|Mazda MXR-01 (MX-R01)|
|Body and chassis|
|Engine||Mazda MV10, 3,500cc V10 NA|
|Curb weight||750 kg or more|
The Mazda MXR-01 is a Group C sports prototype that was used by Mazda's factory team Mazdaspeed in the 1992 World Sportscar Championship season. It would be the final Mazda entry in sports car racing since the inception of their Le Mans project in 1983.
Following Mazda's success in winning the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans with their rotary powered 787B, Mazda had hoped to continue in sportscar racing and prove that their lone win was not a fluke. However, with the reorganizing of the World Sportscar Championship in 1992 by the FIA, Mazda found itself with a problem in that their rotary engines were now banned. Instead, teams would be required to use technologically advanced V10 powerplants similar to those used in Formula One. Mazda, not having had many racing engines outside of their rotaries, decided that the cost of developing an entirely different engine was not worth it, especially with budgetary concerns within the company. At the same time, if Mazda were to use a V10 powerplant, they would be required to build an entire different car, since the 787B could never hold a V10.
Thus, Mazda came to the decision of buying an existing V10 engine. They turned to Judd (Engine Developments), who had developed their GV10 3.5L V10 for Formula One in 1991, and arranged a deal in which the Judd engines would be badged as Mazdas, carrying the name MV10.
For a new chassis, Mazda also turned to an existing design, this time going to Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), who had worked with Jaguar until they dropped out of sportscar racing at the end of 1991. Jaguar's final entry, the XJR-14, was offered by TWR to customers for 1992, and Mazda jumped at the opportunity to use the car which helped win the 1991 championship for Jaguar. Again, the car would be rebadged and renamed as the Mazda MXR-01.
Unfortunately, although the XJR-14 was the 1991 champion, it had not been updated since the end of that season, and Mazda had neither the technical understanding of the XJR-14 nor the cash flow to continually upgrade their MXR-01 on the same scale as Peugeot and Toyota were able to do in 1992. Their Judd powerplant was also considerably underpowered in comparison to the other factory teams.
Mazda was able to successfully finish third in the teams championship of the 1992 World Sportscar Championship season, with a best result of second in the 500km of Silverstone. At Le Mans the team were able to briefly lead the race at various parts of the first hours in front of the dominant Peugeot squad before finishing an honorable 4th. Throughout the season the team ran only a single-car effort, with the exception being two cars for Le Mans.
In Japan, Mazdaspeed campaigned a single MXR-01 in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, was equally mediocre. Mazda finished 2nd in the constructor's championship for the series. Which is respectable considering its power disadvantage it had compared to Toyota and Nissan.
Much like in the WEC, the 1992 racing season saw dwindling car counts in the class C division. Because of this, there were instances in which the MXR-01 had no competition in its class. So, despite the fact that Mazda attended more race meetings than its competitors in-class, when their compatriots did not attend (thereby giving Mazda the win by default), the team and car did not score championship points.
A total of five MXR-01s were built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing for use by Mazda.
- MXR-01 #001 - Raced exclusively in the JPSC
- MXR-01 #002 - Spare used as a test car at Le Mans
- MXR-01 #003 - Spare used as a test car at Le Mans
- MXR-01 #004 - Ran entire WSC schedule
- MXR-01 #005 - Second car for Le Mans only.