The characterization of a turbulent diesel spray combustion process has been carried out in a divided chamber diesel system with optical accesses. Laser Doppler Anemometry, spectral extinction and flame intensity measurements have been performed from U.V., to visible from the start of injection to the end of combustion, at fixed air/fuel ratio and different engine speeds. Spatial distribution of fuel and vapor as well as the ignition location and soot distribution have been derived in order to study the mechanism of the air-fuel interaction and the combustion process. The analysis of results has shown that the high swirling motion transports the fuel towards the left part of the chamber and breaks up the jet into small droplets of different sizes and accelerates the fuel vaporization. Then, chemical and physical overlapped phases were observed during the ignition delay, contributing both to autoignition. Further, the combustion starts downstream from the spray with subsequent soot formation in the atomized fuel region.