Project X: Forty-seven Rotary Engineers



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The team tried to keep second place. Ohashi, who was usually careful, said suddenly, " We can't remove our sense of humiliation if we finish second."
(Ohashi)

I told them that no one could win without challenging spirits. I thought we would lose without fail, if we continued to keep second or third place. So I urged them to make a challenge.


(Narrator)

Mercedes took the lead by four laps and left all the cars far behind. Ohashi decided to venture on a single chance. To disturb Mercedes' rhythm, he ordered drivers to shorten lap time by one second. Mercedes, however, sped up to shake off Mazda. The key to victory was the engine. The staff complained that his strategy

was reckless. They thought they would lose second place. However, Matsuura said, "Our rotary engine will never be out of order."
The race would be over in four hours. Mercedes suddenly drove into the pit. As Mercedes drove too fast, there was smoke from the engine. Ohashi's Strategy had been successful. The gap of four laps between Mercedes and Mazda had narrowed quickly.
At 1:04pm Mazda finally took the lead. There was no rival. Mazda drove alone for three hours in front of the audience from all over the world. The rotary engine showed its overwhelming power to the world at Le Mans. Terada cried, "We are No. 1!” Matsuura was trembling with joy.

The rotary engine, once criticised as a gas-guzzler, was on the verge of the discontinuation. However, victory at the prestigious Le Mans saved the engine. Yamamoto received the news at midnight in Hiroshima.
(Yamamoto)

I cried for joy. I drank wine with my wife in celebration of the victory in the middle of the night.


(Narrator)

These were the people who pledged the recovery of their ruined hometown of Hiroshima. Thirty years has passed since the development of the rotary engine.
(Male)

Mr. Terada, do you remember what happened that year?


(Terada)

Yes, it was much more memorable than anything else. We were all delighted, because we had strived for the victory for many years.


(Male)

How did you feel Mr. Matsuura?


(Matsuura)

I couldn’t say anything. I cried before I said a word. I couldn't stay there and went to the back of the pit. We seldom cry when we work. We, men, are not supposed to cry in public. I was glad that I had been involved in the project.


(Male)

Were you more nervous when you took the lead?


(Matsuura)

Not really. It seemed that the car was driving faster than ever. I was satisfied with the fact that we had created such a car. The car seemed to be running perfectly around the circuit.


(Male)

Mr. Terada, did you want to take part in the race as a driver of the winning car?


(Terada)
No. To win is a tough job. The young drivers drove faster than I. They had better lap times. Moreover, my physical strength was declining. You can't win if everyone doesn't cooperate with one another.
(Female)

We would like you to see the winning car. How long has it been since you saw it last?


(Terada)

I haven't seen the car since the victory in 1991.


(Matsuura)

It brings back memories.


(Male)

Would you start the engine?


(Terada)

It feels like the good old days to sit in this car. This is the seat where we perspired. I'll start the engine. (The awesome sound of the engine – check my video’s also! www.mymazdarotary.com)


(Male)

Terrific! How powerful! I'm just astounded at this car.


(Terada)

Mr. Matsuura, the sound of this engine is really nice, isn't it?


(Matsuura)

Great. The rotary sound is marvellous.


(Male)

Is the rotary sound so special?


(Terada)

It's like the engine is singing. It is music.


(Matsurra)

The sound becomes louder as a car approaches at 300 km/h, and then the sound dies down. It’s really like music.


(Male)

What do you think is the main reason you won at Le Mans?


(Terada)

We took part in the race over and over again by making every effort to win and with the support from other people. But, we were also lucky.


(Narrator)

One month after the victory at Le Mans, a triumphant parade was held in Hiroshima. The citisens shouted for joy. It was the most impressive commendation ceremony for Terada. There was Yamamoto - the leader of the project and had experienced hardships for a long time.
Yojiro Terada is now 53 years old. He still participates in the race at Le Mans. After Mazda's withdrawal from Le Mans, he joined other teams and has already finished 22 races. He has the nickname. "Mr. Le Mans.” Kenichi Yamamoto left Mazda a year after the victory as Le Mans. His car is very valuable to him.
(Yamamoto)

This is a sedan with a rotary engine.


(Narrator)




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