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*Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.
First in Class at the 1990 24 Hours of Le MansMazdaspeed (built in 1989)Kaoru Iida, Japan (acquired from the above in 1991)Alan Dike, South Africa (acquired from the above circa 2003)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
24 Hours of Le Mans, June 1989, Terada, Duez, and Weidler, No. 203 (12th Overall, 3rd in GTP)1000 Km Fuji, October 1989, Katayama, Terada, and Dieudonné, No. 201 (11th Overall, 2nd in GTP)24 Hours of Le Mans, June 1990, Katayama, Yorino, and Terada, No. 203 (20th Overall, 1st in GTP)1000 Km Fuji, October 1990, Sandro, Sala, and Katayama, No. 203 (6th Overall, 1st in GTP)500 Km Sugo, September 1991, Akaike and Iida, No. 3 (DNQ)1000 Km Fuji, October 1991, Akaike and Iida, No. 3 (DNF)800 Km Sugo, November 1991, Akaike and Iida, No. 3 (11th Overall)1000 Km Fuji, May 1992, Iida and Tachi, No. 3 (DNF)
Mazda and motor sports go hand in hand. The motorsports arm of the company has roots in Mazda Sports Corner, a small independent racing team based in Tokyo. With the introduction of the 110S Cosmo in 1967, this fledgling organization decided to conquer one of racing’s biggest challenges and entered two cars in the 84-hour Marathon de la Route, held on the notorious Nürburgring Nordschleife. With low expectations going in, the team was surprised to finish fourth overall, an incredible accomplishment for the first rotary-powered production car.
With each subsequent model, Mazda Sports Corner built racing variants that were campaigned in the US, Japan, and Europe, often beating very stiff competition on their way to class victories at races such as the 24 Hours of Spa. In 1983, Mazda brought the racing team in-house, moved its operations to Hiroshima, and named it Mazdaspeed.
While the company had enormous success racing its production models, sights were soon set on the top levels of sports car racing; the ultimate goal was the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s greatest endurance race. Mazda started with a model named the 717C, which was designed and built by Mooncraft, with assistance from the factory; the 717C was powered by the RX-7’s two-rotor rotary engine. Two cars were entered in the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans, in the Group C2 class, and were the only class finishers, placing 12th and 18th overall.
For 1984 and 1985, the Mooncraft-designed cars evolved into the 727C and 737C before finally being replaced by a completely new car built by Mazdaspeed and designed by Nigel Stroud. The new 757 would eschew the earlier desire to run in the junior class at Le Mans and now competed in the IMSA-spec GTP class. Powered by a three-rotor engine, 757s were run for the 1986 and 1987 seasons and, while failing to find much success at Le Mans, brought third-place manufacturer finishes each year in the All-Japan Sports Prototype Championship.
Mazda again pressed Stroud into service to design a new car for the 1988 season. This entirely in-house creation was to be called the 767. The new model, apart from being far more advanced in terms of chassis and aerodynamics, introduced the first four-rotor Wankel rotary engine used by Mazda in competition. Displacing just 2.6 liters, the normally aspirated wonder produced 580 hp in 1988 specification. Despite promising performance, the 767s placed 17th and 19th at Le Mans, mostly due to poor fuel economy. A fourth place in the 1988 constructors’ championship was small solace for the team.
The 767 would be updated into the 767B for the 1989 season, now sporting 630 hp, among additional improvements in aerodynamics and architecture. The Mazda 767B offered here, chassis 003, is one of three cars built by Mazdaspeed for 1989. According to entry logs for the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans, 003 was entered as race car no. 203 and was driven by Yojiro Terada, Marc Duez, and Volker Weidler. The trio would pilot the Mazda to a respectable third in the GTP class and 12th overall. The Fuji 1000 Km would be the next outing for 003, where it was 11th overall and second in GTP.
In 1990, the 787 was introduced, with two racing at Le Mans, along with a single 767B, chassis 003, driven by Yoshimi Katayama, Takashi Yorino, and Yojiro Terada. The new 787s failed to finish, while 767-003 came in 20th overall and first in the IMSA GTP class. The final race for 003 as a factory Mazda entrant was another trip to Fuji for the 1000 Km, where it would place sixth overall and win the GTP class for the second race in a row.
By 1991, Mazda had finally perfected its formula and the new 787B came home first overall at Le Mans, still the only Japanese manufacturer victory at the great event despite years of trying by rivals Nissan and Toyota.
After 767-003’s very successful factory racing career ended in 1991, it was sold to gentleman racer Kaoru Iida, who campaigned the car in four events as a privateer during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. Around 2003, the 767B was sold to South African enthusiast Alan Dike, who demonstrated the car on a few occasions.
In 2013, the Mazda was purchased by the consignor, who believed in giving the car the care and attention that such a historic machine deserves. The Mazda was sent to Speedsport in the UK, which is renowned for its knowledge and experience with Group C racing cars. At this time, the consignor was able to purchase the original bodywork from the car’s 1989 Le Mans effort, which accompanies the Mazda at auction. Chassis 003 was prepared by Speedsport for the 2014 Spa Classic, where it acquitted itself well.
Knowing that specialized knowledge would be imperative for an accurate restoration of 767-003, the consignor sent the car to Rennwerk GmbH in Germany for a comprehensive restoration. Rennwerk’s team disassembled the Mazda and noted that the car showed no traces of any serious accident damage. The comprehensive restoration, which is documented by invoices and photos in the car’s file, was completed to 1990 specification, with the car dyno-tested and found to be putting out at least the originally claimed 630 hp. The first and only outing for the freshly refurbished 767B would be at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it screamed up Lord March’s driveway to the delight of all in attendance.
Now ready for an enthusiastic new owner, this highly important endurance racer embodies all that was so exciting and compelling about prototype racing in the 1980s. Manufacturers used their significant resources to develop technology that was utilized in their road cars and applied it to exotic and bespoke racing machinery. Being a factory-developed model, of which only three were produced, and using such intriguing technology as the Wankel rotary engine, this visually and aurally intoxicating machine must stand near the pinnacle of available machinery from the period. Chassis 003 is thought to be one of only two four-rotor Mazda racers in private hands.
The Mazda is offered with an extensive package of spare parts that includes a set of wheels, spare 1989-spec bodywork, a front crash box, an original ECU, suspension parts, many spare engine and gearbox parts, and much more. A complete list is available by request, and the spares will be shipped to the new owner, at the expense of the seller, after the auction.
Today, there are more Mazdas being raced worldwide than any other manufacturer, and racing is at the heart of the company’s values, designs, and technology. The foundation of this incredible passion can be traced directly to the factory racing programs of Mazda’s past, which this 767B ably demonstrates.