My Car Quest

December 5, 2022

Mazda, Wankel, BFGoodrich and Lola – A Winning Combination

by Mike –

Earlier this year Mazda announced they were discontinuing production of Wankel (rotary) engined cars. This week Mazda announced they were bringing the Wankel engine back for “range extended” cars, or plug in hybrids.

Fekix Wankel, a German engineer, invented the Wankel engine in 1954. Rotary engines are lighter, simpler, and have fewer moving parts than piston engines of equal power output. Further details can be read on Wikipedia.

Le Mans Race Car

Lola Mazda No. 68

Lola Mazda No. 68 – Le Mans Class Winner – 1984

Mazda and BFGoodrich Tires teamed up to win the C2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1984 using the Mazda Wankel engine and street legal BFGoodrich tires.

Lola Mazda No. 68 and No. 67

Lola Mazda No. 68 and No. 67

Mazda is the only non-US or non-European team to have won Le Mans outright (1991) and the Mazda Wankel engine is the only non-piston engine to ever power a Le Mans winner.

Lola Mazda No. 68 and No. 67

Lola Mazda No. 68 and No. 67

This car (No. 68) is the class winner from the 1984 Le Mans race for the C2 class and the sister car came in third (No. 67). This class victory helped set up the overall victory by Mazda seven years later.

This car uses a Lola chassis design and was driven to the 1984 Le Mans class win by John O’Steen, John Morton and Yoshimi Katayama.

This car today is owned by John Davis, a managing partner of Club Auto Sport.

Lola Mazda No. 68 at Laguna Seca

Lola Mazda No. 68

Lola Mazda No. 68

John Davis Ready To Race

Lola Mazda No. 68

Lola Mazda No. 68

Race Car Engine Work

All race cars need engine work at times and the Wankel engine is no exception. The No. 68 car is getting a new engine at Borelli Motor Sports.

Lola Mazda No. 68  getting a new engine

Lola Mazda No. 68 Getting a New Engine

This slide show has more photos of the engine work.

This slide show features Lola Mazda No. 67 on a stand.

Photos from Laguna Seca by Dan Gentile, publicity photos supplied by Mazda and all other photos by Mike Gulett.

Mazda Lola race car Le Mans sticker


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