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Winner's Circle '91:
The rotary-powered Mazda 787B dominates Le Mans 24 Hours Race
Throughout the history of Mazda Motorsports, success on the track was often a showcase for the reliability, durability, and performance of the rotary engine. Naturally, beginning in the late 60's, the goal of winning the world's most esteemed and traditional endurance race at Le Mans 24 became an obvious and inspiring objective for the Mazda Motorsports team.

The technology of rotary engine design competed in Le Mans for the first time in 1970. Twenty-one years later, the Mazda team found itself in the thick of competition for the ultimate reward, powerfully challenging in 1991 with two strengthened 787Bs and a 787. The pursuit of victory became more than a competitive objective for the team that year, as the organizer of the historic event made it an imperative - it was announced that the following year, only machines powered by a 3.5-liter reciprocating engines would qualify to run.

Here was the last chance for the four-rotor 787B's and the 787 to show what they could do.



That day, a triumvirate of Mazda cars competed tenaciously from the very beginning. And at the 12th hour, the 787B, car number 55, officially took over 3rd place and aggressively battled against the titans of Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and countless formidable contenders for the top spot. After 21 hours, while Mercedes-Benz pulled-in for a needed pit stop, the 787B took over first place and never looked back.

At 4 p.m. on June 23, 1991, that historic 787B roared across the finish line at Le Mans, achieving Mazda's long-awaited goal as 250,000 spectators cheered a truly legendary performance. It was a first for a Japanese car manufacturer and a first for the rotary engine. The 787B prototype sports car had gone head-to-head with the world's best for 24 grueling hours, and when the checkered fell, all three Mazda cars had found their glory in the top 10, finishing in 1st, 6th and 8th positions.