For Mazda’s Anniversary: Car Races and Motorsport as the Best Advertising Campaign

Mazda has always tried to emphasize the possibilities of engineering achievements not just by advertising their cars, but also by testing them in difficult and extreme conditions.

The entire history of Mazda's development is inextricably linked with engineering innovations. Mazda has always tried to emphasize the possibilities of such engineering not just by advertising their cars, but also by testing them in difficult and extreme conditions. Motorsport and endurance car races have always provided such conditions.

For Mazda’s Anniversary: Car Races and Motorsport as the Best Advertising Campaign photo 2

However, this philosophy was adopted by the company at the very beginning of its foundation, even before the production of cars. Starting with the production of cork stoppers (yes, the same ones for corking bottles) in the ‘20s of the last century, the founder of the company, Jujiro Matsuda, very quickly reoriented his business to the production of technical products. In 1931, the first three-wheeled Mazda-Go cargo motorcycles left the gates of the factory in Hiroshima. The first «motorized vehicle» had advanced solutions such as reverse gear and differential. The cargo tricycle was powered by an 18-сс engine with a capacity of 9.4 hp. The new transport quickly became very popular, because it allowed people to quickly and conveniently transport small loads (this was much better than to use carts and rickshaws). Besides, these motorcycles were relatively inexpensive. Despite this fact, Mazda organized a race to show the endurance and unpretentiousness of the Mazda-Go.

For Mazda’s Anniversary: Car Races and Motorsport as the Best Advertising Campaign photo 3

Five motorcycles were used in the promotion, having successfully completed the 2700-km Kagoshima-Tokyo route. In fact, Mazda became a pioneer in this kind of advertising, which made the company popular. Well, Mazda’s sales increased even more after this race. Since then, the manufacturer from Hiroshima would try to promote its products through such events.

For Mazda’s Anniversary: Car Races and Motorsport as the Best Advertising Campaign photo 4

Thirty years after that groundbreaking race, Mazda chose some of the most challenging motorsport competitions to promote its new innovative sports model, the Mazda Cosmo 110S. After its release in 1967, the comet car became the world's first production vehicle with a rotary engine (Mazda had signed the contract with NSU for the supply of rotary engines in 1961). The Cosmo 110S got its name after the trendy space theme in the ‘60s. Mazda used various competitions in order to promote the model on the European market, as well as to show (or prove) the reliability of rotary engines. In 1968, the Cosmo 110S took part in the Marathon de la Route – an 84-hour race at the famous Nurburgring.

The Mazda Cosmo 110S is on the loop at the Nurburgring, 1968 The Mazda Cosmo 110S is on the loop at the Nurburgring, 1968

The grueling marathon was not easy: one of the two Cosmo cars was involved in an accident and left the race, but the second vehicle finished fourth, behind only the Porsche 911 and Lancia Fulvia – one of the best European sports cars of that time. In this way, Mazda, the rotary engine and the stunning Cosmo left their mark in the automotive history. This grandiose undertaking in motorsport was a significant chapter in which Mazda went from the start of using the rotary engine to winning the 1991 Le Mans.

In 1977, in order to promote the new Mazda 323, the first hatchback in the company's history, the manufacturer sent a pair of such cars from its factory in Hiroshima to the International Motor Show Germany. This is almost 15,000 km! Despite the difficult route, bad roads and sprint pace, a pair of Mazda 323s reached the finish line almost without breakdowns – the press attention to the new product was provided! This was a great advertisement for the model that was preparing for its premiere in Europe.

The Mazda 323 overcomes the path from East to West, 1977 The Mazda 323 overcomes the path from East to West, 1977

This travel so inspired the guys from Mazda that they repeated it several more times. In 1990, six vehicles (the 626, 323 and e2200) drove from Hiroshima to Mazda's HQs in Leverkusen, Germany. In 2013, the Mazda 3 overcame the way from Japan to Germany under the management of auto journalists from all countries.

Today's Mazda Epic Drive media events, inspired by challenging excursions and tests of the past, allow journalists to experience challenging roads, amazing landscapes and unique adventures behind the wheel of a Mazda.

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