Mazda RX-7 GTO photo

1990 Mazda RX-7 GTO

Mazda entered the North American IMSA GT Championship in 1978 with the RX-3. The information gained during the reason season helped in the development of the RX-7 the following year.

For 1979, Mazda raced their new RX-7 GTU (GTU represented 'Grand Touring Under 2.5L') The engine was built by a company called Racing Beat. It was a naturally aspirated 2 rotor unit that offered 250 horsepower at 9,500 RPM. Two of the cars qualified for the 24 Hours of Daytona and would finish 5th and 6th overall and won their class. This would be the start of many podium finishes for the RX-7.

Two Mazda RX-7s were entered for the 1980 season. They would finish on the podium in every race during the season, earning them the constructor's championship before the season was over. They had secured the championship with three races remaining.

After the 1980 season, Mazda withdrew its factory support and did not field a factory team. Many privateers continued to race their own RX-7s and the factory drivers found homes with these private teams. Nevertheless, the RX-7 continued to dominate the series and won the GTU driver's championship from 1980 to 1987.

In 1990, Mazda won the GTU Championship with a factory-backed MX-6.

For ten years in a row, staring in 1982, the Mazda RX-7 won its class in the IMSA 24 Hours of Daytona race. It would win more IMSA races in its class than any other model of the automobile, with its one-hundredth victory on September 2nd of 1990.

The IMSA GTO category were Grand Touring-type cars with engines of 2.5-liter displacement or more, with the letter 'O' representing 'over 2.5L.' By the time Mazda entered the IMSA GTO category, it was more than just about displacement size. These were now purpose-built race cars that shared little with their production counterparts.

The Mazda RX-7 GTO was powered by the '13J' rotor engine with 600 horsepower and 529 NM of torque and mated to a Hewland five-speed gearbox. Designer Lee Dykstra was hired to design the car. The engine was mounted into a steel spaceframe chassis and the suspension was comprised of double wishbones at all four corners, with dampers and springs in the front actuated by push-rods. Ventilated AP disc brakes provided the stopping power. The exterior was clothed in aluminum and carbon-fiber panels, and although there was some resemblance to the production car, the GTO was much lower and wider.

The team was run by Dick St. Yves with Pete Halsmer and Jim Downing tasked with driving duties. At the 1990 Daytona 24 Hours, the RX-7 GTO earned pole position but was forced to retire during the race due to engine problems. The second car finished second in class. Halsmer scored the new Mazda RX-7 GTO's its first victory during the fifth round of the season at Topeka. It was followed by another victory at Mid-Ohio. At San Antonio, the GTO class victory was the 100th class win for the RX-7 in IMSA competition.

The lessons learned during the 1990 season helped the team (drivers Price Cobb and Halsmer) dominate the IMSA GTO class in 1991. Halsmer won three victories and Cobba won twice, earning Mazda the IMSA GTO championship. After the season, the IMSA GTO effort came to an end and the two cars were sent back to Japan. Mazda would focus on the IMSA GTP campaign for 1992.

by Daniel Vaughan | May 2019

Related Reading : Mazda RX-7 History

In 1969 Mazda Project engineer Akio Uchiyama began work on a two-seater sports car. Internally it was called project X020A and eventually became known as RS-X. The idea was to share a chassis from a production saloon thus saving on production costs and limiting the time-to-market. This project continued until 1973 when the oil crisis finally put an end to the car. Around 1975 Sinpei Hanaoka, a....
Continue Reading >>

Related Reading : Mazda RX-7 History

The most famous aspect of this vehicle is probably the engine. It was a revolutionary engine created by Felix Wankel and named the Wankel Rotary Engine. Inside an elongated chamber, a rotor with three curved sides revolves around a central driveshaft. Air and fuel enter from the sides and are compressed as the rotor spins. The result is the equivalent of a conventional combustion chamber. During....
Continue Reading >>

1990 Vehicle Profiles

1990 Mazda RX-7 GTO vehicle information

Designer: Lee Dykstra

Chassis Num: GTO-001

The 1991 GTO season was a battle royale with three factory teams going at it for the championship: Ford Mustang, Nissan 300ZX and Mazda RX-7. Mazda proved it didn't show up to finish second that year though, as the driving combination of Price Cobb a....[continue reading]

Chassis #: GTO-001 

IMSA GTO Vehicles

Concepts by Mazda

Similar Vehicles

Mazda Monthly Sales Volume

December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
Additional Sales Volume Data

Recent Vehicle Additions

Related Automotive News

Competition at the Amelia Island Concours

Competition at the Amelia Island Concours

Competition has always been a part of the Amelia Island Concours dElegance. The core group of classes includes four Race Car groups (Prewar, 1946-57, 1958-66, 1967-83). Additionally, there are four classes reserved for Sports Cars. For those seeking...
Six Decades of Prototype Sports Cars Road Atlanta Bound Next Weekend For HSR's 40th Classic Motorsports Mitty

Six Decades of Prototype Sports Cars Road Atlanta Bound Next Weekend For HSR's 40th Classic Motorsports Mitty

- Ford GT40s and Lola T70s Among Iconic 1960s Prototypes at The Mitty - Chevron B2336, Osella PA8 and Thundering Chevy Intrepid and Nissan ZX-T GTP Race Cars Represent 1970s and 80s - More Modern Machinery Includes the Riley %26 Scott Mk III, Lola B0718,...


- Using history to inspire the future, Mazda returns iconic 767B racecar to the track - IRVINE, Calif. (August 9, 2016) – Earlier this year Mazda celebrated the 25th anniversary of its 1991 Le Mans win in the iconic green and orange Mazda...


HILLIARD, Ohio (Oct. 23, 2015) - Twenty-six race-car drivers and motorsports professionals have been voted into the Road Racing Drivers Club in 2015. The group includes 11 Regular Members from the open-wheel and sports-car racing ranks, 10 Associate...
Anniversary Race Through Patagonia: Bmw Group Classic Lines Up With Three Historic Cars For The '1000 Millas Sport'

Anniversary Race Through Patagonia: Bmw Group Classic Lines Up With Three Historic Cars For The '1000 Millas Sport'

Anniversary race through Patagonia BMW Group Classic lines up with three historic cars for the 1000 Millas Sport in Argentina. BMW 328 Kamm racing saloon, BMW 2000 CS and BMW 3.0 CS add further allure to the starting field for the 25th edition o...
© 1998-2021. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Vehicle information, history, And specifications from concept to production.
Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed
© 1998-2020 Reproduction Or reuse prohibited without written consent.