5-Car Formation Drive of Former IMSA Machines Leaves Crowd Spellbound
The cars that Mazda USA brought out this year included the Mazda RX-792P (1992 GTP), the FC3S Mazda RX-7 GTO (1990), a 13B rotary equipped Mazda MX-6 GTU (1989), the SA22C Mazda RX-7 GTU (1979) that achieved a phenomenal 1-2 finish in its debut race at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and the Mazda RX-2 (1973 Baby Grand), which achieved the momentous first victory for a rotary vehicle in an IMSA series. All of these vehicles had been properly maintained to ensure they were in drivable condition and were mounted with brand new slick tires. On top of this, other than the RX-7 GTU, which is a newly assembled replica based on drawings from the time (due to the original having been discarded), the other cars were all the original vehicles that competed in these past events. The unique MX-6 GTU has a 13B engine vertically placed in a pipe frame chassis and transfers power to the rear mounted transaxle through its propeller shaft. This is a completely different layout to the original horizontally placed 2.2 DOHC reciprocating engine with an FF layout. Behind the wheel of the RX-2, which had continued success after its first victory and entered into the 1980 24 Hours of Daytona alongside the powerhouse RX-7, was none other than Alan Johnson. It appeared that this was the first time in quite a while that Alan had come face-to-face with one of these machines and he could be seen carefully checking the fuel system and warming up the engine with an obvious air of nostalgia.
Over 400 RE cars gathered to the venue from all over the US and they lined up according to type. Included among these were Mazda R100 (Familia) Rotary Coupes, RX-2s (Capella), RX-3s (Savannah), RX-4s (Luce), each generation of RX-7 and RX-8, monster machines that mounted 20B three-rotor engines within self-made chassis, the US exclusive RE trucks, amongst many others. It was clear that the Mazda RE has a warm place in the heart of many Americans. We went around and spoke to a number of those that came out there were not only people from around California and neighboring Nevada, but some devout fans had even driven 15 hours from Washington to take part in the day. Not only car owners, but their families and friends also turned out and in the end the day saw approximately 2,000 people join in the festivities. This included enthusiasts from Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Mexico and so on. For that reason the catering corner had formed a long line before you could blink an eye. Organizer Berny Herrera commented, “You can see just how energetic the US Mazda RE fans are. With the RX-VISION being revealed at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, all the fans who have come here today are even more excited than usual. I really wanted to head over to Tokyo for the show but I was just too busy with work. If I had been able to go I probably would have rushed the stage and yelled, “Show me the engine!” and been escorted out of the premises, haha! I, along with everyone here, will be feeling a great deal of pride in the future RX-VISION.”
Demo runs were carried out on the combination course that combined the oval and infield track. The five IMSA machines zestfully echoed the RE sound throughout the venue. When this RE orchestra reached its zenith, they arranged into a V-shape and roared through the straight. As there was no prior notice of this amazing performance, the fans were elated. In unison with the RE sound, the cheers of the crowd increased in intensity and echoed around the circuit.
We can’t wait to see what SEVENSTOCK 19 has in store for us in 2016.
Photo by MZRacing