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Mazda SKYACTIV-D sustainable-diesel-powered prototype turbo
When the Mazda Motorsports Prototype race team recently tested in preparation for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, it invited some special guests: students from the University of Florida’s mechanical engineering department.
The Mazda racing program is operated by SpeedSource, a race team based in Coral Springs, Fla. The team’s engineering director is Marcus Shen, a 2008 graduate of the UF mechanical engineering program.
The students had an inside look at the Mazda SKYACTIV-D sustainable-diesel-powered prototype turbo race cars. The dozen students met with Shen and the team’s engineering staff, including team owner and driver Sylvain Tremblay and Jeff Braun, the competition director. They also met with Tristan Nunez, the team’s youngest driver at age 19, and Joel Miller, who is both a driver and a mechanical engineer.
“The trip was a home run,” said David Hahn, professor and department chair of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at UF. “It was such a unique experience for the students to learn so much in one afternoon and see the direct implementation of what they’re learning. They got to see the design and engineering tools they already work with in action. The more our students can see real-life examples of what they can strive for, it really motivates them. They clearly saw that what they are working on in the classroom has a direct impact on their career path.”
The Mazda Motorsports/SpeedSource team is in the second year of a multi-year development program at the highest level of competition in the TUDOR UnitedSportsCar Championship, and will compete in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 24-25. Mazda Motorsports has had significant success in the 24-hour endurance race at the famed Florida track, grabbing 23 class Rolex 24 victories since 1975.