Mazda is coming back to Le Mans in 2013 as an engine supplier in the LMP2 class, having formally made its announcement prior to the start of the 80th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The company's 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D clean diesel four-cylinder, sequentially turbocharged engine is the basis for the return of the sole Japanese manufacturer to win the summer twice-around-the-clock classic.
"This reopens our love affair with Le Mans," said Jay Amestoy, vice president of Mazda Motorsports. "In 1991 we made history, winning with rotary technology."
Mazda returns to The Sarthe with a production-based powerplant that it believes will be the most advanced and cleanest the sport has seen in this race.
"Our engines are available for sale to European and U.S. customers competing in LMP2 for both the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
The first customer will be Dempsey Racing, who earlier announced they'll campaign a Lola coupe at Le Mans; the final consideration in the package has been confirmed as Dempsey Racing intends to race with SKYACTIV-D power.
"Our long-term partnership with Mazda has been fantastic and we look forward to mutual success as we prepare for 2013," Patrick Dempsey, team co-owner said. The team will race with sponsorship from partners Visit Florida as the state celebrates its 500th year of existence in 2013.
Mazda SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine - Courtesy MazdaEnlarge Photo
Mazda Director of Motorsports John Doonan noted, "Le Mans is a magical place for Mazda, after our 1991 win. Without the ACO's vision, leadership and support we would not be here today. The first five engines have been delivered to (Sylvain Tremblay's) SpeedSource in Coral Gables, FL for fitment," he added.
"Mazda has fostered the culture of 'never stop challenging'. It is this same spirit that laid the foundation for the portfolio of SKYACTIV technologies," said Masahiro Moro, executive officer in charge of global sales and marketing at Mazda Motor Corp. "I am pleased that we will be supporting our private customers who are taking up the Le Mans challenge by supplying race engines as a customer program based on our SKYACTIV-D clean diesel."