Peter Anderson | Jun 19, 2012

Twenty-one years after its last Le Mans campaign with the all-conquering 787B, Mazda has announced its return to the fray with a SKYACTIV-D for LMP2 cars.

The new diesel race engine is a joint venture between Mazda Motor Corporation in Japan, Mazda North America and SpeedSource Engineering.

The powerplant weighs in at 2.2 litres and is force-fed by a single turbo. The engine is intended for the LMP2 class of cars and will power the LMP2 car of Patrick Dempsey's Dempsey Racing entry.

Despite supplying petrol MZR engines for the LMP2 class - as seen in OAK Pescarolos - Mazda sees the SkyActiv-D as a new beginning for the marque in sports car racing.

"Today we reopen our love affair with Le Mans and mark the beginning of a whole new chapter in motor racing for Mazda," said Jay Amestoy, Vice President of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations.

The engine will also be used by cars in the American Le Mans series.

1992 Mazda MXR-01
1992 Mazda MXR-01

Mazda is still the only carmaker from Japan to have won the Le Mans 24 Hours. In fact, it's the only carmaker from the entire Asian region to have won the prestigious event.

Mazda's 1991 Le Mans winner, the 787B, was a rotary-powered monster that competed in the event under the Group C rules. The rotary 787B is the only non-piston engined car to win at Le Mans.

The 787B, with Johnny Herbert among the drivers, headed a trio of the iconic TWR Silk Cut Jaguars, the favourites for the race win.

The SKYACTIV-D engine will be available for customers competing in the 2013 Grand AM, World Endurance and American Le Mans Championships.

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