Mazda will be returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the famous endurance race which it won back in 1991. Mazda is still the only ever Japanese manufacturer to have ever won Le Mans and its 787B winning car is the only rotary powered machine to have triumphed there. The maverick carmaker persisted with rotary engines and is the only company to still use the tech today. Thus it makes sense that they have decided to return with the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE in the “Le Mans vers le futur” (Le Mans into the future) event.
A new addition to the main event, “Le Mans into the future” is for all sorts of eco-friendly and alternative fuel vehicles. Mazda’s contender will be using a duel-fuel (petrol/hydrogen) Renesis rotary engine where the driver can switch propulsion sources at a touch of a button. Two hydrogen fuel tanks are installed in the trunk and are pressurised to 35 MPa, the current standard for hydrogen fueling stations. Making its debut back in 2004, this RX-8 is available for lease in Japan and Norway.
Just like in 1991, the car will be driven by veteran Yojiro Terada, who has 29 Le Mans races under his belt, 16 with Mazda. He will do battle with cars like the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid and Ferrari 599XX HPDC.