The late 80’s/early 90’s were a golden age for the 24 hours of Le Mans Group C category, as many of the ‘civilian market manufacturers’ were competing for the yearly Le Mans dominance at the time. At the starting line of the 1991 edition the most notable entrants of the C2 Prototype category were the Mercedes-Benz C11, the Jaguar XJR-12 and the older, but still formidable, Porsche 962C. However, the most memorable car of that year was the rotary powered Mazda 787B in it’s iconic Orange and green paint scheme. Even when passing by in a blur, nobody could misidentify the car thanks to its looks and (more importantly) its sound.
Although the car was setting slower lap times consistently compared to its competitors, the Mazda 787B (the 787B-002 chassis as seen here) proved more reliable and finally brought Japan’s its first Le Mans win with with Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler, and Bertrand Gachot at the wheel. It also remains the first and only victory of a car which did not use a reciprocating engine design.
The combination of the Group C popularity of the era, the car’s history, colorful livery and, most importantly, its engine and sound has embedded this very car into the hearts and minds of car lovers around the world.
This Mazda 787B was on display at the Tamiya Plamodel headquarters in Shizuoka during the Shizuoka Hobby Show in May 2019. This was for the celebration of their 1992 1/24 Mazda 787B kit re-release. Since I didn’t bring my DSLR the pictures aren’t the best quality, but I still think it is a walkaround worth sharing.