Mazda is poised to make a switch of powerplants this year, with IMSA having approved the use of a gasoline engine for its SKYACTIV prototype.
A technical bulletin released Friday from the sanctioning body confirms that the Lola-based prototype is now eligible to run with an AER-powered 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine.
It’s understood to be the same Mazda-badged engine previously used by Dyson Racing in American Le Mans Series competition.
SpeedSource has campaigned the 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D clean diesel powerplant since the Prototype program’s debut in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship last year, although having recently scaled back to a single-car entry at Detroit to focus on further developments.
Sportscar365 first heard of the possible engine shakeup from industry sources in May, although Mazda has yet to officially comment on the likely switch.
Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan, however, previously told Sportscar365 that different engine options were under evaluation.
“We’re having major strategy discussions about right now,” Doonan told Sportscar365 in April. “Diesels are going to be relevant for a couple more years but what can we do? Can we develop a bespoke motor?
“You [can] start with a road car engine, which is our story. That’s a difficult path, as we’ve proven here, but it also helps us find the limits of those components.
“Years ago, we developed a bespoke engine with AER and ran it from ’07 until 2012. There’s that existing motor. Do we work with a new partner? We’re in the midst of looking at all kinds of options.”
It’s unclear if both cars could debut the gasoline powerplant by as early as next weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, although at least one is likely.
Two cars are once again entered for the third round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurnace Cup, with both are currently listed in utilizing diesel fuel.
With diesel powerplants not allowed in the 2017 LMP2 regulations, the move is believed to serve as a jump-start towards its commitment to the future prototype rules.