Mazda MX-5's 20th Anniversary at LeMans - Click above for a high-res image gallery

It's hard to believe it's been two decades since Mazda first showed the world how to build a classic British sports car right. The roadster known as the Miata and MX-5 at different times and places around the world is 20 years old and to celebrate, Mazda has invited 200 examples and their owners from across Europe to a party in France next month at the 24 Hours of LeMans.

Over the course of two decades and three generations, Mazda has sold over 850,000 MX-5s and it remains one of the most entertaining roadsters available. While it's never been the most powerful sports car and some dismiss it as a secretary's chosen chariot, the compact, lightweight roadster has won over even the most insecure alpha males with taut handling, a balanced drivetrain and one of the simplest convertible mechanisms known to man.

European MX-5 owners who want to participate in the party should contact their national MX-5 club or Mazda France. The 200 attendees will watch the race from the Mazda camp alongside the circuit and a best in show will be awarded, along with plenty of goodies.


Related GalleryMazda MX-5 20th Anniversary Le Mans


PRESS RELEASE

Roadster Enthusiasts to celebrate 20 Years of Mazda MX-5 at Le Mans

  • 200 Mazda MX-5s from all over Europe to gather at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Special Mazda Camp reserved for attendees near the circuit
  • An award for the most beautiful MX-5 attending the event

Leverkusen, 25 May 2009. This year, the world's most legendary endurance race will be venue for the 20th anniversary celebration of the world's most loved roadster: the Mazda MX-5. First shown at the Chicago Motor Show in February 1989, the original Mazda MX-5 (called Miata at the time) triggered a rebirth of the two-seat roadster. Then as now, the car embodies Jinba Ittai (a Japanese expression meaning "rider and horse as one") and delivers the very essence of sports car fun. This has been perpetuated by subsequent Mazda designers of three generations of MX-5 since then, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records with more than 850,000 units sold to date.

A total of 200 MX-5s from all over Europe will meet at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to commemorate 20 years of Mazda's cult roadster, and the special relationship it has with thousands of fans worldwide. The event has been organised in cooperation with MX-5 clubs around Europe and will take place on 13 and 14 June this year.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans – the perfect venue to thrill Mazda enthusiasts
Mazda MX-5 owners and fans wishing to be part of this exciting event are requested to contact their national MX-5 club or visit the Mazda France website HYPERLINK "http://www.mazda.fr" www.mazda.fr. A complete package is on offer for attendees, including a place for their car, an anniversary polo shirt, a rally plate, dinner and breakfast and some other surprises; all from 100 Euros. It also includes a unique chance to experience the thrill of watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans race live, since the participants will be invited to camp at an exclusive Mazda Camp reserved for them bordering the circuit. From here Mazda MX-5 fans will have the opportunity to show their support to the 3 teams motorized by Mazda engines in the LMP2 category. A "Best of Show" competition will also be held during the event with a special award going to the most beautiful MX-5.

Endurance – a field of expertise for Mazda
Mazda wrote motor sport history by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 23 June 1991 with the Mazda 787B piloted by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot. This was the first victory ever by a Japanese manufacturer and also the first for a rotary engine at Le Mans – a double success still unrivalled today. The high-performance Mazda 787B displayed the superior reliability of Mazda rotary-engine technology that day, and was subsequently entered in the Hall of Fame of motor racing.