A little Mazda racing trivia for a Thursday.


IRVINE, Calif. (January 21, 2016) – Mazda has earned 23 class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona since the first Mazda raced (and won) there in 1975. The 54th running of the Rolex 24 takes place January 30 - 31, and will feature the race debut of the MZ-2.0T engine in both of the Mazda Prototypes. Here are a few of the Mazda milestones from the famous 24-hour race.

1st: The first Mazda entry in the 24 Hours also produced the first victory at Daytona in 1975. Ray Walle and Tom Reddy won the GTU Touring class in an RX-3. Walle, a Mazda dealer, drove the car to Daytona from New Jersey. After the win, he drove it back.

1st: Kathy Rude was the first woman in professional road racing history to earn a class win as she teamed with Lee Mueller and Allen Moffett in a Mazda RX-7 to win the GTU class in 1982.

1st: The first Mazda to lead the race overall was also the first diesel engine to lead in the more-than 50 years of Rolex 24 history. Tom Long led the 2015 race in the Mazda Prototype with SKYACTIV diesel power.
1st: This year’s running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will mark the race debut of the new Mazda MZ-2.0T engine. The two-liter, inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine has covered more than 4,000 miles of testing prior to the race.

1st: This is the first Prototype race for Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot. The 22-year old American driver will join fellow Americans Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 55 Mazda Prototype. Pigot is the first to win four Mazda driver development scholarships, and will also compete in this year’s historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

2: Sylvain Tremblay, owner of SpeedSource (Mazda’s factory team in the Prototype category), has two victories as a driver/owner, in 2008 and 2010. David Haskell, a co-driver in both wins, is now the Powertrain Director at SpeedSource. Jonathan Bomarito, current driver of the No. 55 Mazda Prototype, was also co-driver in the 2010 victory.

3rd: The best overall finish for a Mazda was in 1983, when Pete Halsmer, Tom Gloy, Bob Reed and Rick Knoop drove an RX-7 to the GTO class win and third-place overall.

4: Most Daytona wins by Mazda drivers Amos Johnson, Peter Uria and Al Bacon. Johnson and Uria grabbed their victories in four consecutive years. Bacon’s four Daytona wins with Mazda represent 50 percent of the eight class victories in his entire career.

6: Mazda race cars won two different classes in the same Rolex 24 six times.

14: Mazda has 14 wins in what was known as the IMSA GTU (Grand Touring - Under 2.5-liter) category.

15: The RX-7 is the most successful Mazda nameplate at the 24 Hours with 15 class victories.

23: Mazda has 23 class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

25: This is the 25th anniversary of Mazda’s 1991 victory at the “other” 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans. Mazda remains the only Asian automaker to win overall at the 24-Hour French classic.

55: One of the Mazda Prototypes will carry the No. 55 this season, in honor of the 1991 Le Mans victory by the epic, rotary-powered Mazda 787-B.

70: The No. 70 Mazda Prototype also has an historic number, as it was carried to Rolex 24 class victories by the SpeedSource RX-8 in 2008 and 2010.