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by Brett Davis

Mazda has launched a special limited edition version of its most-successful two-seat convertible sports car exclusively for Switzerland. The special edition, called the Mazda MX-5 ’55 Le Mans Limited Edition, was created to celebrate the 1991 Le Mans win by the Mazda 787b quad-rotor race car 20 years ago.

The MX-5 Le Mans special features a new sporty bodykit incorporating sill and front and rear bumper bar extensions which give the car a lower, hunkered down appearance. The limited edition is also distinguished from the normal version via a large, contrasting pinstripe along the front of the car which also extends down the side.

Mazda also fits the car with a number of sporty mechanical revisions, including a new limited-slip differential, a Bilstein sports suspension package, special 10-spoke alloy wheels and a strut tower brace bar for improved rigidity. To ensure exclusivity, the Mazda MX-5 Le Mans is also decked out in special logos and an interior plaque featuring the car’s build number.

It was all created to celebrate Mazda’s famous Le Mans win back in 1991. The win was the first ever rotary-powered win in Le Mans history. The famous Mazda 787b won the race with a screaming 2.6-litre, quad-rotor rotary engine. In its maximum power setting, the unit delivered 690kW at a truly eardrum-bursting 10,500rpm.

The engine featured continuously variable intake runners which were opened and closed for best torque and power response in certain conditions. It also featured three spark plugs per rotor as opposed to Mazda’s former biggest rotary engine, the triple rotor 20B, which used two spark plugs per rotor.

Unfortunately, the Mazda MX-5 ’55 Le Mans Limited Edition doesn’t feature the R26B quad-rotor engine, for obvious reasons. In fact, the special model retains the trusty 2.0-litre, 118kW four-cylinder petrol engine, matched to a six-speed manual transmission.

Mazda says the limited edition is only available in four exclusive colours.