This is significant news in motoring circles as Mazda ceased production of the last rotary engine with the RX-8 back in 2012 due to tightening emissions targets. Many assumed this would spell the end for the beloved Wankel-designed motor which was globally praised for its high power to weight ratio and compact design – a requisite in sports cars and Mazda’s own performance line.
Called the SkyActiv-R, the new rotary engine was confirmed by UK’s Autocar who spoke to Mazda’s head of research and development, Kiyoshi Fujiwara.
“People think rotary can not meet modern Eco demands,” Fujiwara said. “The SkyActiv engineers worked on rotary and have it cutting edge tech. It is an essential part of our DNA and it just be passed onto future engineers. It is synonymous with the brand. Some time in the future it will return and be called SkyActiv-R.”
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Mazda’s own president and CEO Masamichi Kogai added even more juicy details of their latest concept. “It is a two-door, two-seater. It is a pure sports car design. We have MX-5 and another icon is a rotary sports car. We haven’t talked about market reach but this would be in that segment.”
“The targets are strict; rotary engines have lots of issues, and we need to solve each of them.”
For now a new generation rotary sports car is just that: conceptual. Although if the comments are more than just spin, it truly shows Mazda’s dedication to one day bringing back the venerable rotary engine. Even Mazda’s design boss Ikuo Maeda agrees, saying that the concept “represents our dream, but we don’t want it to be a dream too long.”
Mazda’s latest concept sports car will be unveiled later this week. For now you get to watch the pinnacle of the Mazda rotary engine in the Le Mans-winning 787B.