I spent time in sunny Sebring, Florida, this past week at the HSR Classic 12 Hour. This was Mazda’s second event in two months with their newly restored Heritage Collection, which, this time, included the 767 Prototype and the RX-7 GTO.
These two cars are fan favorites, not only for their timeless looks but also for the incredible sound that the 4-rotor engines make. Flis Performance did an immaculate job with the restoration and preparation of the cars.
I was privileged and honored to share the driving with Andrew Carbonell, who is a longtime friend and Mazda teammate of mine. I had the excitement of driving the RX-7 at Daytona last month, and Sebring gave Andrew the opportunity to race the car. That meant I got to enjoy driving the 767, which is always a head-turner with its famous LeMans-winning livery and screaming 600hp engine.
It was really interesting to run at Sebring with all the other Prototypes, with both newer and older cars out there on track together. It made me appreciate how advanced new technology is, but at the same time, I was impressed at just how quick these cars were in their day.
Having to manually shift the car using the clutch in a synchronized gearbox—on all upshifts and downshifts—really is a lot more work, and it’s rewarding when you get it all right. At the same time, it’s certainly not as quick as the paddle shifting on a modern Prototype, which allows for continuous acceleration.
Over the weekend, it was wonderful to see so many fans come out to support these cars, and it was especially great to interact with fans who are younger and newer to the sport. If you missed the chance to see these incredible machines run this year, don’t worry: Mazda plans to enter them into several more events next season, so keep an eye out for announcements!