Mazda's International Team
When the Mazda Auto Tokyo team took part in the 1979 Le Mans race in a Mazda RX-7 252i, there were only four members, excluding the driver, along with some support staff from the local sales company, France Motor. It is undeniable that in those days there was a mentality of “we’ll work with what we’ve got. We’ll figure it out once we get there.” However, it is also true that, from the beginning, it was a mixed team of Japanese and French members. It was the many trials and tribulations that the team experienced at Le Mans (regarding accommodation, food, transport, movement, parts preparation, etc.) that changed the structure of the Mazda team. From 1981 onwards, in addition to joint ventures with TWR and Alan Docking Racing, support from the French Motor Company increased, and the team became a tri-nation team with Japanese, French and English members. The team would gradually become more internationalised, in particular its drivers, with members from the USA, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Brazil and Sweden.
At important moments, such as team meetings, there was a respective interpreter to ensure accurate information sharing, but in the paddock and in the pits, conversations were conducted in each team member's native language, while the staff used a mixture of Japanese, English and French, as well as body language to communicate with each other. The catering team, which was responsible for the team's meals, also had a menu to meet the multinational requirements. The culmination of all this was a 120-strong team at Le Mans in 1991.