In the golden era of Group B rally racing in the 1980s, manufacturers developed outrageous machines that pushed power and performance to the limit. Mazda was at the forefront with its turbocharged RX-7 rally car, which still generates awe today for its incredible speed and iconic design.
This article takes you through the RX-7’s Group B racing pedigree – from its pioneering rotary engine to boundary-pushing aerodynamics. We’ll relive its victories, innovations and legacy as one of the most celebrated rally cars in WRC history. If you love fast rally rockets, this Savanna RX-7 developed to dominate rally stages worldwide is sure to stoke your passion.
Unleashing the Rotary Power in mazda rally car
The foundation of Mazda’s Group B RX-7 was its unique rotary engine technology. Rather than using reciprocating pistons, rotary engines have a triangular rotor that spins to generate power. This enabled Mazda to create a compact, high-revving motor perfect for rally.
Mazda added twin turbos to the RX-7’s 12A engine to boost horsepower to over 400 bhp in race trim. Mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, drivers had incredible power on tap to rocket out of loose-surface corners. Combined with the RX-7’s low weight, the forced-induction rotary motor gave it an edge on the twisty gravel and tarmac rally stages.
Other enhancements included all-wheel drive for maximum traction, upgraded suspension and brakes, and a stripped-out interior to shed weight. The RX-7’s sleek, angular exterior hid an ultra-high performance machine ready for Group B competition.
Mazda rally car RX-7 Is Pushing the Limits of Aerodynamics
One of the RX-7 rally car’s most distinctive features was its advanced aerodynamic bodywork. Taking cues from its production RX-7 sports car sibling, Mazda added huge fender flares, an adjustable rear wing and a front air dam.
This curvaceous bodywork increased downforce and stability at high speeds. The fenders accommodated massive 16-inch wheels with gravel tires. A lightweight fiberglass widebody improved cooling and reduced drag. Inside, a full roll cage protected drivers pushing the RX-7 to its limits.
While beautiful, the RX-7’s slippery shape and big wing were functional. Mazda utilized wind tunnel testing to refine its aerodynamics, helping it set blistering pace notes on varied surfaces.
Conquering Rally Events Worldwide
Though short-lived, the Group B RX-7 achieved worldwide acclaim and victories in international rally competitions. Mazda fielded it from 1984-1985 as Group B competition reached its pinnacle.
Swedish driver Ingvar Carlsson pushed the RX-7 to victory at the 1984 Rally Portugal. In 1985, the car took 1st place at the grueling Finnish 1000 Lakes Rally in the hands of Hannu Mikkola. He expertly drove the RX-7 on Finland’s smooth gravel tracks and treacherous water crossings.
Mazda clinched the manufacturer’s title in the 1985 WRC sub-series for rear-wheel drive cars. Even competing against formidable 4WD Audi’s, the RX-7 proved Mazdas unique rotary engine and committed engineering could dominate in rally.
Pioneering Technology with a Legacy
The Group B era ended abruptly in 1986 due to safety concerns over the extreme speeds. But the mazda rally car RX-7 carved out a legacy as one of the most innovative and important rally cars of the generation. Its use of rotary power and cutting-edge aero helped influenced rally car development for years to come.
The Group B cars were so fast that even skilled drivers struggled to keep them on the road at race pace. Mazda took big risks and pushed boundaries to make the RX-7 a winner. While challenging to drive, its incredible performance and iconic style cemented its place in WRC history.
When Group B ended, the mazda rally car retired with it. But its legacy lives on in the hearts of racing fans who remember an era when rally cars had few limits. Mazda and its rotary rocket showed innovation and driver skill could win out even against mechanically complex 4WD cars.
Conclusion: mazda rally car RX-7 Fearsome and Fast
The savage Mazda RX-7 captured the excitement and danger that defined Group B rallying in the 1980s. Its exotic rotary engine, head-turning widebody and big wings match its reputation for performance. While infamous for being a challenging car to drive at 10/10ths pace, in the right hands it outpaced and outlasted formidable competitors.
Decades later, the Group B RX-7 is still revered for pushing boundaries and bringing Mazda’s unconventional technology to rally’s main stage. It channeled Japan’s spirit of innovation into an absolute motorsport icon that continues to earn respect from racing enthusiasts worldwide.