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Mazda 787B: An Assault on Le Mans and Human Ears

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In 1991, a Day-Glo-colored Mazda beat Mercedes and Jaguar to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the only rotary-powered car to date achieving the feat. Come and listen to its mad shriek.


It’s called the 787B and it revs to 9000 RPM, incredible by the subdued standards of Le Mans, where cars have to be engineered to last the equivalent of a whole season of Formula One’s worth of racing. Rotary engines are rev-happy by default and racing cars are loud by default, which makes the eye-popping Mazda something really special when it comes to testing the implosion limits of human eardrums.


Even with the comparatively low revs, Le Mans is a brutal assault on the human ear, as you are swathed in rock concert volumes of noise for a full day without a microsecond of relief. It must have been quite the aural trip in 1991. I wonder if anyone present can still hear anything. Hello, Mazda people! Hello! Nice job!

Photo Credit: Mazda USA