Photos: Mazda

Mazda takes wraps off its 2017 DPi challenger at L.A. Auto Show

Leave a comment

Mazda is the first manufacturer to formally reveal its Daytona Prototype international (DPi) platform for 2017, having done so today at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The full details are below:

The new Mazda RT24-P race car was unveiled today at the Los Angeles Auto Show, ushering a new era in the prominent history of Mazda Motorsports’ flagship endeavors in North America. The new car will compete under Daytona Prototype international (DPi) rules in the Prototype class, the top level of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. After significant on-track testing, it will make its racing debut at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January.

mazdadp4

KODO Design

Mazda is known globally for the engineering and design excellence of its vehicles, and the new Prototype is no exception. The bodywork of the race car was developed by Mazda designers utilizing the KODO—Soul of Motion design philosophy. KODO represents the instant that energy becomes motion, such as the muscular beauty as an animal pounces or a human leaps into action. The KODO design cues on the Mazda RT24-P include the sleek body contours and the five-point Mazda grille.

“KODO design is at the heart of any vehicle that carries a Mazda badge, and that is very evident in the design of the 2017 Prototype,” said Ken Saward, senior manager of Design at Mazda Design Americas, which falls under the Mazda North American Operations umbrella. “We considered the two main parameters of designing a successful race car for this series:aerodynamic performance and the new-for-2017 technical regulations. Working with Multimatic’s aerodynamicist and engineers, we discovered that applying the KODO design philosophy to the surfaces and the silhouette of the car enabled us to create a dynamic, purposeful-looking design and a very aerodynamically efficient one.”

mazdadp3

Managing the two-car Mazda Prototype factory race team is Florida-based SpeedSource Race Engineering. The team will race the new Riley Mk. 30 chassis, developed by Riley Technologies in relationship with Multimatic. Riley Technologies is a prominent chassis design and development company with 99 race wins and nine Prototype season championships in North American endurance racing since 2004. Canadian-based Multimatic has worked with Mazda since 2014 in the Prototype category, and has developed and built some of the world’s premier on-road supercars and successful sports cars for the race track. The Mazda team will be the first to test the Riley Mk. 30 chassis later this month.

The Mazda RT24-P will be powered by the Mazda MZ-2.0T engine which raced during the 2016 IMSA season. The approximately 600-horsepower engine, developed and raced with Advanced Engine Research (AER), is a 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

“This is a huge moment for Mazda Motorsports and the entire Mazda family,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports North America. “To have a car which features Mazda design language at the top level of our motorsports program is meaningful for us as a brand. We believe we have the right team, the right drivers and the right chassis to win races and championships.

“Mazda has good, long-standing relationships with Riley and Multimatic, and is happy to be the first to test their new chassis. We look forward to seeing it make its racing debut at Daytona with Mazda bodywork and the Mazda MZ-2.0T engine. The strategic vision of IMSA to give auto manufacturers this opportunity to integrate our branding —to better engage our passionate fans— is unique and we’re proud to be the first to unveil what is possible.”

mazdadp2

What’s in a Name?

The Mazda RT24-P name echoes the Mazda Road to 24, a driver development program that provides scholarships to help championship-winning drivers progress from grassroots into the upper categories of professional sports car racing. The “24” also represents the two-liter, four-cylinder race engine. The “P” signifies Prototype.

Mazda currently holds a more-than-55-percent market share in grassroots racing, and the Mazda Road to 24 helps provide championship-winning drivers an opportunity to earn scholarships to compete in pro categories such as the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich Tires. Mazda’s similar scholarship system in open-wheel racing is known as the Mazda Road to Indy. By the start of the 2017 season, Mazda will have provided $14.9 million in driver development scholarships to 53 drivers since 2007.

The Mazda RT24-P

Class:                                      Daytona Prototype international (DPi)

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Chassis:                                  Riley Mk. 30

Developed by Riley Technologies and Multimatic Motorsports

Weight:                                    930 kg                         (2,050 lbs.) — without driver or fuel

Length:                                    4750 mm          (15.41 feet)

Width:                                      1900 mm          (6.23 feet)

Wheel base:                            2950 mm          (9.67 feet)

Top Speed:                              Approximately 200 mph

Brakes:                                    Brembo/Hitco carbon discs

Suspension:                            Independent double A-arms

Dampers:                                 Dynamic DSSV

Transmission:                          Xtrac, six-speed sequential with paddle shifters

Tires:                                       Continental Extreme Contact

Front:                                       320/680/R18

Rear:                                       325/710/R18

Wheels:                                   Motegi Technomesh / Forged aluminum

Fuel:                                        IMSA E20

Fuel Capacity:                                     75 liters (19.8 gallons)

The Mazda MZ-2.0T Engine

Developed by Advanced Engine Research (AER)

Engine Displacement: 1997.6 cc

Bore x Stroke                          90 mm x 78.5 mm

Horsepower:                           600 Horsepower

Max Engine Speed:                 8,500 rpm

Camshafts:                              Dual Overhead

Valves:                                    Four per cylinder

ECU:                                        LIFE Racing

Turbo/Intercooler:                    Garrett Motorsports, air-to-air intercooler

Fuel Injectors/Pump:                Bosch Motorsport

Fuel Rail:                                  AER

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”