Mazda is no stranger to motorsport, with its MX-5 sports car one of the most-raced production cars in the world at grassroots level, and its high-profile victory in the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours.

That victory heralded the first--and only--for rotary power, and Mazda is set to innovate again by supplying Skyactiv-D engines to the GRAND-AM series' GX Class.

Just as with the Skyactiv-G gasoline engine range, Skyactiv-D is designed to improve all the usual characteristics of diesel engines, while reducing their disadvantages.

Compared to Mazda's previous diesel line, not sold in the U.S, the new 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D units are 20 percent more fuel-efficient, have 20 percent lower internal friction, and weigh a tenth less.

Mazda sees all these benefits as being equally relevant in racing.

"[The engine] will deliver outstanding performance and fuel economy coupled with the kind of quality, durability and reliability needed to produce great street cars and win endurance races" explained John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports in North America.

GRAND-AM's new GX class showcases advanced and clean engine technologies, and is set to debut in 2013. Mazda wants to expand from its rotary technology into the new class, and is hopeful to replicate the kind of success its GT-Class RX-8 has had in GRAND-AM.

On track testing will begin later this year, with the engine's racing debut expected an as-yet unchosen vehicle for the 2013 season.

If Audi's success with diesel at Le Mans is anything to go by, Mazda could have a fruitful 2013--and with Skyactiv-D engines expected in the U.S. at some point, it may not be too long before you can drive it yourself.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.