Over a quarter-century later, the Mazda 787B still casts a big shadow over Le Mans as the only Japanese entry ever to win the famous endurance race there. But now it's casting its shadow over another famous race track in a far more literal sense.
In celebration of its longstanding partnership with the circuit, the automaker has erected a giant billboard mural of its legendary rotary racer on the hillside above Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Painted by local artist John Cerney on plywood, the mural stands 32 feet long by 10 feet tall, or about eight times the size of the actual car. At that size, it'll be visible not only from the circuit, but to anyone traveling down State Route 68, otherwise known as the Monterey-Salinas Highway – especially in the bright orange and green livery of sponsor (and argyle sock manufacturer) Renown.
This is the second such installation commissioned by Cerney after the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) that operates the circuit had him install another such mural of motorcycle racing legend Wayne Rainey back in July.
“The colorful race car that can be seen from the highway will let people know that this is an incredible racing facility,” said Cerney. “The car is huge. I used 10 sheets to complete this board compared to the six that I used for the Wayne Rainey mural. I strived to get all the little details right from the logos to the body lines. The bright orange and green colors really make it stand out.”
The mural's installation arrives at an auspicious time as Toyota, with no real competition next year, could yet supplant Mazda's place at Le Mans next year. One way or another, the 787B will tower over Laguna Seca for as long as management and nature will allow.