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1984 Mazda Le Mans cars at Goodwood Festival Of Speed
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 12:01pm

The Two Rotary Powered Lola T-616s took part in the 2005 Goodwood Festival Of Speed last weekend, the first time they have been over to Europe since the 1980s. The event, which is held on Lord March's front lawn in Sussex, England sees some of the finest race cars from all over the globe, along with the best drivers, who drive up a hill missing haybales, stone walls, and on lookers, while trying get the best time.

In 1984 the Lola T616 Mazda racecars made motorsports history by placing 1st and 3nd in class, and 10th and 12th overall in the famous Le Mans race. Throughout 1984, 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.

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, they made their debut last year at the 2004 Road and Track U.S. Sports Car Invitational. They then started their tour, making appearances at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and SevenStock-7.

At Goodwood, Busby said: "This was the first time the team had returned to Europe in the 21 years since Le Mans - it created lots of attention. "Goodwood is such a great thrill for an American. We saw the old cars we dreamed about as kids drive up the hill - they're older now and so are we, but we're all still going strong!"

Knoop added: "Jim and I own these cars so it takes us back to when we raced in Europe with them and won our class at Le Mans in 1984 car

"Coming back to Europe in the same car gives me goose bumps."

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