While the parade of “Vision” concept cars made to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Gran Turismo franchise has been going on for over a year, Mazda’s effort should garner a bit of excitement.
That’s because the Japanese carmaker’s LM55 concept is inspired by the 787B racer that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991.
Mazda is the only Japanese manufacturer to win Le Mans to date, and the car that did it wore the number 55, hence the LM55 designation.
That car featured a rotary engine, but Mazda did not disclose any powertrain details for this tribute versions which, admittedly, will never turn a wheel on a real racetrack.
The concept does wear “Skyactiv” badging, calling attention to the fuel-saving design features in Mazda’s production cars.
Like the other Vision Gran Turismo concepts, the LM55’s design is radical, and appears to borrow as much from current Le Mans Prototypes as it does from the 787B.
Key features include a central stabilizer shark fin and very pronounced fenders covering wheels that are pushed out to the extreme corners of the car.
So in profile view, it has a lot in common with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Porsche 919 Hybrid, and Toyota TS040 Hybrid cars that battled for overall victory at Le Mans this year.
Mazda itself hasn’t raced at Le Mans in awhile, although it does campaign an LMP2-class prototype in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship on this side of the Atlantic.
That car features a diesel engine and a chassis that’s similar to the LMP2 cars that compete at Le Mans in the class below the Audi, Porsche, and Toyota hybrids, but the race’s governing body doesn’t allow diesels outside that top class.
Unrestrained by real-world rules, the Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo should have a much more prolific racing career. It will be available for download for Gran Turismo 6 soon.