4ldCXFDt 1991 Mazda 787B Le Mans
1991 Mazda 787B Le Mans

Le Mans Mazda shows how it’s done

Riley Riley

Mazda’s Le Mans conquering rotary will take part in a demonstration run to mark the Centenary Anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

The 91st race is due to be held at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France from June 7 to 11 this year.

The Mazda 787B, powered by a four-rotor rotary engine, became the first Japanese car and only rotary-powered vehicle to win the famous race at 59th 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991.

The car will be driven by Yojiro Terada, who boasts a record 29 appearances at Le Mans.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of 24 Hours of Le Mans, the winning race cars from previous years will be displayed at the Le Mans Museum, located close to the Circuit de la Sarthe, from June 1 until to July 2.

The Mazda 787B will also take part in a demonstration run on the short course on the evenings of June 9 and June 10 before the 24 Hours race commences, where it will conduct a full-circuit demonstration run with other iconic Japanese Le Mans winning cars from Toyota Motor Corporation/TOYOTA Gazoo Racing.

The Mazda 787B is also scheduled to demonstrate at the Le Mans Classic from June 30 to July 2.

During the Le Mans Centennial race week, there will also be a themed exhibition “Japan Endless Discovery,” a collaboration by the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organisation), Toyota and Mazda.

In addition to promoting inbound tourism to Japan for spectators of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Japan’s carbon neutrality initiatives will be exhibited, and Mazda will present the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV (European specification) equipped with the latest rotary engine technology that functions as an electric generator.

To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Mazda will continue research based on the company’s human-centred philosophy, create more moving experiences for people to enjoy as they move about in their daily lives, and deliver greater enjoyment to everyday life, uplifting and energising people.

Mazda first entered Le Mans in 1970 and scored a class win in 1984 with the diminutive Lola T660 — but the overall win in 1991 was always the prize most coveted.

That year, Mazda entered three cars in the race, with its two 787B models finishing first and sixth and a year old 787 finishing eighth.

The winning car was driven by Briton Johnny Herbert, Belgian Bertrand Gachot and German Volker Weidler and completed 362 laps of the famed 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe circuit.


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