The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the ultimate proving ground for both a car and its makers, and any company to have achieved victory in the grueling endurance race has every reason to celebrate such a feat.
Mazda is one such company that has had its share of success at this race. And this year, it is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its first Le Mans win. The win was more special than most, though, because with it Mazda became the first Japanese carmaker to ever win Le Mans.
The victory also cemented the winning race car, the legendary 787B, as the first (and to this date, the only) rotary engine-powered vehicle to have ever tasted gold at the famed race. The 787B’s win was the culmination of Mazda’s seemingly never-ending challenges at Le Mans, having faced setback after setback several years prior.
Mazda’s race car was quite the engineering feat, as its R26B rotary engine produced a whopping 690hp and 608Nm of torque. What also made it quite impressive was that a couple of decades before the Le Mans win, Mazda just released the world’s first mass-production rotary-engined vehicle in the 1967 Cosmo Sport.
These days, the Mazda 787B Chassis No. 002 can be found resting peacefully at the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima, having cemented its place as one of the most iconic vehicles Mazda has ever built.
If you want to learn more about Mazda’s first Le Mans win, you can watch the short movie below:
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