Mazda just knocked everyone at the LA Auto Show flat on their asses with the company’s gorgeous new RT24-P IMSA race car. You may never want to miss another race, because you don’t want to miss catching a glimpse of this stunning machine.
Mazda’s new car is set to race in the IMSA prototype class under Daytona Prototype International rules, or DPi, the highest level of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Unlike a regular LMP2 car, which uses standard bodywork, a standard Gibson V8 engine and a chassis from one of four sources, Mazda’s RT24-P hopes to exude a lot more “Mazda” by using the company’s own bodywork and powertrain.
I spoke with Jade Gurss from Mazda Motorsports, and he told me that Mazda is the first auto brand to unveil a car meant for the DPi category, and that doing so makes a lot of sense for the company, because racing something similar to what customers can buy helps further the brand. He said:
As Mazda, it does us no good to run standard bodywork with an engine made by someone else. That’s why we’re going to race in the DPi category with the custom look and Mazda racing engine.
I get that: you want people to look at your racecar, and recognize things from road cars like the five-point grille, KODO design language, and the Soul Red Crystal paint (which is just a brighter version of Mazda’s “Soul Red” paint).
The RT24-P gets its name from the Mazda Road to 24 driver development program and the fact that the car will be racing in the prototype class. The company said in its press release that the number “24" also represents the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, which somehow manages to pump out an insane 600 horsepower.
While that engine was built specifically for racing, Gurss says using a small-displacement, very efficient four cylinder helps keep the car true to the Mazda brand.
The skeleton underneath is still a standard LMP2 Riley Mk 30 chassis, but the body work that drapes over it, jointly development by Mazda and Canadian engineering company Multimatic, is just stunning.
Mazda says the car will make its racing debut in January in Daytona at the 2017 Rolex 24. Gosh this thing looks amazing; I can’t imagine how much better it will look tearing it up on the racetrack: