Good news for all Mazda rotary engine fans – Mazda are to continue development of the engine even though the RX8 was discontinued earlier this year. This would seem sensible for a company that has put so much into this technology since 1967 and doesn’t want to see all that wasted.
But there is a catch as Mazda see the future of this engine as the power behind range extending electric vehicles – this would appear to be the future! The argument is that a rotary engine is not fuel efficient enough when moving up and down the rev range, but is excellent when keeping at an optimum of say 2,000 rpm.
The first offering of cars using this technology will be held in Japan and each car will be given on a lease basis. This will ensure very limited numbers whilst they continue to develop the cars.
What the real petrolhead wants to know of course is whether Mazda will venture back into motorsport as they did with the sublime Le Mans entry that won in the 1990s. The most likely scenario is as an engine supplier to a private team in the medium term – but never say never!