Mazda – An ALMS / Le Mans Prototype?
Autosport gives considerable space this week to the likelihood
of Mazda entering the ALMS, and perhaps Le Mans, probably in 2006
- a story that really began here as long ago as June 2003.
Yojiro Terada told us
as 13 months ago, on June 9 2003, that he expected to be racing
at Le Mans in 2004, in a prototype: “It should be with a Mazda
engine, in a car designed specifically for the rotary.”
didn’t come to fruition, Terada racing again with his friends
at WR at Le Mans this year, powered by Peugeot, but last month we
broke the “official rumour” that Mazda wanted to be
involved in the ALMS.
is ‘officially’ letting it be known that the company
in the USA, with Richard Davis, VP of Product Planning and Motorsports
(that should have read Robert Davies, senior vice president
of marketing and product development of Mazda North America),
in charge, is actively interested in entering a car – prototype
or GT, no decision yet – in the ALMS. The engine will be a
rotary unit,” were the words we used last month.
admits in Autosport today that a decision on which class
to enter has yet to be made, although indications still point to
a prototype – or maybe something else.
rumours at Le Mans suggested that a new class was being considered
for the ALMS: four door sports saloons. Scott Atherton confirms
in the UK weekly that such a category is being considered. Apparently
a first draft of the proposed regulations has been distributed to
potential entrants, with Cadillac as the most likely manufacturer
to be first into the fray.
If this new class goes
ahead, it would take the ALMS a little further still from the basic
framework of the ACO’s own regulations.
Mazda is still
the only Japanese manufacturer to have won Le Mans, and the ALMS
officials make no secret of the fact that they want manufacturers
back in the ALMS, to join GM’s Corvette Racing effort. The
ACO has also made no secret of the fact that it wants the Japanese
back at Le Mans. A Japanese team won overall this year of course.