Mazda Wants to Make a Return to Le Mans

Mazda 787B

1991 was a pretty historic year for Mazda. Not only was the then-new Miata singlehandedly reviving the roadster segment, the 787B race car was dominating other cars on the track with its high-revving Wankel rotary engine. The 787B took the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and was Mazda’s only victory at the iconic French circuit.

Nearly 25 years have come and gone since that point. The MX-5 Miata still proves to be a segment leader, but can the Japanese automaker get back to being a leader on the track, too? One engineer hopes so.

Mazda 787B 2

In a recent interview with Top Gear, MX-5 program manager and engineer of the historic 787B, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, said that the a return to the track for Mazda is something that he’s been dreaming of:

“I know that the expectation for us to return to Le Mans is high. I can imagine a day when Mazda returns. I hope — as with many other Mazda fans — that we go back to Le Mans.”

Mazda 787B 3

And he’s not wrong. With Mazda coming off one of its best years, and recently introducing the new MX-5, fans and enthusiasts alike are hoping for the brand to revive its historic past on the track. Even if they are down a 767B at the moment.

Through the years, the MX-5 Miata has been a staple of local track days and grassroots racing. More recently, the Japanese brand ran a pair of diesel powered prototypes in the Tudor United Sportscar racing series. Word is they may swap out the diesel powerplants for gas engines, which could elevate its performance in the P2 category. This could be just the push the team needs to be competitive at Le Mans.

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