In addition to two Mazda 727Cs, twin Mazda Lola T616s (powered by Type 13B engines) participated in the 1984 LeMans endurance race. One of the T616s finished first in the C Junior (C2) class and 10th overall. Its sister car was classified third in class and 12th overall. The Mazda 727Cs were fourth (15th overall) and sixth (20th overall) in Group C Junior. All the rotary-engined contenders completed the 24-hour event.
Throughout the rest of the 1984 season, 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.
When the Lola T616 Mazda first took to the track, it featured a modified 13B rotary engine and was rated at 300-horsepower. As with all rotary engines, the T616 lacked the displacement of competitors’ engines, but more than made up for this short-coming with incredible, high-revving reliability and the engine’s small size and low weight.
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 T616s laid dormant for 20 years until Jim Busby, original driver of car 67, tracked them down and restored them to their former glory. The T616 recently benefited from a full, frame-off restoration. Finally back in top form, these historic racecars have made many appearances at the Laguna Seca raceway in California.