Chapter 1: Motor sport challenges in Europe (6/10)
6. Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour and Marathon de la Route 84-hour endurance races
In August 1969, Mazda entered three racing versions of the R100 (known as the Familia Rotary Coupe in Japan)
in the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race. The team prioritized engine durability, and limited engine
speeds down from 9000 to 8500 rpm. With maximum power output set to 187bhp at 8500 rpm, the cars were
expected to go the distance.
After suffering from oil trouble during the race, Mazda finished 5th and 6th overall.
Soon after, three R100 models with the racing type 10A engine (178bhp/8000rpm) were entered in the Marathon
de la Route at the Nurburgring. One car developed a leak in the fuel tank and ran dry. The second span out
in the rain and had to retire. The last R100 suffered a damaged exhaust bracket due to thermal shock from the
rain, but still managed to finish 5th overall.