eing given the chance to drive and
help develop the Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D
racecar in Grand-Am GX is something
every young driver like myself dreams of.
Racing the car is the reward, but
working every week to improve every
area of the car is actually one of the most
satisfying parts of the job. As someone
who went to school to become an
engineer, our GX program is an all-consuming project for me that started
the moment we began getting ready for
our debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The new diesel engine produces some
interesting harmonic vibrations; it was
very violent in the beginning, and that
received our full attention to overcome. It
was a high amplitude vibration that really
had to be felt to appreciate its force – our
engine has a lot of power and wanted to
make sure we knew it! Once we reduced
the vibrations, the next item was reducing
the heat generated by the diesel engine.
It was a case of figuring out the unique
Open-wheel convert Joel Miller has relished fine-tuning Mazda’s GX racer into a winner.
Btendencies of a four-cylinder turbo-diesel,
and finding solutions that made the car
faster and more reliable with every new
race we’ve been to.
Once we got a handle on the new
challenges, race wins started to come,
but there were moral victories that came
before we got to that point. The first
victory was getting the cars to the grid at
the Rolex 24 in such a short period of
time. The next victory was finishing our
first race. Then it was our first pole
position. And the first on-track win at
Road Atlanta was the result of thousands
of hours from people in Japan, California
and Florida to make it all come together.
Looking ahead, I can’t wait for our
move to the GTD class next year. Our
cars are very capable of being successful
in a faster class. We’ll need to turn up
the power and continue to improve every
aspect of the car to go head-to-head
with Ferrari, Audi, and all the other
manufacturers who’ve turned their super
cars into GT racers. Mazda has made a
name for itself being the David among
the Goliaths, and we’ll get to go after
them starting next year at Daytona. It
should be a lot of fun!
an all-consuming experience
“race wins started to come, but
there were moral victories that
came before we got to that point”
The No. 00 Visit Florida
Mazda6 finished third
in GX at the Circuit of
the Americas (ABOVE).
It took second next
time out at Barber, and
made the final step to
Victory Lane at Road
Atlanta, with Joel Miller
and Andrew Carbonell
onboard. GX victory in
the Six Hours of The
Glen for Miller, Tristan
Nunez and Yojiro
Terada (LEFT) proved
the Mazda6’s stamina.