It doesn’t matter how many times you hear the Mazda 787B, the sound of its Wankel rotary engine never gets old.
Video: Mazda 787B leads parade of rotary Mazda racers
Mazda’s sole victor at the Circuit de la Sarthe, the 787B was driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot, the screaming R26B rotary motor running faultlessly, with Mazda taking the lead of the race in only the 21st hour.
Mazda’s rotary victory didn’t come without years of trial and error, however, as 787s and 767s were pushed to breaking point in the three years prior, failing to finish higher than seventh. And before that, cars like the 757, 737C, 727C and 717C prototypes headed to France dreaming of Mazda’s first Le Mans win, and there were even rotary-powered RX-7s on the grid all the way back in 1980.
It took years to get the ultimate prize, then, and so it would be unfair to look in awe and wonder at just the 787B. That’s why we’re getting goosebumps looking back at this clip from 2015 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. Not only were we able to see that 787B, but also the IMSA-spec RX-792P, 787 chassis no. 002 that ran at Le Mans in 1990 and ’91, a 787 and an RX-7 GTO. Rotary heaven? You could say that.