2000 Mazda Kudzu DLY

Text and images copyright Michael J. Fuller
The updated Mazda Kudzu is a substantial change over last season's car.  The nose and tail have been revised to improve airflow, and the car has unabashedly taken on certain aspects of the BMW LMR.  The most striking of these is the rear section, where the bodywork has been lowered as much as possible and the sections over the rear wheels emulate the LMR's.  The most obvious advantage is that now, with the airflow over the nose calmed and the rear bodywork lowered, the rear wing has been lowered as well.  The benefit is that now the wing generates more downforce (from improved flow) for less drag. 
The engine intake has also been revised to lower drag while improving intake flow.  Under Grand-Am rules, the 4-rotor Mazda motor is allowed to run unrestricted. 
The intake cooling architecture is virtually unchanged.  The main intake at the splitter level feeds the water cooler while the flanking intakes feed large oil coolers.  However, the exhaust for the water cooler no longer exits out in the driver's face.  The heated air appears to dump into the side pods, either side of the monocoque.  The brake intakes have become smaller.  The bodywork over the front wheels has been altered for improved airflow.
The wheel well gurney, reminiscent of the BMW LMR's (but hardly exclusive to), helps extract high pressure air out of the wheel well.

The DLY ran very strong through the quarter way point of the Daytona 24 (as high as 3rd overall).  Around midnight, with Chris Ronson at the wheel, the Kudzu was unceremoniously punted by a back marker at the exit of the back straight chicane.  The result was that the car impacted head on into the banking wall taking it out on the spot.  Chris Ronson came away with a broken foot.  The car is currently being repaired and as a result will miss the Phoenix round of the Grand-Am championship.  The up-side is that now Downing has an opportunity to take weight out of the chassis as it is being rebuilt.  There is more to be seen from this car!

ęCopyright 2000, Michael J. Fuller