One characteristic that defines a great racing driver is consistency: clipping off the same time lap after lap is a catalyst for development. The same is true for a good racing car. You want a machine that will give you the same performance every time you put it on the track. At best, an unpredictable car is slow. At worst- well, you get the idea.

Given all that, it looks as though the Mazda6 has a bright future ahead of it. Recently, three of the sleek sedans were able to crush over 20 records in a brutal, 24-hour-long top-speed run at the ATP test oval in Papenburg, Germany. The run was a measure of the car’s ability to maintain the highest possible average speed over a given time period, and in a challenge like this, if something can go wrong, it almost certainly will.

Thankfully for the Mazda team, the 6 held strong. Gunning to topple the record for diesel-powered production cars in the 2.0- to 2.5-liter displacement range, each sedan was powered by a 173 horsepower, 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D clean-diesel motor running at a very low 14-to-1 compression ratio. The engine propelled the lead car to trounce the old record of 130.38 mph with a average of 137.37 mph. Not bad for a diesel.

Behind the wheel was a potpourri of professionals, journalists, and enthusiasts, each taking the helm for a 1.5-hour stint on track. A little over half a mph separated the three Mazdas, which is a testament to the consistency of both the drivers and the cars.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mazda6’s record.

Why it matters

Mazda6 Diesel Breaks the 24-Hour Speed Record High Resolution Exterior
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As green technology makes bigger gains in the world of motorsport, we would be remiss to forget the contributions of the diesel powerplant. When it comes to endurance racing, it seems as though diesel is made to fit the bill, with notable examples coming from the Audi R10 TDI and Peugeot 908 HDi. When it comes to driving hard for a long time, those who know go diesel. The fact that they can be clean is just icing on the cake.

Mazda6

2014 Mazda6 High Resolution Exterior
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Press Release

It was a rewarding weekend for Mazda the ATP test oval in Papenburg, Germany, as the company shattered 20 FIA speed records (subject to FIA homologation). Three of the convention-challenging carmaker’s Mazda6 flagships powered by 129kW/175ps SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre clean diesels completed a 24-hour marathon run on the high-speed track on Sunday, with the front car achieving an average speed of 137.37mph and the other two close behind. The current record for diesel-powered production cars (2.0-2.5 litre displacement) is 130.38mph. Each of the three Mazdas also set several other average speed records over a variety of distances (subject to FIA homologation).

Mazda6 Diesel Breaks the 24-Hour Speed Record High Resolution Exterior
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At the wheel of the cars, which covered more than 3293.3 miles during the 24-hour period, were 23 drivers from seven EU countries. They included professionals as well as journalists and car enthusiasts, who could apply to take part as part of a campaign started by Mazda last May. During their 1.5-hour stints behind the wheel, they were not allowed to follow in the slipstream of a preceding car and needed to be exceptionally careful in the steeply banked curves at each end of the oval to avoid losing speed. Nevertheless, only 0.55mph of average speed separated the three Mazda6s after 24 hours – a tribute to the drivers and pit teams, which were made up of employees from various Mazda dealerships, but above all to the design, drivability and dependability of these cars even when pushed to their limits.

As popular as they are unconventional, Mazda’s award-winning SKYACTIV-D clean diesels feature a 14:1 compression ratio, the world’s lowest in a diesel engine. Available in the Mazda CX-5, Mazda6, all-new Mazda3 and coming soon in the all-new Mazda2*, demand for these high-output yet extremely efficient powerplants has been strong around the globe from day one and has not let up since. They have been successful on the track elsewhere, too: In mid-2013, a SKYACTIV-D powered Mazda6 became the first diesel to ever win a race at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the U.S.

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