March 1st is an important date in automotive history, with significant events happening across the decades. From classic car unveilings to memorable racing moments, let’s take a look back at what happened on this day in the car industry.
1991: The Mazda 787B Wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans
On this day in 1991, the Mazda 787B became the first and only Japanese car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The rotary-powered car, driven by Johnny Herbert, Bertrand Gachot, and Volker Weidler, completed 362 laps and finished over a lap ahead of its nearest rival. The victory was a historic moment for Japanese automaker Mazda and a major milestone for rotary engines in motorsport.
1998: The First Generation Toyota Prius Goes on Sale in Japan
The Toyota Prius, one of the most recognizable hybrid cars in the world, went on sale for the first time on this day in 1998 in Japan. The Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle and has since become a flagship model for Toyota. With its fuel-efficient technology and sleek design, the Prius has become a symbol of the modern environmentally-friendly car.
2009: The Pagani Zonda R Sets a Nürburgring Lap Record
In 2009, the Pagani Zonda R, a limited-edition track-focused supercar, set a blistering lap time of 6:47.5 at the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife, breaking the previous lap record for a production car. The Zonda R was powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine, producing 750 horsepower and 524 lb-ft of torque, and had a top speed of 218 mph. The record-breaking lap time cemented the Zonda R’s place in automotive history as a true performance icon.
2019: Bugatti Reveals the La Voiture Noire at the Geneva Motor Show
On March 1st, 2019, Bugatti unveiled the La Voiture Noire, a one-off hypercar with a price tag of €11 million ($12.5 million). The car, which was designed as a tribute to Bugatti’s Type 57 SC Atlantic from the 1930s, featured a sleek black carbon fiber body and a quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 engine, producing 1,479 horsepower and 1,180 lb-ft of torque. The La Voiture Noire quickly became one of the most talked-about cars of the year and a symbol of luxury and exclusivity in the automotive world.
These are just a few of the notable events that happened on March 1st in the automotive industry. From groundbreaking victories to stunning car unveilings, this day in history is a celebration of classic cars and racing legends.