Confused looks appeared on American and Western Europe faces as this Japanese car crossed the finish line in first place overall at the 1991 24 hours of Le Mans. The Mazda 787B was the first ever and only engine not made by an American or Western Europan company to win 1st place overall at this rigorous event. This also marks the first and only win by a Wankel rotary engine.
Date: June 22-23, 1991
Distance: 4923.2 km (3059.1 miles)
Avg Speed: 205.3 kph
Engine size: 2622cc (4708cc FIA specs)
Engine type: R 26B, 4 rotor, 3 sequential spark plugs per rotor, Naturally aspirated
Horsepower: 700 bhp @ 9000 rpm
Torque: 448 lb/ft @ 6500 rpm
Transmission: Porsche designed 5 speed manual
Weight: 830 kg (1831 lb)
Body Type: Carbon Fibre
Brakes: Ventilated Carbon Fibre
Wheelbase: 2.66 m x 1.53/1.50 m; Overall: 4.78 by 1.99 m
Tires: Dunlop 300-640x18 front; 355-710x18 rear
Other fun facts: Mazda in this race has held the best percentage of cars that have finished: 67% (out of 31 cars). Of course, Honda has entered 3 cars and all three finished, but that doesn't really count. And of course, this reliability percentage is because other big name companies like Porsche, Bentley, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, etc. have entered many cars, so the percentage of their cars that finished the race is rounded out. Kinda like how some pitchers have the highest batting averages on a baseball team.
The 1974 Sigma MC74 with Mazda 12A engine was the first Japanese team ever to finish the 24 hours of Le Mans.
In 1991, The Mazda 787B also placed 6th and 8th.