tremblay, the SpeedSource team has an amazing depth of technical talent. The SpeedSource team is working with Mazda engineers from both Mazda North American Operations in Irvine, California, and Mazda Motor Corporation in Hiroshima, Japan.
The partners: Mazda is pleased to be working with Castrol, Dynamic Fuels, Motegi Racing Wheels, Sparco, Modspace, Autonet Mobile, Garrett Motorsports, Bosch Motorsport, Xtrac, Mahle, Carillo, Pankl, and AP.
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◾Sylvain Tremblay – Sylvain wears multiple hats, and helmets, within the team. Sylvain is the SpeedSource team owner and driver of the #70. He is also hands-on in the design and development of the car. He is a two-time Rolex 24 GT class winner with his SpeedSource RX-8 in 2008 and 2010. Sylvain can also conduct his interviews fluently in both English and French having been born and raised in Quebec, Canada.
◾Tom Long – A Spec Miata success story, Tom has been winning races in Mazdas for a decade now, most recently in both the Grand-Am GX class with SpeedSource and in the Continental Tire Challenge in his Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. Tom understands the business of the sport having graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 2004 with a degree in business marketing.
◾Joel Miller – Joel was on a path to the Indy 500 when he switched to sports cars. A former Skip Barber National Champion, Joel was one of the first racers to earn a Mazda scholarship. After several years in Star Mazda and Indy Lights, Joel made the move to sports cars and was the 2013 Grand-Am Rookie of the Year scoring five wins in the SpeedSource #00 Mazda6. A recent graduate of UC Riverside in Mechanical Engineering, Joel is also an engineer at SpeedSource during the week.
◾Tristan Nunez – Tristan is the 'kid' on the team, and continues to earn 'youngest ever' mentions, including youngest ever professional sports car champion when he won the 2012 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Powered by Mazda at age 17. Tristan co-drove to four wins in the SpeedSource #00 Mazda6 in 2013. Away from the track Tristan is one of the leading racing voices raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
◾For Daytona, they will be joined by Indycar racers James Hinchcliffe and Tristan Vautier. Both are Mazda Motorsports alums. Hinchcliffe raced a Mazda-powered Atlantic car in 2006 and 2007. Vautier was the 2011 Star Mazda Champion on his way up to Indycars.
◾The #70 Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype will be driven by Sylvain Tremblay, Tom Long and James Hinchecliffe while the #07 will be shared by Joel Miller, Tristan Nunez, and Tristan Vautier.
There's more than just racing within Mazda: Mazda dealerships from coast-to-coast have been doing community service related to the Mazda Drive4Good campaign. Mazda racers have been doing their part as well with RACE and Project Yellow Light.
R.A.C.E. – Last week Mazda introduced a new national educational outreach program designed to encourage the nation's middle and high school students to consider studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Called Racing Accelerates Creative Education (R.A.C.E.), the program will visit schools near each of the 2014 TUDOR Championship events. The curriculum of this turn-key, interactive learning forum is designed to provide stimulating, real-world examples of why it is important to know science and math. Mazda utilizes their racecar and race engineers in the interactive presentation.
Project Yellow Light – For the second consecutive year, Mazda Motorsports is promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Scholarships are being awarded to high school and college students who produce the best public service videos. Details can be found at http://www.projectyellowlight.com/
2014 Mazda Prototype Specifications
As part of its challenger frame of mind, Mazda is the only car company racing in the TUDOR Championship with a diesel engine. The SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel race engine is a true production-based engine and a carry-over from the development work done with the championship winning Mazda6 GX-class racing cars. The engine is 51 percent stock by parts count, and 63 percent stock by weight. Mazda chose this path as it is the most honest way to demonstrate the performance, quality, durability and reliability of Mazda powerplants.
The drivers: With Mazda being the leader in grassroots motorsports and having successful drivers at every rung of the ladder, Mazda has a philosophy of promoting from within. The same four drivers who developed the 2013 Championship winning Mazda6 are now developing the Mazda Prototype.