1979→1980 Mazda RX-7 GTU

1979→1980 Mazda RX-7 GTU

1979→1980 Mazda RX-7 GTU

In 1979, shortly after the RX-7 was launched in America, two racing versions with the 12A engine were entered for the Daytona 24-hour race. They qualified first and second in the GTU class, and 32nd and 34th overall. The grid was dominated by cars with large displacement engines, such as the Porsche 935, and the grueling 24-hour race started amid fears that the compact RX-7s would be overwhelmed. In fact, the RX-7s were able to showcase their fantastic handling through the course’s many tight corners, and steadily worked their way up through the field. After a superb performance, the two cars crossed the finish line together, earning a one-two in the GTU class and fifth and sixth overall. This was a fantastic achievement for a first-time entrant, and it was a big surprise for the IMSA.

Our feature car is a development mule for the GTU cars and it was one of the very first RX-7 race cars. It was photographed at the 2010 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

In Detail

tags SA22C, rx7
submitted by Richard Owen
type Racing Car
production years 1979 – 1980
built at Japan
production 2
engine 2-Rotor Wankel
displacement 1146 cc / 69.9 in³
bore 70 mm / 2.76 in
compression 9.4:1
power 74.6 kw / 100.0 bhp @ 6000 rpm
specific output 87.26 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 91.07 bhp per tonne
torque 142.4 nm / 105.0 ft lbs @ 4000 rpm
body / frame Unit Steel
driven wheels Front Engine / RWD
front tires 185/70HR-13
rear tires 185/70HR-13
front brakes F Vented Discs / R Finned Drums, Vacuum Assisted
front wheels F 33.0 x 14.0 cm / 13.0 x 5.5 in
rear wheels R 33.0 x 14.0 cm / 13.0 x 5.5 in
steering Recirculating Ball
curb weight 1098 kg / 2420 lbs
wheelbase 2421 mm / 95.3 in
front track 1420 mm / 55.9 in
rear track 1400 mm / 55.1 in
length 4285 mm / 168.7 in
width 1674 mm / 65.9 in
height 1260 mm / 49.6 in
transmission 5-Speed Manual
gear ratios 3.67:1, 2.22:1, 1.43:1, 1.00:1, 0.83:1
final drive 3.91:1
top speed ~196.3 kph / 122.0 mph
0 – 60 mph ~9.2 seconds
0 – 100 mph ~27.8 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile ~17.0 seconds