Mazda's four-rotor sports prototypes of the late Eighties and early Nineties are legends, thanks in large part to their extraordinary sound. Perhaps the least well known of this group is the RX-792P, of which just three were built for IMSA GTP racing in 1992 before Mazda cancelled the four-rotor program, as the engine could no longer be raced in Europe.
But the RX-792P is a glorious thing nevertheless. Mazda North America still has one and brought it out for the historic races at Long Beach last weekend. R&T contributor Marshall Pruett was there, and managed to capture video, and perhaps more importantly, audio of the car. The noise is, as ever, scintillating.
Around the three-minute mark, driver Tom Long really gets on it, and the sound plus the Long Beach scenery whizzing by will give you goosebumps. Next time around, the car fully warmed up, and he spends a few seconds buzzing the rev-limiter in fifth. You'll want to replay that over and over.
The first Mazda four-rotor racing engine was the 13J, which debuted in the 1988 767. It evolved into the stronger, more powerful, yet more efficient R26B, which made its debut in the 1990 787. The 787B in 1991 got a unique variable-length intake system and made 690 hp at 9000 rpm. Unfortunately, the FIA banned rotary engines for the 1992 season, leaving America as the only place to run an R26B.
Which Mazda did for 1992. As to be expected, the RX-792P—which shared little with the 787B—had a number of first-year teething problems, and only managed two podium finishes over the 1992 season. Mazda North America planned to race the car in 1993, but with Mazda Japan canceling the four-rotor program entirely, it had no engine.
Thankfully, we have historic racing, and the RX-792P can still be raced today.