2. The GTP Lola T616 enters the 1984 Daytona 24-hour race
After making a spectacular International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) debut in 1979, Mazda went on to win the manufacturer's title in the GTU class two years in a row, in 1980 and 1981, demonstrating overwhelming strength.
In 1984, a new weapon was created that helped Mazda to step up from the GTU to the GTP class in the IMSA series. It was the GTP Lola Type T616 and it was powered by the top-end 13B rotary engine with peripheral ports and fuel injectors, which pumped out over 300 horsepower.
Mazda's competition in the GTP class included formidable rivals such as the Porsche 962, March Porsche 83G, and Jaguar XJR-5. They were all around the 500 to 700 horsepower mark and winning seemed a tall order for the 300 horsepower Mazda.
However, one Lola Mazda T616, Car 68, steadily moved through the field and managed to hold onto third place from the 13th to the 15th hour. It even pushed up to second for a time. It completed the 24-hour race in 17th place, after suffering delays to replace a gear box and a halfshaft.