Yesterday we confirmed that the Mazda Furai met its demise at the hands of the blokes over at Top Gear. While it’s sad to see such a special car go up in flames, these cars are meant to be driven in anger, and at least it went out in a blaze of glory. To cheer you up, we have video of arguably Mazda’s greatest achievement, and it screams louder than the banshee’s wail.
The Mazda 787B is a feat of engineering, winning one of the toughest races in the world with an exceedingly high-revving engine that delivered surprising reliability. Listen to it shriek:
Developed for the 1990 FIA Group C and IMSA racing regulations, it featured a rotary engine with an unprecedented four rotors. The R26B rotary engine was based on a previous engine, but featured continuously variable intakes, and added a spark plug per each cylinder. The result was an engine capable of 900 horsepower, routed through a Porsche 5-speed gearbox.
Power was actually limited to 700 horsepower, which improved reliability but limited its chances for success in shorter races. It could not keep pace with competing cars like the Porsche 962, but that reliability allowed it to go on to win the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was the only Japanese car to win the race, and the only rotary engined car to win. That history-making race was the only win in the car’s 21-race career.