30 cars and 90 years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 5/30 : The  Mazda 787 B (1991)

30 cars and 90 years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 5/30 : The Mazda 787 B (1991)

The Mazda 787 B (1991) : 30 cars and 90 years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 5/30

On the 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has selected thirty historic cars grouped into three per decade, all up for public vote by race fans. To participate, click HERE and choose one per decade. The vote is open until the 15th of January 2013. Each of the thirty cars will have a short introduction. Today it is the Mazda 787 B that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1991.

The victory of the Mazda 787 B was a double first : it was both the first  and only success for a prototype equipped with a rotary engine and for a Japanese manufacturer in La Sarthe. The event was so significant in Japan that when Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot took the lead in the 1991 24 Hours on Sunday morning, the Japanese media interrupted their normal programming to broadcast the last hours of race live. To complete this feat, Mazda brought both cars to the finish. The second 787 B finished sixth and the 787 of Yojiro Terada, Pierre Dieudonné and Takashi Yorino finished eighth. In 2011, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this victory, the driver-actor Patrick Dempsey took the wheel of the 787 B on the 24 Hours circuit, taking great care of this Japanese "national treasure" (in his own words)!

Year : 59th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (22nd & 23rd June 1991)
Number of cars entered : deux
Technical Information :
4.7 litre atmospheric quad rotor.
Drivers :
David Kennedy-Mauricio Sandro Sala-Stefan Johansson (n°18)
Bertrand Gachot-Johnny Herbert-Volker Weidler (n°55)
Results :
1st (Bertrand Gachot-Johnny Herbert-Volker Weidler)
6th (David Kennedy-Mauricio Sandro Sala-Stefan Johansson)