November 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm by Davey G. Johnson | Photography by Michael Simari
Kodo! It’s got what racecars crave! Or at least, that’s what Mazda’s hoping, as it unveils the RT24-P Daytona Prototype created with the company’s road car design language in mind. Set to draw first racing blood at the Rolex 24, that full-day race in January at Daytona, the RT24-P, as displayed at the Los Angeles auto show, does what a lot of prototype competition cars fail to do—connect the looks of the racing machine with a manufacturer’s production models.
The face is unmistakably related to that of the latest Miata, but the underpinnings come courtesy of Riley and Multimatic. The Riley Mark 30 chassis carries a 600-ish horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine build by AER and carried over from last year’s IMSA program. And while the aesthetic recalls both Kodo and Mazda’s previous Nagare styling language, the engineers obviously had to sign off on what the designers came up with.
According to John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports North America, the designers were terrified that what they came up with might not work when the engineers and aerodynamic experts got to validating what they’d come up with for the DPi-class racer, but the package worked smoothly and all parties were pleased.
The name’s a convenient evocation of Mazda’s Road to 24 driver-development program, as well as the two-liter, four-cylinder engine. The P, of course, stands for “Prototype,” as it will be racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series’ top-rank DPi class. But as a wag on staff lamented upon seeing it, “It’ll never win.” When asked how he could make such a statement, he replied, “The pretty cars never win.”