A trio of Mazda6 race cars powered by SKYACTIV-D diesel engines will face off at the Thunderhill 25-Hour race in a dealers-versus-factory showdown that you can stream live online — for all 25 hours, if you like.
According to the press release from Mazda, two of the Mazda6 cars will be piloted and crewed by Mazda dealer representatives, while one will be the “factory” car piloted and crewed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) corporate personnel. The idea: Let’s just prove once and for all who’s faster — dealer-backed racers, or factory-backed racers.
MNAO Senior Vice President of US Operations Robert Davis said, “Mazda is a small company, but what has always stood us apart from our competition is that we are a car company full of real car people. Given that we have less than 600 employees and about the same number of dealers around the country, we have a disproportionately large number of employees and dealers who have competition licenses and are real racers. These people spend their weekdays working with cars professionally, just to spend the weekend working with cars as their hobby. To finally put to bed the age-old question of who’s faster, dealers or factory guys, it’s finally time to cut the conversation and put everyone’s talent where their mouth is.”
Careful, them’s fightin’ words, Rob.
The press release made sure to point out these Mazda6 diesel racers are not the same cars that won the 2013 Grand-Am GX Manufacturers Championship. In fact, they’re a lot more stock, with a slew of racing tech tacked on to get them track-ready:
these are far-more production-based. Working on nights and weekends over the past three months, an all-volunteer Mazda employee team transformed three brand-new European-specification Mazda6s into racecars ready to contest the event in NASA’s E1 class.
Mechanically, the cars remain nearly stock, but the interiors were removed to accommodate an Anthony Woodford Racing roll-cage, a Sparco Pro-ADV racing seat , Safecraft racing seatbelts and plumbed-in fire systems and AIM MXL Pista dashes and data acquisition. Under the skin, the SKYACTIV-D diesel engine (which is fueled by Dynamic Fuels’ unique diesel blend) and six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmission put their power to the ground through custom-designed ProParts USA suspension utilizing Koni dampers and Hypercoil springs, and custom ProParts rear stabilizer bars. Connecting all this to the track are 17×8” Enkei Kojin wheels wrapped in 245/40R-17 BFGoodrich g-Force R1 tires. And when it comes time to slow down, the experts at StopTech delivered their four-piston STR-40 calipers and AeroRotors, backed by custom braided lines.
The three Mazda6 diesel racers will be among a field of more than 70 other cars at the Thunderhill 25-Hour race, which the release said attracts a wide variety of cars, from Mazda Miatas to Porsche GT3 cup cars.
Cameras mounted on-board the three Mazda6 diesels will stream video to the internet for the entire 25 hours, the release said. To view the video feed, you’ll need to go here on race day, which spans Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8.