Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Third legend: Mazda 787B - 1991 Le Mans wining car!

The Mazda 787 and its derivative 787B were Group C sports prototype racing cars built by Mazda for use in the World Sportscar Championship, All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1990 to 1991. Designed to combine a mixture of the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA) Group C regulations with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) GTP regulations, the 787s were the last Wankel rotary-powered racing cars to compete in the World and Japanese championships, using Mazda's R26B engine.

In 1991 when a 787B driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler, and Bertrand Gachot went on to victory in the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans. R26B engine had significantly lower fuel consumption than the competing reciprocating piston engines. All competitors had the same amount of fuel available due to the Le Mans 24 hour limited fuel quantity rule.
The winning car ran without a hitch apart from a blown headlamp bulb and a precautionary rear wheel bearing change on the driver's side of the car, when a regular check during a pit-stop showed it to be overheating slightly.

This remains the only victory by a Japanese marque as well as the only victory by a car not using a reciprocating enginedesign.
After that win the Rotary Engine was banned from ever competing again at Le Mans. 

Despite the success of the 787B and its Wankel powerplant, Mazda did not exploit its historic victory through marketing campaigns and advertising.

Technical specifications
Chassis  Kevlar and carbon compositemonocoque
Suspension (front) Double wishbone pullrod operated inboard Bilstein spring dampers.
Suspension (rear) Double wishbone top rocker-operated inboard spring dampers.
Axle track 1530/1450 mm (787)
                   1534/1504 mm (787B)
Wheelbase 2640 mm (787)
                   2662 mm (787B)
Engine Mazda R26B 2616 cc 4-rotornaturally aspirated. Mid-engined,longitudinally mounted.
Transmission Mazda/Porsche 5-speed manual
Weight 830 kg (1831 lb)
Fuel Idemitsu
Tyres Dunlop 300-640x18/355-710x18 (275-620x17/330-700x17)

Source: Wikipedia

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