The Mazda RX-8 GRAND-AM GT will make history this weekend, bringing a rotary engine to race at Indianapolis for the first time ever.
The famed Mazda rotaries have won at Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona and plenty more racetracks the world over. But surprisingly, they’ve never battled on the most famous oval of them all. That all changes this weekend when the GRAND-AM GT Championship and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Three teams will enter their 1,950cc rotary engine-powered RX-8s for the Brickyard Grand Prix at 4:00pm EST this Sunday, in a massive field with more than 100 entries. The race will be televised live on SPEED.
Mazda will bring even more milestones to IMS next season. In 2013, an as-yet-unnamed Mazda will race with a SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine in the inaugural GX class. The SKYACTIV-D will be the first diesel engine to race at Indianapolis in more than fifty years.
Both the rotary and SKYACTIV engines are breaking new ground in the world of production cars, too. Mazda set the rotary to rest by retiring the RX-8 in 2011, and recently announced they will double production of their SKYACTIV engines in the Mazda3, CX-5 and other models. As the SKYACTIV technology improves, Mazda expects to increase total fuel efficiency by 30-percent by the year 2015. The recently revealed Mazda6 will also sport the SKYACTIV engine when it hits dealerships early next year.
It all adds up to make IMS the perfect place for Mazda to pay tribute to the rotary and welcome in the future. Ranked third in the manufacturers points championship, Mazda could use a victory and the rotary-powered RX-8s have a chance to start a perfect 1-0 record in Indy. The race is crucial for the SKYACTIV, as well; a chance to prove on the biggest stage that Mazda’s fuel efficient engine of the future can also take it to the competition on the track.
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