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Mazda brings diesel back to racing

Mazda is keen on making a diesel impact this year with the upcoming release of the Mazda6. Now, the automaker is applying diesel technology to its race car. 

By Jeff GluckerGuest blogger / July 29, 2013

The Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel race car, set to debut at the Indianapolis motor speedway this week. It will be the first Diesel car in over 60 years to race at the Brickyard.

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Mazda is keen on making a diesel impact this year. Many folks are waiting to get their hands on the upcoming oil-burning Mazda6. It's the first time a Japanese automaker has sold a diesel mill here in the States since it came attached to a vehicle wearing an Isuzu badge.

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Since this is Mazda we're talking about, the automaker is also applying the diesel tech to its racecar. That racing machine is heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week, which makes it the first diesel-powered racer to hit the Brickyard in 61 years.

Back in 1952, the Cummins Diesel Special took to the track to compete in the Indianapolis 500. The Kurtis Kraft car was powered by a 6.6-liter in-line six-cylinder turbocharged diesel motor that was good for 380 horsepower.

Today, the Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel racecar "makes do" with a much smaller 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel mill. This unit is good for around 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque.

The Mazda machine made a bit of history of its own when it became the first-ever diesel powered racecar to run at Daytona. Now it's bringing the diesel tech to the Brickyard, and taking over where the 1952 Cummins Diesel Special left off. It's even more special when you consider how close to stock the Mazda motor actually is.

Mazda states that 51 percent of the engine parts are stock, and 63 percent of the weight is stock. Once that diesel-drinking Mazda6 hits the streets, we expect many a tuner will be learning new tricks to tune that four door.

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