- The Mazda RX-7 GTU ( Photo Credits : www.pinterest.com )

MAZDA RX-7 GTU: THE ROTARY RISES

In 1979 Mazda deployed the first generation of its RX-7 in the IMSA GT Championship.

1y ago

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It was 1978 when the RX-7 the most famous sports car produced by Mazda was produced for the first time. Equipped with the renowned Wankel rotary engine, the car was immediately used for sporting purposes.

To adequately promote it in the North American market, the management of the Japanese company developed a competition variant to enter in the IMSA GT Championship (the GTU category) to replace the previous RX-3.

The previous Mazda RX-3 ( Photo Credits : www.speedhunters.com )

The previous Mazda RX-3 ( Photo Credits : www.speedhunters.com )

Produced in collaboration with the Racing Beat team, the RX-7 had been enhanced by the integration of a new aerodynamic body kit, of a safety roll-bar to stiffen the chassis, of stiffened sports suspension and of new competition wheels.

Side section ( Photo Credits : .www.wheelsage.org )

Side section ( Photo Credits : .www.wheelsage.org )

The engine consisted of a double-rotor Wankel 1.1 managed by a five-speed manual gearbox and coupled to rear-wheel drive.

Rear section ( Photo Credits : www.japanesenostalgiccar.com )

Rear section ( Photo Credits : www.japanesenostalgiccar.com )

It could deliver the power of 260 hp with 217 Nm of torque, and that allowed the car to reach a top speed of 265 km / h with acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in 5.8 seconds.

The interior ( Photo Credits : www.japanesenostalgiccar.com )

The interior ( Photo Credits : www.japanesenostalgiccar.com )

As pilots were hired the former motorcycle rider Yoshimi Katayama, together with the veteran Yojiro Terada. They both managed to win the class victory in the opening race of the 1979 season, the 24 hours of Daytona.

The RX-7 GTU during the Riverside 6 Hours ( Photo credits : www.pinterest.com )

The RX-7 GTU during the Riverside 6 Hours ( Photo credits : www.pinterest.com )

Although that was the only victory of the championship, the numerous points induced the Mazda to enrol the car also in the 1980 season, changing however the pilots.

Memorial badge of Racing Beat Team ( Photo Credits : www.racingbeat.com )

Memorial badge of Racing Beat Team ( Photo Credits : www.racingbeat.com )

Entrusted this time to the Americans Walt Bohren and Jeff Kline, the RX-7 GTU gave full proof of its speed qualities by winning 7 races out of 14 and guaranteeing to the Japanese team the conquest of the class title and the drivers' title for Bohren.

Thanks to Valentina Zanola for the cooperation

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Comments (27)

  • In this image you can see Racing Beat’s GTO Rx-7, this time racing in the GTU class, behind (me driving) the GTU Huffaker Fiero (chassis number 005) during the mid and late 1980’s Marlboro Championships in Latin America.

      1 year ago
  • Here is the car when it won the GTO class at the 1983 24 Hours of Daytona.

      1 year ago
  • Racing Beat’s IMSA GTO Rx-7 is currently in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 and has been rescued from further deterioration and it’s waiting to be restored to its former glory .

    I would like to share with you some images of this legendary car’s current condition.

      1 year ago
  • Only the incompetent like you destroy a Wankel engine Monica LoL

      1 year ago
  • it is strange that the engines have worked for the duration of the races XD

      1 year ago

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