Mazda Racing: A bit of history
It’s pretty well known that Mazda offers some pretty cool cars for the road. But, are you aware of the long Mazda racing history?
Mazda Racing: It all began way back in 1968 when two Mazda Cosmo 110 Sport Coupes were entered into the grueling 84-hour Marathon de la Route at the Nurburgring in Germany. The two Cosmo Coupes were running in fourth and fifth places in a field of sixty total race cars. In the 82nd hour, on Cosmo was damaged. The remaining Mazda Cosmo continued on to finish the race in a very respectable 4th place. It was only out-raced by pair of Porsche 911s and a Lancia Fulvia. It was an incredible feat against the established opposition. At this point, the world knew the rotary engine had made its mark.
Ten years later, in 1978, the Mazda RX-7 was born. It was quickly embraced by the motor racing community. Seeing its potential, Scottish racer Tom Walkinshaw entered the RX-7 into the extremely competitive British Touring Car Championship. With driver Win Percy at the wheel, the Tom Walkinshaw Racing Teach was victorious. They won the championship in both 1980 and again in 1981. What was even more impressive was the outright win in the 1981 Spa 24 Hours, driven by Pierre Dieudonne and Walkinshaw himself.
In 1983, Mazda brought the racing team from Tokyo back to its headquarters in Hiroshima. This was done in an effort to help Mazda’s factory racing endeavors. It was also here that MAZDASPEED was created.
The Mazda RX-7 was even more successful in the IMSA racing series. It took the top two spots in the GTU class on its 2nd outing in the Daytona 24 Hours in 1979. In response, the IMSA required the RX7s to carry extra weight. This caused them to miss the championship. However, when IMSA reversed its decision, Mazda won the manufacturers’ title in 1980. This turned out to be the beginning of a long period of dominance. This dominance even extended to the more powerful GTO class. By 1990, the RX-7 had won over 100 races. It had become the successful car in IMSA GT Championship history.
Mazda is the only Japanese automaker to ever take overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. This happened in 1991 and is all thanks to the astounding Group C Mazda 787B. Two other Mazda teams also finished in the top 10 that year. The Group C cars were the fastest ever to race at Le Mans. Unfortunately, there was a change in racing regulations and rotary engines were banned from competing there. Unable to race Mazda’s trademark rotary engine in the world’s most renowned racing venue, MAZDASPEED began to focus on the business of motorsports. It began to develop and create aftermarket parts and accessories.
In 1999, Mazda Motor Corporation took full control of MAZDASPEED. Since then, it has used its expertise to provide racing parts. It has also served as an umbrella for all of Mazda’s motorsports activities. The natural extension of this was to serve the Mazda street enthusiast as well. MAZDASPEED has done just this with the enlargement of its parts catalog and now the introduction of MAZDASPEED-factory-engineered models sold in Mazda showrooms.
Regular everyday drivers now have the ability to experience MAZDASPEED and Mazda racing for themselves. Mazda vehicles like the MAZDA6 and the MAZDA3, it’s unmistakable that Mazda creates their vehicles with the heart of a sports car its core.
If you want to test drive a new Mazda vehicle and feel that same Mazda racing power, give Beach Mazda a call today!