Mazda plans greener Le Mans 2013 car

Mazda has announced it is developing a race-ready tuned version of the 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D engine, an efficient diesel engine designed to lower CO2 emissions and boost fuel economy in Mazda’s new compact SUV.

The new engine will be used in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 in the Dempsey Racing car as part of Mazda’s tie-in with the racing brand.

The result, says Mazda, will be ‘the most advanced and cleanest production-based powerplant the sport has ever seen’.

Mazda Motorsports vice president Jay Amestoy said: “”We’ll do it in true Mazda style as the Skyactiv technology will allow Mazda to chart its own path in racing, showcasing the latest developments in fuel-efficient, powerful and clean powertrains.”

While Mazda prepares Skyactiv racing technology, the engines have already appeared in its standard road cars after debuting in the new Mazda CX-5.

Available in two- or four-wheel drive, the Mazda CX-5 is on sale now from £21,395 at Perrys Mazda dealerships in the UK.

Mazda hopes the new Skyactiv-D engine will give the brand a first Le Mans victory since 1991, the only time an Asian car maker has ever won the race, which is often described as the world’s most difficult endurance race.

In this year’s race, British driver Anthony Davidson broke two vertebrae after a spectacular crash in his Toyota Racing car after a collision with a Ferrari.

The race was also notable for the stunning Nissan Deltawing, a batmobile-like race car, crashing out after a collision.

After hitting a wall, driver Satoshi Motoyama worked for an hour to get the prototype working but admitted defeat.