Mazda’s clas­sic vic­tor takes the ap­plause again

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - Fred­eric Manby

THIS re­mark­able Mazda will be scream­ing around the Le Mans Cir­cuit next Satur­day be­fore the start of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour Race.

Ex­actly 10 years ago, the 787B be­came the first and so far only Ja­panese car to win the long-dis­tance clas­sic.

It is also the only ro­taryengined car to win the race. Mazda had been try­ing for 17 years. Jointly de­vel­oped by Mazda and Maz­daspeed, which man­aged Mazda’s rac­ing pro­gramme, the 787B fea­tured a chas­sis de­signed to meet Group C tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions and was pow­ered by a four-ro­tor ro­tary en­gine that pro­duced 700ps or 690bhp.

Since 1991, the Le Mans win­ning Mazda 787B has been on dis­play at the Mazda Mu­seum in Hiroshima.

In prepa­ra­tion for the demon­stra­tion at Le Mans this year, Mazda has care­fully re­stored the 787B race­car to driv­ing con­di­tion for the first time since its post-race over­haul in 1991. The work was car­ried out by cur­rent Mazda em­ploy­ees who par­tic­i­pated in the com­pany’s orig­i­nal Le Mans Chal­lenge Pro­ject. Also back with the car will be the English driver Johnny Her­bert who put in ex­tra time at the wheel to make sure of the 1991 vic­tory.

Other ro­tary en­gine Maz­das car­ried on racinge, the last out­ing at Le Mans was in 1997.

ROAR­ING FORTE: The Mazda 787B tri­umphed 10 years agao at Le Mans.

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