Gallery: 1990s IMSA GTP Heroes - Nissan 300ZX and Mazda 767B
Photos by Mitchell Weitzman
As Monterey Car Week didn't come this year, I was compelled to go through some old photos from prior years. The historic races, formally known as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, have long been one of my favorite events. As a racing fan, it's easy to see why - here are all these beautiful and historically important race cars firing up and running again in preferred environment. I like walking across golf fairways looking at cars, but I'd rather see it blow by me on a race track at full steam and the smell the fumes of race fuel.
These pictures seen here were taken in the 2018 edition at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. These cars were running in the IMSA GTP class for late 80s and early 90s sports cars. The famous 300ZX Twin Turbo made famous by Steve Millen is loved by many, not just the Z community. A 300ZX won the 12 hours of Sebring overall one year, and was partially to blame for a banning of turbochargers in world GT racing.
But then there's the bright orange and green Mazda. Firstly, no, this is not the 787B that won Le Mans in 1991. This is that legend's predecessor, the almost identical 767B. Same shrieking 4-rotar Wankel engine revving to what seems like oblivion, same gorgeous shape and that renowned Renown livery that won hearts on Gran Turismo.
Nothing sounds like a 4-rotor above 8K RPM. Nothing. V12? Nope. It's amazing how a rotary like this at 8K RPM sounds like it's revving at least twice as high. It's a howling shriek, yet it's somehow smooth. Imagine the long sustained high-notes of Carlos Santana in his song Europa.
I'm thankful for the manufacturers and affluent the world for keeping this amazing machines going, even 30 years on.
For the photography-inclined, these were taken on an entry Nikon D3200 with a cheap Tamron 18-270 superzoom. You don't need the best gear in the world like a D5 to get memorable images. That top image though, still remains to this day one of my absolute favorite pictures I've ever taken.
Monterey Car Week 2021, we're all already ready for you.