Thursday, July 26, 2012 13:04
For most of its 100-year history, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a hotbed of innovation. Cars with four wheels and six wheels, cars with the engine in the front and rear, four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines, turbochargers and superchargers—just about every type of racecar has lapped the famed oval at one time or another.
But there’s never been a rotary-engined car competing at the Brickyard—until now, when the SpeedSource Dempsey Racing and Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8 Grand-Am GT car hits the bricks for another IMS milestone, the first sports car race on the world’s most famous track.
Mazda, which has racked up wins at other legendary tracks including at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring, and Spa, hopes to add Indy to its win list. Mazda was the 2010 Grand-Am GT Manufacturers Champion, and after eight of 13 races in this year’s Grand-Am GT Championship is ranked third among eight manufacturers, while Mazda drivers Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito are fourth in driver points, having scored one win earlier this season. Mazda racer Wayne Nonnamaker is ranked second among the Pro-Am drivers competing for the Bob Akin Cup.
Mazda has yet another first up its sleeve for the 2013 season. That’s when the Mazda SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine will debut in the new Grand-Am GX class. This will be the first modern diesel to race at Indy, and the first diesel of any type to race there in over 50 years.