Japan’s First Le Mans Winner – The Mazda 787B

During the late eighties and early nineties, Japanese manufacturers had great success in motorsport. They had won in Formula 1, rallying and other forms of racing, but one event had eluded them.

This was of course the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but in 1991 Mazda’s 787B crossed the line in first place, making it the first Japanese car and only rotary powered car to win the event.

Mazda’s 787B wasn’t expected to win the race, however, the bright orange and green car showed superior reliability and fuel efficiency when compared to its competition. Its only problems during the race were a blown headlamp bulb and a precautionary wheel bearing change. In fact, the rotary engine inside the car was in such good condition Mazda claimed that it could do another 24-hour race without any maintenance.

The Mazda 787B is an icon of the motoring world. It was David battling Goliath and will forever be remembered for its incredible win at Le Mans and its monstrous sound that can’t be mistaken for another car. We have created a video on the story and history of the Mazda 787B, which you can watch below (remember to like and Subscribe!). Additionally, you can find a written article on the history of the car here


  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

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