All-New Mazda 6 Diesel Makes Racing Debut With Chris Hoy Driving
The ‘Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge’ which supported the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend starred Sir Chris Hoy MBE, the British Cycling ace. He was among 21 celebrities taking part in three supporting races to the Australian Grand Prix around Melbourne’s spectacular race track.
Both 36-year old Scot and the the all-new Mazda 6 were making their motorsport debuts at the circuit, and raced five-lap events on three successive days. Mazda’s clean diesel technology, and evenly-matched fleet of 137mph Mazda6 saloons featured standard 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D engines producing 175ps and 420Nm of torque debuted for the competition.
Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director, Mazda UK commented “The Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge in Australia was great fun and provided the perfect showcase for Mazda’s clean diesel technology, The event captured the ‘defy convention’ spirit at the heart of Mazda and put a fresh spotlight on our brand in a country where Mazda is already very popular and the Mazda3 topped the new car sales chart last year.”
The Mazda6 Saloon race cars were fitted as standard with additional safety equipment to comply with FIA regulations including a full roll-cage, six point safety harnesses, Sparco racing seats and external battery kill switches and race compound brake pads. The Mazda 6 retained its six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission with steering paddle-shift selectors and ran on regular, grooved road tyres.
Chris Hoy qualified third during Thursday’s practice session and finished fifth on Saturday (from 20th place started) and thundered to a great second place finish in Sundays final, he was the only British competitor in the event.
“I am delighted with today’s performance; it was the most fun I have had in the car ever,” enthused Hoy. “After Saturday’s charge through the field, passing 15 cars, I even had hopes of maybe winning the final, but Brad Hodge has been so consistent and he was ultimately out of reach and I had to settle for the runner-up spot.”
The Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge was won by former Australian test cricketer Brad Hodge who took overall honors by winning every race with celebrity chef Shane Delia and star actor Jonathan LaPaglia (Law & Order and NCIS) rounding out the podium.
The Women drivers also did well with Australian hero Olympic cyclist Anna Meares finishing fourth overall – the leading female in each race – and Holly Candy (nee Valance, formerly of Neighbours) singer of the chart-topping single Kiss Kiss, playing a starring role.