In that same year, FISA introduced the new Group C class. This new sports car class included fuel consumption regulations as well as a Group C Junior class.
Up to this point, Mazdaspeed had concentrated on developing the first generation RX‑7 for racing, but now they began to look at more advanced options and commissioned Mooncraft, the race car constructor who had previously designed the aerodynamic add-ons for the racing RX‑7s, to design and build a car for the Group C Junior class. The resulting 717C, powered by a 13B rotary engine, debuted at Le Mans in 1983, and although they proved difficult to drive, especially at high speed down the famous Mulsanne Straight, they finished 12th and 18th overall.
Initial handling and downforce problems were solved with subsequent cars, the 727C and 737C.
To read this and other articles on the Classic Driver website please click here to sign up for a membership. Once a member and logged in, you'll be able to read all the articles on the site. If you are already a paid up member, please log in, using the Log In link in the menu at the top of the page.