The first attempt by a rotary-engined vehicle at Le Mans was made in 1970. Mazda's 10A (491cc x 2) engine was run in a British-built Chevron B16 by the Belgian team, Levi's International Racing. Unfortunately, the engine overheated in the early stages of the race and the car was forced to retire.
In 1973, Sigma Automotive, a Japanese team, entered the Mazda MC73 powered by the 12A rotary engine, which battled for 11 hours until its clutch failed.
The following year, Mazda Auto Tokyo joined the team. The 12A-powered MC74 car competed for the full 24 hours only to be classified as DNF (Did Not Finish) for not completing the required number of laps.