On September 20 (local time), two Mazda Familia Rotary Coupes participated in a classic car racing event held at the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.
The Familia Rotary Coupe is equipped with the rotary engine that came after the Cosmo Sport. It has a 491cc engine displacement and a 10A naturally aspirated engine with two rotors. It joined the 24 Hours of Spa race in 1970 and achieved the top spot until the 21st hour. The vehicle encountered engine trouble during the final stages but was able to achieve 5th place overall.
Jin Kato, a doctor from Aichi Prefecture realized his dream of driving the Familia Rotary Coupe in the Spa race through this event held in Belgium. The car was tuned to race with its engine, suspension, and exterior body reinforced to take the beating. In order to participate in the Spa racing, he has also improved his skill by attending national and foreign racing events. The weather was sunny, and he was able to fulfill his dream after 45 years. Two units were brought in for the Spa race, and Mazda Design Chief Ikuo Maeda drove one of those units.
When the engine was switched on from the garage up to the course, and upon hearing the sound of the rotary independent engine testing, many people flocked towards the area. They participated in the Masters 70s Celebration, a race coupled with the Spa Six Hours. After categorizing this model to 70’s cars, the Familia Rotary Coupe raced with the Porsche 935, the Aston Martin DB4, the Alfa Romeo 200GTV and other cars, and they competed within a 40 minute lap time. The participating cars had different grades, thus Porsche and Sunbeam made it to the top. Even so, the two Familia Rotary Coupe raced enthusiastically.
The height difference of the location is 100m up to 7,004m in the difficult, mountainous course. And since the road surface at the start of the course was in a wet condition, it was not easy to drive. One car spun while at the Eau Rouge. Even though they touched the crash pad and were forced to go to the pit stop, the two cars have successfully arrived at the goal ultimately.
Kato, who felt nervous before the race, looked relieved. “I encountered a lot of difficulties, but I’m glad that I was able to finish the race successfully. I want to join world races using the Familia Rotary Coupe next time,” he said.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)