20 years on, Mazda’s winning 787B returns to Le Mans
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This year marks the 20th anniversary of Mazda’s victory in the world’s most famous endurance race, the 24-Hours of Le Mans. In 1991, Mazda became the first, and till now, only Japanese car manufacturer to win Le Mans, completing 362 laps at an average speed of about 205 km/h.

Driven by England’s Johnny Herbert, Belgian Bertrand Gachot and German Volker Weidler, the 787B is also the only rotary powered car to have won Le Mans.

20 years on, Mazda’s winning 787B returns to Le Mans

To commemorate this, Mazda has been invited to demo the 787B on the Circuit de la Sarthe on June 11, hours before the 2011 Peugeot vs Audi showdown begins. In addition, the 787B will also take part in the Driver’s Parade through the Le Mans city centre on Friday, June 10.

The orange and green 787B featured a chassis designed to meet Group C technical regulations and was powered by a four-rotor rotary engine that produced 700 PS.

20 years on, Mazda’s winning 787B returns to Le Mans

Since the win, the 787B has been on display at the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima, Japan. In preparation for the demo, Mazda has carefully restored it back 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, along with engineers from Mazda’s subsidiary engineering company Mazda E&T.

The restored car has been tested by in-house development drivers, and its performance has been confirmed at Mazda’s Mine Proving Ground in Japan.

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