How Mazda Made the Groundbreaking 787B Happen

By Colin Wood
Nov 20, 2020 | Mazda, 787

Many of you might already know about the Mazda 787B—the car that won the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans, making it the first Japanese car to do so—and its four-rotor powerplant, which would later be outlawed by the FIA. But how many people actually know how the Japanese carmaker managed to earn that win?

As it turns out, it took a lot of development, a gentle pushing of the rules and, of course, a little bit of luck. Watch the whole story about how Mazda made the 787B possible over on Classic Motorsports.

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View comments on the GRM forums
ProDarwin MegaDork
11/18/20 1:52 p.m.

I keep reading this as B787 which is an entirely different beast.

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/20 2:01 p.m.

Tagged for future reading

j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/18/20 6:15 p.m.

A couple summers ago I read Never Stop Challenging by Pierre Dieudonne about the effort. 

Among many factors, the other 787B finished 6th due to the one of the drivers insisting upon shortening the final drive because he was sure it would rain.  His teammates still hate him for it years later.


chandler UltimaDork
11/18/20 6:40 p.m.

I only have to pull up the YouTube videos of it racing and I'm smiling in a moment. It's sound is beyond anything else. 

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/20/20 9:48 a.m.

the ONLY Japanese manufacturer to outright win Le Mans by petrol alone, it took Toyota to do it with hybrid motors for outright win Le Mans only last year, 18 year gap... 

j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/20/20 6:03 p.m.

In reply to fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) :

Toyota's first win was in 2018.

The contrast is interesting though, Toyota is this behemoth that won by default in 2018 against smaller operations, whereas Mazda was the small operation that got lucky breaks against the big guns of Mercedes and Jaguar.

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