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Mazda6 Skyactiv Diesel To Compete In 2013 Grand-Am Series 30
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Diesels, Grand Am, Kurt, Mazda6, Race Cars on 11 30th, 2012

Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D clean diesel race car – image: PRNewsFoto/Mazda North American Operations

Mazda’s new Mazda6 sedan will begin hitting dealers in early 2013. While the styling update and new Skyactiv four-cylinder engine would be news enough, the Japanese automaker announced yesterday that it would be bringing the Skyactiv diesel variant of the car to these shores in the second half of 2013 as well. That makes Mazda the first Asian manufacturer to import a non-commercial, clean-diesel vehicle into the United States.

Mazda is still finalizing the Skyactiv-D engine with the EPA, so output figures aren’t yet available. In traditional Mazda form, however, the manufacturer will look to prove the car in competition, even before it’s available to consumers.The Mazda6 Skyactiv-D will make its racing debut in the Grand-Am GX class at January’s Rolex 24 endurance race in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Mazda has worked with SpeedSource to develop the car, and the diesel engine has already met the team’s goals for performance (over 400 horsepower) and durability (over 50 hours), while using a surprising percentage of production Mazda components. Even the block of the 2.2-liter engine started life as a stock piece.

The Mazda6 diesel represents the first-ever diesel racer in the Grand-Am series (though they’ve been raced for years by Audi and Peugeot in the rival American Le Mans Series), and Mazda hopes the car will earn the company’s 24th class win at the Rolex 24 race.

Honda Shows You How To Build A World Challenge Race Car: Video 12
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Honda Civic Si, Automotive, honda, Kurt, Race Cars, video, Videos on 07 12th, 2012

Let’s get this out of the way up front: while we were huge fans of the last generation Honda Civic Si, we simply can’t warm up to the latest generation, now fitted with the 2.4-liter four from the Acura TSX. While we’re sure the new generation will prove to be plenty reliable, there was a magic in the previous generation car that’s simply lacking in the new one. The 2.0-liter Civic Si simply begged to be driven hard, while the new car just seems to put up with it. We always hated giving the keys back on earlier Si models, but frankly we couldn’t wait to get the new version out of our driveway.

Honda’s heard the complaints, and we sincerely hope they’re addressing the new Si’s shortcomings. In the mean time, Honda wants to remind you that it still races cars, including the Civic Si, in series like the SCCA’s World Challenge. Building a race car for Touring Class competition is fairly straightforward, since rule books specify needed safety features and allowed modifications to engine, suspension and brakes. Disassemble the car, weld in a cage, bolt the needed pieces back together and you’re good to go.

While the message the video tries to deliver is “the Honda Civic Si you can buy at a dealer is nearly the same as the Civic Si we race,” nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps if we drove a Civic Si with a Honda Performance Development race engine, suspension and brakes, we’d feel differently, but we haven’t had that opportunity.

If you’re in the market for a Civic Si, take our advice: find the cleanest used 2011 to 2006 you can. It will put a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel, which is something we can’t say for the current car.