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Diesel has without a doubt become the dominant fuel in the modern era of endurance racing. The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been won under diesel power for the past eight years running, as has every race in the FIA World Endurance Championship since its inauguration in 2012. Yet there will only be one diesel prototype entered in the top tier of the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship this year, and it belongs to Mazda.
The last Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans outright, Mazda has been gradually working its way back up the endurance racing ladder once again, following the example set by Audi with diesel power. Last year it campaigned a competition-spec Mazda6 Skyactiv-D in the GX class of the Grand-Am series, but rather than simply port over the existing racer into the new series, it's fielding a new prototype instead, just as it promised a couple of months ago. And now that prototype has hit the track for the first time, prompting Mazda to release its basic specs for the first time.
Tentatively referred to simply as the 2014 Mazda Prototype, the purpose-built racecar is testing this weekend in the Roar Before the 24, the official test session at Daytona that kicks off the racing season. It packs a 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D engine that's based heavily on the production version but tuned to produce 450 horsepower and 580 pound-feet of torque in race trim. Power is channeled through a six-speed sequential transmission from Xtrac, carbon brakes from AP and 18-inch racing slicks from Continental. With the Daytona-spec aero setup, it'll top out at around 186 miles per hour.
We're all hungry like the wolf to see the unveiling of the next-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on September 3, but Mazda is seriously excited about taking the sheet of its latest droptop because it has 1980s New Wave act Duran Duran headlining the event. In case you can't make it to Monterey, CA, Tokyo or Barcelona to watch the reveal happen, the brand is also livestreaming it on YouTube starting at 6:00 PM PT (9:00 PM ET). The Miata is then showing its all-new face again during the broadcast of Fashion Rocks on CBS on September 9 at 9:00 PM ET.
Facts about the new MX-5 have remained elusive, but we saw its bare chassis at the 2014 New York show. The roadster was rumored to return to the classic oval grille from the earlier models and also shed a decent amount of weight over the current version, possibly around 300 pounds.
Don't worry about noting the big reveal in your calendars, though. Not only will Autoblog be in attendance in Monterey to hear Simon Le Bon belt out Rio, we will also publish another post linking to the livestream before the unveiling. In the meantime, scroll down to read Mazda's announcement and check out the link to the stream, which just shows a countdown at the moment.
Three million more vehicles can be added to the worldwide tally to be repaired for the faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata. Honda, Nissan, and Mazda have all issued recalls to replace the bad part, including about 1.2 million of them in North America. NHTSA has been investigating all three companies, plus Chrysler and Toyota, for potentially affected vehicles.
Honda is recalling roughly 1.02 million Civic, CR-V, Odyssey and Element models In North America, built between April 2000 and October 2002. Mazda needs to repair 14,794 units of the RX-8 and Mazda6, and Nissan has 228,000 vehicles in North America to be fixed.
Chrysler is also starting what it calls a "regional field action" to replace the inflators in the 2006 Dodge Charger, according to a company spokesperson. The company says that it has not yet found the problem in any of its vehicles, but it's being done "out of an abundance of caution." The final number of Chargers affected will be announced later this week.