There were stunners everywhere you looked at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. But one that stood above the others was Mazda’s RT24-P, the automaker’s gorgeous new race car. And, wow, is it a doozy.
Designed using Mazda’s famous KODO design language, the RT24-P is set to race in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, competing in the prototype class under Daytona Prototype International (DPi) rules. That’s at the very highest level, underlining Mazda’s confidence in its finely tuned machine.
“KODO design is at the heart of any vehicle that carries a Mazda badge, and that is very evident in the design of the 2017 Prototype,” said Ken Saward, senior manager of Design at Mazda Design Americas. “We considered the two main parameters of designing a successful race car for this series: aerodynamic performance and the new-for-2017 technical regulations.”
By competing in the DPi class, Mazda was free to create its own design and powertrain, unlike regular cars that race in the LMP2 class, which requires competitors to use standard designs from one of four sources.
The RT24-P uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder powertrain that pushes out about 600 horsepower. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the same engine was used in Mazda’s P2-class racecar.
The point of Mazda creating its own car was so people would recognize characteristics they’d find in a consumer vehicle. So, when we eventually see the RT24-P flying down the track, not only does Mazda hope viewers will watch in awe; the company wants people to fall in love with the brand.
One thing that’s easy to spot is the company’s Soul Red paint, which you can also find applied to the automaker’s other vehicles.
“Working with Multimatic’s aerodynamicist and engineers, we discovered that applying the KODO design philosophy to the surfaces and the silhouette of the car enabled us to create a dynamic, purposeful-looking design and a very aerodynamically efficient one,” Saward said.
Mazda says after rigorous on-track testing, the RT24-P will race in late January. I saw it for my very own eyes at the auto show this week; I can only imagine how gorgeous it’ll look on a race track.