Diesel push putting Mazda in front

In only its fourth event, the Mazda6 diesel has won a Grand Am race, re­ports DAVE MOORE.

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Keen to pro­mote its SkyAc­tiv diesel tech­nol­ogy to the US mar­ket, Mazda has been com­pet­ing for a cou­ple of months now in the North Amer­can Rolex Grand-Am GX class. Diesel has grown by more than 24 per cent as the US fuel of choice since 2010 and Mazda is the only Ja­panese brand gear­ing-up to of­fer such power units in the pas­sen­ger mar­ket, though sev­eral Euro­pean brands are on the case. Pow­ered by a pro­duc­tion-based SkyAc­tiv-D clean diesel engine, Mazda has now scored a win in the Rolex Grand-Am GX race at Road At­lanta. Joel Miller and An­drew Car­bonell drove the num­ber 00 Visit Florida Rac­ing Mazda6 to the win, with team-mates Syl­vain Trem­blay and Tom Long fin­ish­ing third in the sim­i­lar car num­bered 70; SpeedSource Mazda6. It was a three-way bat­tle for most of the race with a Porsche Cay­man split­ting the two Maz­das. This win rep­re­sented a day of firsts. This is the first-ever win for a dieselpow­ered car in Grand-Am com­pe­ti­tion and the first win for the all-new Mazda6 in any race se­ries. It was the first Grand-Am race win for driv­ers Joel Miller and An­drew Car­bonell. Miller is a for­mer Mazda Mo­tor­sports Schol­ar­ship win­ner, hav­ing won the Skip Bar­ber National Cham­pi­onship in 2007. Car­bon­nell has been rac­ing Maz­das with Freedom Au­tosport for many years, and was part of the team that de­liv­ered the 2011 Con­ti­nen­tal Tire ST Man­u­fac­tur­ers Cham­pi­onship to Mazda. Car­bonell was sub­sti­tut­ing for Miller’s usual team-mate, Tris­tan Nunez. John M Doo­nan, di­rec­tor, Mazda Mo­tor­sports, Mazda North Amer­i­can Op­er­a­tions says: ‘‘In 1991, we were the first Asian com­pany to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and to­day’s GX-class win with the Mazda6 SkyAc­tiv-D clean diesel proves that Mazda is not afraid to face a chal­lenge. ‘‘This is the first of what we hope will be many vic­to­ries, but the best part of it is how well our road-car engi­neers from Mazda Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion worked with the race­car engi­neers from SpeedSource. We’ve al­ways said that the best street cars make the best race­cars, and, with more than half of the com­po­nents in the race engine be­ing shared with the street engine, this pro­gramme is a solid proof-point, as well as proof of the qual­ity, dura­bil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity of all Maz­das. ‘‘Rac­ing is a true team sport, and we would not have been able to achieve to­day’s vic­tory with­out the sup­port of ev­ery­one at Mazda R&D, SpeedSource and our fan­tas­tic part­ners at Cas­trol and Visit Florida.’’ Syl­vain Trem­blay, owner, SpeedSource En­gi­neer­ing: ‘‘While Joel and An­drew sprayed the cham­pagne, the vic­tory is shared with ev­ery­one and is a trib­ute to the thou­sands of hours of hard work over many months. Af­ter that rough de­but at Day­tona, ev­ery­one stepped up to make sure we had a fast, re­li­able car as soon as was pos­si­ble. ‘‘The nor­mal plan with a new car is to spend the first year in de­vel­op­ment, the sec­ond year seek­ing race wins, and chal­leng­ing for a cham­pi­onship in year three. ‘‘We are al­ready at our year-two sta­tus af­ter four races. We can’t wait to get to the Belle Isle course in Detroit for round five.’’ Joel Miller, co-driver, 00 Visit Florida Mazda6: ‘‘The [car] ran per­fectly. The torque of the diesel pulled up the el­e­va­tion changes around Road At­lanta cir­cuit strongly and it han­dled beau­ti­fully. ‘‘Dur­ing the course of the race we at­tacked when needed and paced our­selves when re­quired. The event had only one cau­tion dur­ing its twohour and 45 min­utes race, thus there was hardly any time to re­lax. ‘‘The SpeedSource crew was in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with my­self and co-driver An­drew Car­bonell as we worked through traf­fic.’’

SkyAc­tiv mak­ing a dif­fer­ence: Mazda is be­com­ing more race-ready.

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