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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Dec 05 2011, 1:29 PM

The last time Mazda offered a coupe model based on the underpinnings of its mid-size sedan, it was called the MX-6. It was quite popular in its day, and two-generation of models had been produced before Mazda pulled the plug on the sports sporty car back in 1997.

Now a unnamed senior company source has revealed that the new Mazda6 will spawn a coupe model, which will be based on the stunning Takeri concept car, which was a hit at the recent Tokyo Motor Show.

While the new sedan model of the Mazda6 is expected to hit the market in early 2013, the coupe version might arrive a year later. The coupe will follow the principals of other new Mazda SkyActiv vehicles, while adding new technologies like i-Eloop, which is Mazda’s version of a regenerative braking system which can help improve economy by 10%.

While European markets will likely get a 2.0-liter petrol and 2.2-liter diesel engines, the North American model could also be offered with a V6 engine. Only time will tell.

[Source: WhatCar?]

 |  Nov 29 2011, 7:14 PM

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Kicking off the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda unveiled a stunning new concept car that will eventually head to production as the next generation Mazda6 family sedan. A shot at the bold styling direction of brands like Hyundai and Kia, Mazda’s new Kodo design language is certain to bring much needed attention to Mazda dealerships with the sort of styling one might normally associate with a premium European brand.

Mazda first debuted the new design language in the Shinari concept with the first production model to be inspired by it being the CX-5.

This new family sedan rides on an all-new SkyActiv platform that sheds plenty of weight from the current model, while power comes from a new SkyActiv-D diesel engine. Mazda has yet to announce specifics on the new diesel engine, but it is capable of 165-hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. Mazda has said it will sell a diesel model in the US but has not confirmed if it will be the next Mazda6.

Adding to the substance and style is some added innovation on the Takeri concept with a new i-ELOOP regenerative braking system that uses a capacitor instead of a battery to store electricity, allowing quick charging and use of energy. Mazda claims this new system, when combined with its i-stop start-stop system can deliver a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy.

The all-new Mazda6 could arrive as early as the 2013 model year.

GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept

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See video of the Takeri concept below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 08 2011, 10:15 AM

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Reports are coming in that Mazda is planning to overhaul four of its existing models by 2014. The four models up for redesigns are the Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5 and CX-9. We’ve already seen the new patent drawings for the upcoming MX-5 refresh, which will hopefully come in 2013 along with a new Mazda3 and CX-9.

The big news, however, is an all-new Mazda6 that is expected to be introduced before the end of next year. There’s a strong possibility that the new Mazda6 will resemble the Takeri Concept. All of the upcoming new Mazdas will sport Skyactiv technologies and ride on lightweight platforms that are being developed in-house at Mazda.

Mazda also stated that they have plans to add stop-start, regenerative braking and hybrid technologies to their models by 2016.

GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept

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[Source: AutoNews]

 |  Oct 15 2011, 4:27 PM

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Banned from selling cars after they were caught charging a $25,000 mark up for a used Mazda6, Ken Trung and Mohammed Shaikh could be back working on a car lot as early as next year. The two men weren’t just fired for selling the family sedan for $66,000 at a Orangeville dealer outside Toronto, Canada, Mazda Canada actually revoked the dealer’s license.

Carl Compton, executive director of the industry council, expressed that the regulator would prefer the two salesmen be permanently removed from showroom floors and away from vulnerable consumers. However, the two salesmen and their careers will be given a second chance. Ontario government tribunal chairman Harinder Gahir ruled the two salesmen are not chronic offenders and ordered a one year suspension plus a mandatory college certification course to reflect and familiarize themselves with legal and ethical obligations.

As Trung and Shaikh were fired last year, and face an extra year ban from conducting sales, Carl Compton added a comment, “It will be interesting to see how these guys account for the past two years on their resumes if they try to get back in at the end of their suspensions.”

President of the Automobile Protection Association, George Iny, also agrees with the ruling, noting, “It sends a good message. And if they come back, there should be further terms and conditions.”

[Source: The Star]

 |  Aug 29 2011, 10:30 AM

Have you ever wondered how many kids you could fit in your car before you would get arrested? Of course you haven’t. Then again, neither did a South African man who, in retrospect, probably should have.

The unnamed man (lucky for him) was arrested near Cape Town, driving with 17 children in a Mazda hatchback sedan – we’re assuming it’s a 6 hatch. Aged two to five, three of them were riding up front with the 20-year old driver, while the remaining 14 were piled into the back – making the most of the hatchback’s extensive cargo room with the rear seats folded flat. Not surprisingly, the car’s 14 child cargo capacity was absent from the dealer pamphlets

The “gentleman” in question was arrested, and not just for overloading his vehicle. As it turns out, he was also driving with a suspended license and his car was deemed unfit to be on the road.

[Source: IndependentOnline]

 |  Jun 06 2011, 4:30 PM

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Mazda will shift production of their mid-size Mazda6 from the current AutoAlliance International plant (a joint venture with former owner Ford) to Mazda’s facility in Hofu, Japan.

“Currently, production of the Mazda6 [known as Atenza in Japan] exists in three locations,” said Takashi Yamanouchi, Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation. ”At our Hofu Plant in Japan, AutoAlliance International in Michigan, USA, and at FAW Car Co., Ltd. in Changchun, Jilin province, China. Our intention is to transfer production of our next CD-car for North America from AAI and consolidate it at Hofu in order to improve production and investment efficiencies and optimize our business.”

Mazda is currently collaborating with Ford to study the longevity of the AAI plant, but will continue to build the current model Mazda6 until its life cycle is over.

 |  Jun 03 2011, 7:40 AM

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Mazda will cut ties with Ford and cease production of vehicles in the U.S. around 2013, relying instead on its manufacturing facilities in Japan and Mexico.

The automaker is reportedly looking to end its joint venture with Ford Motor Co., as it looks to make major changes in its production system. Currently both Mazda and Ford own equal shares of the AutoAlliance International joint venture and this shift would see Mazda sell off its shares to Ford, which would then take over full control of the Michigan assembly plant.

Mazda currently builds the Mazda6 mid-size sedan at the facility, but low sales of the model have made it a loss-maker. Mazda will continue to build the 6 at the facility until around 2013 when it will introduce a new version that will be built at the company’s plant in Yamaguchi.

[Source: Reuters]

 |  May 10 2011, 7:52 AM

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Two separate Japanese automakers are planning similar fates for their underperforming vehicles, with both the Subaru Tribeca and Mazda6 set to be discontinued in the near future.

Both models are nearing the end of their production cycles, (or have arguably exceeded them), and neither will live to see a second generation reports the Nikkan Kogyo business paper. The made-in-the-USA vehicles are being scrapped both due to low sales, as well as larger logistical problems.

As concerns the Subaru Tribeca, development of a next-gen model has reportedly been scrapped and the loss of the SUV isn’t something Subaru execs in America are upset over, as it would open up an extra line at the company’s Indiana plant where it is struggling to meet demand for the new Outback and Legacy. So far this year, Tribeca sales have reached just 910 units.

As for the equally long-in-the-tooth Mazda6, it sold just 45,000 units in 2010, less than half of what Mazda was expecting. Too important of a segment to give up on, it’s hard to think Mazda would drop the 6 entirely, and the automaker is reportedly mulling a decision to move production of a next-gen model to a new plant in Mexico.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Mar 25 2011, 3:35 PM

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Mazda is planning to close down their assembly plants again, while stopping orders from dealers in the United States for their made-in-Japan vehicles.

The Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, MX-5, RX-8, CX-7, CX-9 are all affected. Only the Mazda6 and Tribute will remain in production at their American plants, although the situation could change in light of the parts suppliers affected by the earthquake. As of March 1st, the company had a 94-day supply of vehicles, but the automaker declined to comment on specifics.

In 2010, imported cars accounted for 83 percent of Mazda sales, a much higher number than other Japanese automakers, who build a significant proportion of their cars in North American plants. Mazda’s factories in Japan are located in Hiroshima and Hofu, at the opposite end of the country from where an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident are taking place.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Mar 10 2011, 9:59 AM

Apparently spiders don’t just prefer Mazdas. Honda has warned its dealers to keep an eye out for the same spiders that nested in 65,000 recalled Mazda6 sedans, as they may infest the Accord. Hyundai is also reportedly warning dealers of a similar issue with its models.

It’s not a full-blown recall, but if you see a spider inside your Accord, your local friendly Honda mechanic will be happy to get rid of the yellow sac spiders that are nesting inside a vent pipe and weaving “sack-like” webs that could lead to a blockage. The driver will find that the “check engine” light will come on, as well as a freaked-out friend or relative who will scream at ear-splitting levels. Possibly.

The fix is easy, because it consists of fitting a spring into a drain box—similar to Mazda’s solution. Unlike Mazda, however, there is no danger in blocking the gas tank venting hoses that may lead to an engine fire, and Honda has merely issued a service bulletin to its brave, spider-vanquishing mechanics instead of an all-out recall like its Japanese sedan brethren. The yellow sac spider hasn’t caused any engine stalling or fires in the Accord. Maybe yellow sac spiders prefer Honda over Mazda? And why not an Italian car? Or a convertible?

[Source: USA Today]

 |  Mar 08 2011, 9:15 AM

Last week Mazda announced what might be the most bizarre recall to date, issuing a safety bulletin for its Mazda6 sedans after it was determined spider webs in the fuel system could cause a fire.

If you own one of the 65,000 affected models you could simply bring the car in to your nearest Mazda dealer to have the problem rectified, but PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has another suggestion: give the car to them.

Not only will PETA work to find the spiders a new home, but they’ll use the car to aid in animal rescue.

Giving away a perfectly good car with one miniscule recall is a bit extreme, but if you’re in a generous mood, or simply can live with the thought of those creepy crawlies in your car, then PETA’s plan isn’t a bad one. In fact, it might be the most sane thing PETA’s done in quite some time.

 |  Mar 07 2011, 12:04 PM

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Mazda is considering ending their joint venture with Ford based in Flat Rock, Michigan. “We have been studying various measures to improve business of Auto Alliance International, but nothing has been decided,” Mazda spokeswoman Kozue Nitta told Reuters.

The mid-size Mazda6 is currently built at the Michigan facility, and the car is selling poorly despite critical acclaim. Mazda has the ability to produce 120,000 cars per year at the plant, but 2010 sales of the car only totaled 45,000 units. Ford has cut its stake in Mazda from a high of 33.6 percent in 1996 to 3.5 percent in November, 2010.

 |  Mar 04 2011, 8:33 AM

Now this is a first, a vehicle being recalled because of problems resulting from a  certain creature, which likes to make a nest in part of the emissions control system!

Yet it’s absolutely true. Based on findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mazda has issued a recall on approximately 52,000 Mazda6 models. A certain species of spider thinks that the car’s Evaporative Canister vent line is a very nice place to call home. However, when this spider starts weaving webs, these can block the flow of vapor from the canister itself through the line.

Because the canister is constantly being purged during normal engine operation, any blockage can cause the fuel tank pressure to become excessively negative, to the point that the fuel tank itself can crack, potentially causing fuel leakage and fire hazards.

But how do you fix a problem like this? Well, NHTSA and Mazda say that dealers will first inspect and clean out the vent line and then, install a small spring, so these spiders can no longer make a home in it. Customers of the affected vehicles are already being notified of the problem and the recall is expected to begin on or around March 25.

For more information, owners are asked to call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov.

 |  Feb 18 2011, 4:42 PM

Mazda‘s announcement regarding a SKYACTIV diesel engine in future products had car geeks hoping for a diesel Mazda3, but it looks like the oil-burner will actually make an appearance on the mid-size Mazda6, putting it squarely against the updated Volkswagen Passat, which will be available with a TDI diesel engine.

While details on the SKY-D engine have been sparse, the engine will make 182 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, substantially besting the Volkswagen unit’s 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. Although the SKY-D will only be available with a 6-speed automatic, it should be quite the machine on the highway, where the massive torque will allow effortless passing while returning the kind of mileage numbers that only small compacts can hope for.

[Source: Ototrendsinfo.com]

 |  Oct 21 2010, 2:40 PM

Mazda proudly announced that their upcoming Japanese market Mazda2, set to bow in the second half of 2011, will get an astonishing 70 mpg without any hybrid technology, making it the most fuel efficient gasoline car on the road.

Using an all new family of chassis, engines and gearboxes, Mazda’s SKYACTIV system is designed to get the most mileage out of Mazda’s cars without resorting to hybrid technology. The Mazda2 will use a direct-injection gasoline engine with an astonishing 14:1 compression ratio, but diesels will be available on other models, notably the Mazda6.

The already svelte car will also get a stiffer and lighter chassis as part of the upgrades. No word on whether we’ll see this car in North America, but you can check out our review of the U.S. and Canadian spec Mazda2 here.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Oct 20 2010, 11:25 AM

Mazda‘s upcoming SkyActiv-G engines will get a 14:1 compression ratio, the highest in the world for a gasoline engine, according to a report in Autoweek.

Most cars run compression ratios of 8.5:1, with high performance engines using ratios closer to 11:1. The SkyActiv-G motor takes that figure to a new level, and we’d really like to know how Mazda did it. High compression motors tend to allow for greater efficiency when it comes to making power, but too high of a compression ratio can make the engine more prone to going ka-boom.

Together with new transmissions, diesel engines, rigid chassis and weight reduction in all aspects of the car, the next-generation of Mazda’s should be pretty solid cars. Too bad they’re a few years away from hitting the market.

[Source: Autoweek]

 |  Sep 13 2010, 5:05 PM

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Mazda‘s excellent sedan, the Mazda6, is not really on the radar of most North American consumers, even though it’s a worthy competitor in the segment. That’s not to say that the car is a flop, but it’s not as strong a seller as, say the Hyundai Sonata or Ford Fusion, let alone the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.

Evidently, the car is popular in the rest of the world. Mazda has just celebrated building 2,000,000 Mazda6 sedans at its plant in Hofu, Japan. The milestone took roughly8 years to achieve, not a bad timeframe for a car from a smaller manufacturer like Mazda.

“I was the first generation model’s development program manager, and I still have a special fondness for this terrific car,” said Seita Kanai, head of R&D and Program Management for Mazda.  ”I’m grateful to the two million-plus customers around the world who have purchased a Mazda6. I would like to say thank you to each and every customer.”

Kudos to Mazda on building a boat load of fine cars that the common person can buy. We’re anxiously waiting for the upcoming diesel version due in 2012.

[Source: Mazda]

 |  Aug 31 2010, 5:41 PM

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Mazda is betting that their new lineup of SKY direct injection gasoline and diesel engines will help raise the company’s fleet fuel economy by 30% by 2015.

Mazda, which has long refrained from hybrid cars, claims that the next generation 2015 Mazda3 with a SKY-G gasoline engine and a Sky-Drive 6-speed automatic will get 40 mpg on the highway, up from 33 mpg. The Mazda6 will get a SKY-D diesel engine that will get 43 mpg on the highway, a bump from 30 mpg on the current car.

While Mazda said that the first SKY-G powered car will arrive in 2011, they were tight-lipped about what car would receive it. Signs point to the next generation MX-5 as the most likely candidate.

Despite the investment in the SKY powertrains, Mazda said it would introduce a hybrid in the near future, with technology licensed from Toyota. “We have a plan to introduce [the technology] gradually, starting from simple devices,” Seita Kanai, director of r&d for Mazda Motor Corp. told Automotive News. ”The more complex a device is, the more costly it becomes.”

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 10 2010, 11:44 AM

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In a strong case of “caveat emptor“, a Madeline Leonard, who lives outside of Toronto, Canada brought her car to Orangeville Mazda, a local dealership to have her tires replaced. By the time she had left the dealership, she was on the hook for a grand total of $66,000 CDN, which included the cost of a new car, a 2010 Mazda 6, various dealer accessories (like rust proofing and window etching), taxes and an 8 year loan which added $16,000 to the cost of the car.

After complaining to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC), the local regulatory body, an investigation took place and found that the vehicle – which was actually a demonstrator with 3,750 miles on the odometer – should have sold for $41,000. The OMVIC has laid charges against Orangeville Mazda, which could face fines of up to $250,000. In addition, two dealership staff, including the salesman who sold Leonard the car, could face jail sentences or six figure fines. Buyer Beware.

[Source: Toronto Star]

Mazda Tops Podium in New Jersey

Jason Saini races his Mazda6 to victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway

 |  May 04 2009, 2:02 PM

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Jason Saini raced to the top of the podium in his Mazda6 this weekend, during the SCCA’s SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series event at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt Raceway. Saini placed third in qualifying but quickly made it to second place off the standing start, and spent much of the rest of the race fender to fender with defending series champion Peter Cunningham in his RealTime Racing TSX.

Saini passed Cunningham on the third lap but only secured some distance when Cunningham got tied up defending his position from Andrew Aquilante in the Phoenix Performance Inc. Subaru WRX.

When the checkered flag flew, however, Saini had secured an almost three second advantage after Cunningham, giving him not only the race victory but also the lead in the points race.

“I raced with Peter a couple of times last year. We had some side-by-side battles. He came out on top last year. This time, I came out on top. It is a dream come true to race with a guy like Peter,” said Saini. “I looked at where his strengths and weaknesses were and tried to push him. I tried to stick the nose in every once and a while to see. I just had a bit of a stronger car at that point and I was able to get down on the inside. I tried one time. I didn’t make it stick. I tried again and it did.”

As for the third-place Aquilante, he managed the last podium spot in just his third World Challenge race. Initially much of the credit can be handed to Subaru’s all-wheel drive system, which allowed Aquilante to race from a standing-start grid position of 8th to 3rd overall in just one lap.

“The start was good,” Aquilante said. “It was kind of wild the first couple of laps, with Jason and P.D. going back and forth. Jason got around him and things settled in single file. Then, about halfway through the race, I started to try to pick it up and the tires started to go away.”

“I finally caught up to them. I had a few runs at Peter down the front straightaway. We went side-by-side. He knew what I was going to do, so he protected the inside well. There were a couple of times he let me on the inside, but I couldn’t quite make it stick. I tried not to run him off the road. It was a good race.”

Finishing out the top five were Cunningham’s teammates Kuno Wittmer in 4th and Pierre Kleinubing in 5th.

As for the points race, as mentioned, with the win Saini takes the lead, with Kleinubing in 2nd and Seth Thomas in 3rd with his BMW 328i.

The race will be broadcast on SPEED Chanel Friday, May 22 at 2 p.m.. The next race is scheduled for Mosport International Raceway on May 16th and 17th

[Photo Credit: Mark Weber/SCCA]

Complete race results after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 20 2009, 2:48 PM

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Seth Thomas, piloting the No. 38 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW 328i, jumped into the lead off the standing start during the first race of the 2009 World Challenge Touring Car series and never looked back.

With a qualifying run that landed him in 2nd, Thomas used the BMW’s rear-drive advantage to get a quick lead on pole-sitter Pierre Kleinubing in the front-drive RealTime Acura TSX and after just three laps had put just over a second between the two cars.

“I didn’t expect that kind of advantage going into Turn One,” Thomas said. “The BMWs have rear-wheel drive and they launch really well off the start. Pierre [Kleinubing] has a lot of experience starting up there and I expected him to be tough and get a little better launch. The way it worked out, I went into the brake zone for Turn One and looked in the mirror and saw the gap. I just thought ‘just maintain that and see what we can do.’”

Kleinubing and RealTime teammate Kuno Wittmer attempted to chase Thomas down, but after Whitmer retired due to mechanical problems, the race belonged to the Bimmerworld team, taking the podium 2.563 seconds ahead of the RealTime Acura.

“I’ve been coming here for many years,” Thomas said. “I always had good success at Sebring in the BMW Club stuff I did. Then we came to World Challenge and things went a little haywire. After last year, it’s definitely redemption here. Last year, we should have started on the pole but a technical infraction got us in trouble and we had to start from the back. I felt like this year was going to be the year.

“I keep telling everybody, there’s no words that can describe winning. It’s the best feeling. We’ve worked so hard to get here and it’s finally happened.”

Kleinubing admitted he pretty much lost the race right at the beginning thanks to an overly eager right foot.

“Halfway through first gear I spun the tires pretty badly on the big painted stripe and lost a little bit there from first to second. [Thomas] pulled a huge gap at that point. Every time I’d get a little closer, he seemed to answer and pull it back out. I just did what I could and finished second.”

Kleinubing states that he was eager to get to the next race where he will pilot a brand new TSX. At Sebring, only RealTime owner/racer and defending series champ Peter Cunningham had one of the new TSXs on the track and finished in 9th place after loosing body work in an incedent.

The final podium spot belonged to Jason Saini in the No. 74 MAZDASPEED/Stoptech/Racinghart Mazda6, who was fastest in round one of qualifying and who posted the 5th fastest qualifying time. Saini moved in to 4th after teammate Charles Espenlaub pulled into the pits with a throttle issue on one of the warm-up laps. He gave up that position to another Mazda6 driven by Chip Herr, and then gained it back when Herr’s engine let go.
“To get on the podium after all it took to get here is just great,” said Saini. “I give all the credit to Mazda and Tri-Point for making this all happen as well as some personal sponsors to make this race possible. Hopefully, we can take these results and move them forward to the rest of the season.”

Round Two of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship is scheduled for May 1 – 3, at Thunderbolt Raceway in Millville, N.J.

Complete race results after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 18 2009, 11:09 AM

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Mazda finished the day at Sebring yesterday with the fastest car during the first practice session ahead of the 2009 World Challenge Touring Car season.

Jason Saini, piloting the Tri-Point No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart Mazda, posted the best lap time at the end of the day with a 2:25.294 on the 17-turn, 3.7-mile circuit.

“Conditions were a bit variable,” Saini said. “It was damp this morning, but it got better throughout the session. It was hard to learn what the car was really doing in the changing conditions. I was lucky to have a late lap when the conditions were getting better every lap.”

“The team has done such a great job pulling things together in short order. So many people pulled together to make this happen at the last minute. All credit to the team for staying up late all last week and getting these cars together.”

The Tri-Point team of Mazda6′s also claimed 4th and 6th for the day with Charles Espenlaub piloting the No. 73 car and rookie Eric Foss in the No. 75 car taking the respective positions.

Much of the rest of the top 10 was filled with the RealTime Racing Acura TSXs with Kuno Wittmer taking 2nd, Pierre Kleinubing taking 3rd and Toby Grahovec taking 7th. Defending World Challenge Touring Car Champion Peter Cunningham, the only driver piloting a new TSX vehicle, placed 5th.

Finishing out the top ten were Andrew Aquilante and his Subaru WRX in 8th, Nick Esayian in his BMW 328i in 9th and James Clay in his BMW 328i in 10th.

The World Challenge Touring Car Series kicks-off with the opening race this Friday, March 20th .

Full Practice Session results after the jump:
Continue Reading…