Iconic Le Mans-conquering Mazda 787B heading to 2023 event

Alexi Falson

Mazda has confirmed that one of its most iconic creations, the 787B, will be making its return to the Circuit de la Sarthe three decades after its first-place Le Mans finish.

The news comes as the Centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans approaches, which will feature a jaw-dropping display of around 70 previous winners, including Mazda’s 787B that became the first-ever Le Mans winning creation from Japan.

Powered by a naturally-aspirated four-rotor powerplant producing around 522kW, codenamed the R26B, the 787B took out line honours at the 1991 Le Mans event with Johnny Herbert behind the wheel.

Herbert was joined by Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot on the podium, with Mazda’s reliability proving a key factor in the win as none other than Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes-Benz C11 spun and pitted with a transmission issue.

Mazda’s Le Man win in 1991 came just a year before organisers banned the rotary engine, which has since become immortalised in the automotive world’s acoustic hall of fame.

Interestingly, Mazda has added a note that in the case of poor weather, the 787B’s demonstration laps may be cancelled, which is understandable considering its priceless nature.

Here’s hoping for great weather conditions when the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans kicks off on June 10.

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