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12Mazda Skyactiv-D racer first diesel to run at Indy in 60 years

While it may not be touting the old "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" axiom we all know and love, Mazda recognizes that racing can only improve its cars. And so it's no surprise that the Japanese automaker is testing and refining its Skyactiv-D diesel engine by sending it out on various race tracks around the country – notably being the first diesel ever to compete at Daytona and the first to notch a Grand Am win at Road Atlanta.

27Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racecar gets first win at Road Atlanta

Mazda has a long motorsports history, and one that is peppered with fascinating cars. The latest chapter in Mazda's racing story has just been written, as Joel Miller and Andrew Carbonell have driven the Visit Florida Racing Mazda6 Skyactiv-D to the car's first ever victory at the Rolex Grand-Am GX race at Road Atlanta. The win marks the first ever for Mazda's diesel-burning, production-car based Skyactiv-D racer, and the first win for a diesel-powered car in a Grand-Am event.

14The 2013 Rolex 24-hour race at Daytona comes down to the last hour [spoilers, w/video]

It took 24 hours to run the race, but it was the last one was stuffed with the high action as four cars were still trying to figure out how to gain victory on the track and in the pits. Along with the obligatory crashes, spins, mechanical issues and retirements had come numerous penalties, a double-digit number of full-course yellows and two hours of fog that turned early Sunday morning into a stretch of parade laps.

8Mega Galleries: All day and into the night at the Rolex 24 at Daytona

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is still running, and we spent yesterday and a healthy portion of the evening absorbing the agitato thunder of the Daytona Prototypes, the mezzo-soprano howl of the GT cars, the RVs, the bonfires, the numerous full-course yellows, the back-course braking into the Bus Stop and, of course, the ferris wheel.

36Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before

There has never been a four-door diesel sedan in the Grand-Am series, until now: The blunt, bewinged grille of the Mazda6 GX has blown right through that wall. It's said that racing improves the breed, but usually the breed has gone on sale when the racing begins. One of the unusual aspects of the Mazda6 GX, on the other hand, is that while the diesel won't go on sale to the public until later this year, it will already have tasted racing blood by the end of the day. That kind of reversal is mor

5Notes from day one of the Rolex 24 at Daytona

We came to Daytona Beach, Florida where you can drive on the beach, gun shops outnumber doughnut shops and you can putt-putt and fish for alligators at the same place. But we're not here for any of that – we've made the trip with Audi in order to experience the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first race in the 2013 Grand-Am season and the only 24-hour race in America.

AddAudi commits two R18 E-Tron Quattros to final Sebring race for LMP1 cars

We were baffled a few weeks back when the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series announced new classes that will make up their combined racing program in 2014. Gone from the list is the Le Mans Prototype class, otherwise known as LMP1. The LMP1 class has long been the top dog of endurance racing, both in Europe and the US, so we couldn't figure out why this newly minted racing series was jettisoning it like yesterday's donuts.

36ALMS, Grand-Am announce combined class structure, LMP1 is out

Other than the announcement back in September that the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series were merging, there have been precious few details as to how the newly combined series would shake out. Today, both entities helped clear things up a bit by announcing some of the new classification changes that will go into effect for the 2014 Rolex 24, changes that are confirmed through the 2015 season.

22Diesel-powered Mazda6 going racing in Grand-Am Series

The diesel version of the 2014 Mazda6 won't be hitting North American showrooms until the middle of next year, but we won't have to wait that long to see the car in action. Mazda will enter its midsize sedan in the new Grand-Am GX class with a Skyactiv-D clean diesel engine under the hood, and the car will make its racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 26. This will be the first time in the race's 60-year history that a diesel-powered car has competed in the 24-hour race.

38ALMS, Grand-Am asking fans to help name new combined series

Now that it is settled that the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex racing series are officially tying the knot, the next big thing needs to be settled: What are they going to call it? Organizers must be preoccupied with either determining race classes or figuring where they are going to put so many awesome GT-class racers and prototypes, because they are asking the fans to come up with a name for the combined entity.

16ALMS, Grand Am finally getting hitched

SPEED reports the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series are merging. Rumors have swirled around the marriage of the two series for years, but fired up in earnest two weeks ago. Though details are still scarce, SPEED says Grand-Am will likely take on sanctioning duties. The news comes courtesy of unnamed sources, including manufacturers and race participants, who indicate the championship may very well combine classes from both ALMS and the Rolex Series. ALMS President

59Watch Honda transform a stock Civic Si into a race car

Chief designer for Sunbeam, Louis Coatalen was once quoted as saying "Racing improves the breed." With Formula One racers that look like nothing on the open road, and NASCAR, whose cars only LOOK like what you can get in a dealership, its hard for the average Joe to see why motorsport is relevant to their daily lives.

6Brumos to offer special edition Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer

The Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer is not only very good at getting around a track, it's very good at getting to the checkered flag in first place. To celebrate the team's 50-plus-year history and winning last year's Rolex Grand-Am championship, Brumos, in conjunction with Porsche, is offering prepping the final five U.S.-spec 2012 911 GT3 Cup cars just like its racers.

5Mazda to run Skyactiv-D diesel engine in 2013 Grand Am GX class

Race teams in the Grand Am GX class can now get their hands on a new diesel powerplant. Mazda has announced the company will supply the new Skyactiv-D for the 2013 season. The race engines will use a stock 2.2-liter block with a two-stage turbo, just like the production version. Redline sits at a relatively lofty 5,200 rpm and the engine uses a very low 14:1 compression ratio. If you're keeping track, that's the lowest diesel compression ratio in the world.

19Mazda to run Skyactiv-D diesel engine in 2013 Grand Am GX class

Race teams in the Grand Am GX class can now get their hands on a new diesel powerplant. Mazda has announced the company will supply the new Skyactiv-D for the 2013 season. The race engines will use a stock 2.2-liter block with a two-stage turbo, just like the production version. Redline sits at a relatively lofty 5,200 rpm and the engine uses a very low 14:1 compression ratio. If you're keeping track, that's the lowest diesel compression ratio in the world.

8Ferrari 458 Grand Am debuting at Daytona

Ferrari is headed to the Daytona 24 Hours with a new Grand Am version of the company's 458 Italia. The 458 Grand Am borrows heavily from the GT3 version of the supercar, though with an eye towards competition here in the States. Like the GT3, the Grand Am car was prepared for battle by the same house that's been responsible for race-bred Ferrari models since the 288 GTO: Michelotto Automobili. Expect to see the cars share plenty of safety and performance hardware when the 458 Grand Am bows at th

4Mini to offer B-Spec Cooper for budding racers

It may have taken them a while to get around to it, but after reviving the Mini marque in 1994, BMW hasn't forgotten the original's rich racing heritage. It's what's taken them into the World Rally Championship, and is now leading to a B-Spec racer available right here in the United States.

7Ferrari rolls out latest 458 Italia Grand Am racer

On any given Sunday, you can expect to find a Ferrari 458 Italia racecar screeching around one or more circuits around the world.

21Report: Super GT moving closer to DTM, may adopt KERS; Grand Am to join as well?

In an attempt to reduce costs and get more brands into the field, it's beginning to look like as many as three different race series in Europe, Asia and the United States may adopt a more-or-less common set of rules. The German Touring Car Championship (shown above) is set to introduced a new rules package for the 2012 season and the Japanese SuperGT series looks to be on-board for its GT500 class. Here in the States,. the NASCAR-owned Grand Am series is also considering jumping in, presumably

10Heluva Good! Big renovations planned for Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen is in for some renovations. The historic road course in upstate New York was once the home of the US Grand Prix, and today hosts races in the Indy Racing League, NASCAR, the Rolex Grand-Am series and the SCCA Speed World Challenge, not to mention several vintage racing series. It's a veritable landmark in American automobile racing, and (nostalgia not being what it used to be) only stands to get better with the new improvements underway.

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