The Mazda Presence at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Well, it was not subtle. Not subtle at all. I think you can expect something happening from Mazda sooner that later, as evident from the company’s display at the Monterey Historics last weekend (August 14-15).

dailysportscar.comNo less than three prototypes and three production based race cars graced the display, all but stating that “we’ll be back real soon”. Notice how the two Busby Lola 616 Group C Junior cars appear to take center of attraction over the 1991 Le Mans winner. Does that tell you something about the future direction?

According to a release from Mazda, “BFGoodrich Tires entered (these) two Mazda Lola T616s in the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans C Junior (C2) group. Car 68, driven by Americans John Morton and John O'Steen, with Japanese driver Yoshami Katayama, took first in class and placed tenth overall. The number 67 car was piloted by Americans Jim Busby and Rick Knoop as well as Dutchman Boy Hayje and placed third in its class, twelfth overall.

“Throughout 1984, the T616s had continued success at the world's greatest racetracks, including the Monza 1000km in Italy, the Nurburgring 1000km in Germany and the Mt. Fuji 1000km in Japan (and also ran in select IMSA races in the States).

“Mazda continued to compete at Le Mans with a series of racecars purpose- built for the demanding circuit. The impressive, purpose-built Mazda 787B featured a four-rotor R 26B engine good for 700-horsepower and propelled Mazda into motorsports history with the first -- and to this date, the only -- overall Le Mans win for a Japanese manufacturer. The number 55 car, piloted by England's Johnny Herbert, Germany's (Belgium's) Bertrand Gachot and Luxembourg's (Germany's) Volker Weidler led for the last three hours of the history-making race, finishing 27.2 km ahead of their nearest competitor.”

During Monterey weekend there was an autograph session, with the original drivers of both Lolas there to sign the supplied posters, and also a parade lap for the cars.

When I asked the attendant when we might expect “an announcement”, the reply was a rather large smile, and “what kind of announcement would you expect?” Yeah, right.

It will be good to have them back in racing. They need it and so do we. I’m sure this story will continue. There is an ALMS race at Laguna in October, isn’t there…
Gary Horrocks


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