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Mazda RX-8 Sets 40 International Records In 24 Hour Race
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 12:04pm

Mazda has set a total of 40 international records with two Mazda RX-8s. Drivers and technicians celebrated their success at the close of the 24-hour record attempt on the 12.3km oval at the automotive proving grounds in Papenburg, Germany earlier this month.

The day before, two 231ps Mazda RX-8s had taken the starting line, one in the FIA Category A (Special Vehicles) and a second in the FIA Category B (Mass Production Vehicles). The two sports cars drove more than 5,000km during the 24-hour attempt with average speeds of 212.835 and 215.934 km/h.

These results clearly demonstrate that Mazda RX-8’s unique RENESIS rotary engine not only provides exhilarating performance, but is durable and reliable even under the most extreme driving conditions.

Record-setting performances of this kind are nothing new to Mazda, which boasts a long tradition of 24-hour endurance races. In this latest 24-hour attempt, both Mazda RX-8s shattered a Mazda record set in 1991 by drivers Bertrand Gachot, Johnny Herbert and Volker Weidler at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world.

That year, the team drove the Mazda 787B race car with a 515 kW/700 PS rotary engine exactly 4.923.2 km during the 24 hours of the race, with an average speed of 205.133 km/h. In Papenburg, both Mazda RX-8s were clearly faster.

12:20pm Saturday 2 October: Mazda Motor Europe engineer Shoji Tokuda waved the green flag and started the 24-hour drive, sending the first Mazda RX-8 on its way into the record books. The driver accelerated, shifted through the gears and then had only one goal—holding the ideal line at full throttle.

Prior to the record attempt, the German Motor Sports Organisation DMSB e.V. had selected three production Mazda RX-8s in Antwerp, Belgium and sealed their engines and transmissions on-site.

All remaining stages of the record attempt were accompanied by commissioners of the DMSB e.V. to ensure all mandatory regulations of the FIA were adhered to. The second vehicle used in the record attempt had proven its reliability in last season’s Formula Woman all-woman race series in the UK.

The only difference between the two Mazda RX-8s, and all other Mazda RX-8 production models was added safety equipment – both had special body-contour seats, five-point seat belts and a roll cage. The Category A Mazda RX-8 was outfitted with an additional fuel tank and 19-inch wheels.

The cars were piloted by 15 automotive journalists from 11 countries, who completed the tough, 24-hour test on the 12.3 km high-speed oval, pausing only for necessary pit stops and to change drivers. Other than that, it was full throttle around the track. The record drive attempt was supported by the tyre manufacturer Kumho and Aral, which provided high-octane Aral Ultimate petrol.

The two Mazda RX-8s drove their rounds at consistently high speeds and without incident. Nonetheless, not everything went according to plan. An hour after midnight it began to rain heavily, but neither the drivers nor the tyre supplier Kumho panicked. The tyre pressure was lowered, which resulted in an improvement of their hydroplaning resistance capacity. Despite the rain, the average speed of both cars remained high.

12:20pm Sunday 3 October: Shoji Tokuda dropped the chequered flag and waved his two Mazda RX-8s into the pit. Both cars set a total of 40 international FIA records. Mazda RX-8’s RENESIS engine, the world’s only production rotary engine, had passed its endurance test with flying colours. Mission accomplished.

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subject:
clearly faster?!
author:
No Rotor
date:
November 2, 2004 - 9:47am
"In Papenburg, both Mazda RX-8's were clearly faster (than the Le Mans winning 787B)." Oh yeah! Im sure an 8 could easily drive circles around the 787B! Of course they were faster, they were on a gigantic oval track all alone, not the Sarthe circuit racing against dozens of extremely competative racecars. Sure, the numbers show that they went faster, but imagine the numbers of the 787B on that gigantic oval, or the numbers of the 8's at Le Mans. Also consider pit stops; the 787B was constantly accellerating and braking, turning hard right and left, and i dont even want to think about its gas mileage...it probably spent much more time in the pits. Of course i know that the 8's are NOT faster than the 787B and it is rediculus to even think that, but that whole part comparing average speeds just really stood out to me and shouldn't have been put there. Otherwise, congrats to Mazda for checking off another 40 records, whats the next record on the list to break, or is there nothing left?
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subject:
records
author:
date:
October 26, 2004 - 4:39pm
is there a list of all the records that were broke?
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subject:
how're the engines?
author:
No Rotor
date:
October 26, 2004 - 10:35am
What I'd like to see is pictures of the teardown of these engines after the race... or compression tests, or something to let me know how the held up to the abuse
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subject:
well...
author:
No Rotor
date:
November 2, 2004 - 9:51am
I read somewhere that when they took apart the 787B's engine it was in perfect condition, or something like that. Wish i remembers where i read that, i'd give the link. But im also interested in the 8's engines after the test.
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subject:
MY IDEA!!
author:
No Rotor
date:
October 25, 2004 - 3:42pm
just in case noone heard:) this was an idea i posted 2 years ago!! i dont mind them using it but a little credit would be nice:)-zoom44
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subject:
Premium Gas??!?
author:
No Rotor
date:
October 21, 2004 - 7:52am
Why?
"We used our plain 'ol bug infested, watered up Regular Grade from the pump to get this new record 'cos ROATRIES DON'T NEED NO SPECIAL GAS!!!"
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subject:
RENESIS == High Compression
author:
No Rotor
date:
October 21, 2004 - 9:06am
The Renesis has high compression , high enough to warrant, in racing conditions, high octane, to keep the thing from pinging.
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