Mazda Motor Corp. plans to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013 for the first time in 21 years, sources said.
The automaker will supply racing versions of its fuel-efficient Skyactiv-D clean diesel engines to teams competing in the international car endurance race, the sources said.
Mazda, the only Japanese manufacturer to have won at Le Mans, will provide engines for cars in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype Two) class, which is made up of private teams with no ties to manufacturers. The LMP1 class is reserved for major auto manufacturers.
Mazda is negotiating with several teams following the decision to allow the use of diesel engines in the class from 2013.
Mazda won the 1991 race, but dropped out after 1992 because of a downturn in business. Despite the current depressed conditions, a source in the company said, it now sees the race as an excellent way to promote and test Skyactiv-D technology.
The sources said Mazda hoped to reduce costs by only providing parts, rather than having a fully fledged company team.
(This article was written by Takaaki Tamura and Tetsushi Yamamura.)
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