Sir Chris Hoy and Mazda6 diesel both star in motor racing debuts

The ‘Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge’ consisted of three five-lap support races for last weekend’s Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia. Like the Grand Prix the Mazda6 races took place on the challenging 3.3-mile Albert Park race track.
Each participant of these support races competed in special race-modified Mazda6 models. All racing versions of the Mazda6 were equipped with a 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel engine.
This same unit is available on the road-going 2013 Mazda6 range offering outputs of 150bhp or 175bhp, the Mazda6 race cars produce the latter output.
The race models also retain the Mazda6’s six-speed automatic transmission from the standard road-going line-up. The transmission was now operated however with steering wheel paddle-shift selectors for changing gears. The top speed of the racing models were also increased compared to the road-legal 175bhp diesel Mazda6, from 129mph to 137mph.
The 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel is an all-round impressively efficient engine. On the road-going version the Mazda6 saloon, the 175bhp diesel gives the family car a 0-60mph sprint time of 9.5 seconds, but it can also return 62.7mpg and it produces just 119g/km in CO2 emissions.
The same 2.2-litre diesel with the 150bhp output boasts even more impressive figures for the road-legal Mazda6 saloon. It can cover the 0-62mph sprint in exactly nine seconds and also offers a top speed of 131mph. The official fuel economy figure is increased to 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions are at just 108g/km.
While the Mazda6 race cars used one of the same engines as its road-going counterpart, the saloons were stripped down inside and fitted with a raft of additional safety equipment to comply with FIA race regulations.
The new features installed included a full roll-cage, a Sparco race seat with six-point safety harness, race compound brake pads and external battery ‘kill’ switches. New grooved road tyres were also attached to each Mazda6 race car for the Challenge event.
Sir Chris Hoy, a keen motorsport fan and track day visitor, was the only British competitor involved in last weekend’s ‘Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge’ and he described it as “the most fun I have had in the car ever”. Other famous faces who took part in the celebrity races included Australian Olympic cyclist Anna Meares, actor Jonathan LaPaglia and the singer and actress Holly Candy (nee Valance).
At the challenge Chris Hoy qualified a promising third during Thursday’s practice session, finished fifth on Saturday (from a 20th place start) and stormed to a great second place finish in Sunday’s finale. The three race Celebrity Challenge was won overall by the former Australian test cricketer Brad Hodge.
Following the Celebrity Challenge races the Managing Director of Mazda UK, Jeremy Thompson, reacted: “The Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge in Australia was great fun and provided the perfect showcase for Mazda’s clean diesel technology”.
Thompson added: “The event captured the ‘defy convention’ spirit at the heart of Mazda and put a fresh spotlight on our brand in a country where Mazda is already very popular and the Mazda3 topped the new car sales chart sales last year”.
On-the-road pricing for the 2013 Mazda6 range in the UK currently varies between £19,595 and £28,045.
The family car’s Skyactiv driving technology not only offers an efficient engine line-up but also makes use of a sophisticatedly designed chassis and body structure, which were created with the aid of high quality steel parts.
The engine range for the 2013 Mazda6 includes not only a 2.2-litre diesel, but also a 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol unit offering outputs of either 145bhp or 165bhp.
Similarly efficient Skyactiv driving technology is also available on the Mazda CX-5 family SUV.
Standard equipment within the 2013 Mazda6 range includes a CD player, air conditioning and cruise control.
The 2013 Mazda6 range is available to UK motorists now from Perrys Mazda Dealerships based in Barnsley, Blackburn, Huddersfield, Portsmouth and Preston.
You can view our latest Perrys Car Video Test Drive Reviews here