AUTOart 1:18 Mazda 787B Le Mans
Sports car fans remember June 23, 1991 as the first occasion on which a Japanese car won the Le Mans 24 hours race. This was the 13th attempt by Mazda and the final opportunity to enter a car with a rotary-powered engine, banned the following year by the race’s governing body. Three Mazda 787B teams started the race and finished in 1st, 6th and 8th places respectively. The winning car, #55, was driven by three talented F1 drivers, Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot. Competing against Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and other famous racing marques, the Mazda took the lead in the 320th lap and, after a further three hours of racing, finished two laps ahead of the second-placed Jaguar XJR-12. With the smallest engine in the race, the Mazda had achieved an average speed of 205.3 KM per hour (127.49 MPH). The car ran flawlessly for the entire 24 hour race as Mazda fans around the world cheered for their favorite team’s unforgettable victory.
One month after the race the winning car’s rotary engine was pulled apart in front of journalists and examined. There were no signs of wear.
The 4-rotor R26B 2.6 litre Wankel normally-aspirated engine with 3 sequential spark plugs per rotor had achieved more than 700 HP at 9,000 rpm and 448 ft-lbs of torque at 6,500 rpm. A superior cooling system counteracted the intense heat generated and the compact rotary powerplant allowed for the design of a body with very low aerodynamic drag. This maximized speeds on the long Mulsanne straight at Le Mans. Stopping power was provided by Brembo calipers and Carbon Industries brake pads and ventilated composite discs.
Now AUTOart, known for hand-assembled and exceptionally detailed scale model cars, introduces a stunning new tribute to Japan’s most famous racer. Painstakingly crafted from 371 individual pieces, including more than 60 super-thin photo-etched metal components, AUTOart’s fully finished 1/18th scale Mazda 787B faithfully recreates the original right down to the removable body pins and safety wires.
The pressure-cast and hand-finished zinc bodywork features detachable nose and engine covers. Lift them to expose the radiator array with its wire mesh debris screen, the brake ducts, steering box, fluid bottles, cooling hoses, jack points, and the fuel and electrical harnesses for the 700-horsepower R26B rotary engine.
The flush-fitting doors swing up to reveal genuine fabric seatbelts detailed with photo-etched buckles, glass-covered gauges, and the electrical fuse buss. A working suspension articulates on real metal coil springs, and the wheels turn on a scale steering rack. The rear wing is supported on accurate photo-etched metal plates.
The colorful “Renown” livery has been replicated using a combination of complex color processes, including electrostatic painting, hand mask spraying and robotic paint-transfer logos called “tampon printing”. The coloring alone involves more than two hundreds processes and more than two hundred workers are required to perform the coloring works. This model is by far the most complicated coloring processes among the whole AUTOart range.
Brake ventilators are fitted on the front wheels by magnetic pin which are detachable.
A mini plastic magnifying glass is offered as an accessory for the collector to appreciate the fine details of the model. The handle of the magnifying glass is designed with a pointed tip for inserting into the door gap in order to flip open the door; otherwise the door gap is too fine to be flip opened even by fingernails. A soft anti-static cloth is also provided for cleaning of the model.
Engineered over a period of 16 months, the Mazda 787B scale model is one of the AUTOart’s most sophisticated replica to date.