Mazda won Le Mans back in 1991 with its legendary 787B rotary-powered prototype and remains the only Japanese car manufacturer to ever do so.
Known as the P2 racing engine, which is a stock Mazda 2.2-litre diesel four-cylinder, dual-stage turbocharged powerplant. The engine is a joint development between Mazda Motor Corporation, Mazda North American Operations and SpeedSource race engineering.
“Today we reopen our love affair with Le Mans and mark the beginning of a whole new chapter in motor racing for Mazda,” said Jay Amestoy, vice president of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations. “Now we’re looking to return to the winners circle with what we believe will be the most advanced and cleanest production based powerplant the sport has ever seen.
“Our new SkyActiv-D race engines will be available to US and European customers competing in the LMP2 class of the World Endurance Championship and the American Le Mans Series as well as teams in the national Grand Am Championship.”
Well-known actor and race driver Patrick Dempsey, of Dempsey Racing, is on target to become the first LMP2 customer for the Mazda diesel racing engine, which they plan to run at the 2013 Le Mans race, in France.
“Our long-term partnership with Mazda has been fantastic, and we look forward to mutual success as we prepare for 2013,” said Dempsey. “We are already focused on that preparation, which is why we are currently testing our LMP2 car in the US in preparation for the next American Le Mans.”
Dempsey and Dempsey Racing have been successfully racing Mazda RX-8s in the US-based Grand-Am GT class for the last five years, even scoring a podium finish at the famous Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in 2011.