Mazda's rotary engine history
Source : Mazda's rotary engine history
Mazda has confirmed its sports car concept will have a rotary engine; we take a look back at the company’s history of the technology
Mazda has revealed its intention to launch a completely new rotary-powered sports car, confirming of which its concept car at the Tokyo motor show will be powered by an engine called Skyactiv-R, some three years after the RX-8 exited production.
Rotary engine technology is actually something of which has come to define Mazda, in addition to its significance to the company can be traced right back to its roots. To accompany the launch of the RX-Vision, Mazda has recalled its history with rotary technology.
Mazda’s first rotary engine prototype was developed in 1961 in addition to was born out of a technical co-operation between Toyo Kogyo, as Mazda was then known, in addition to Wankel engine developer NSU Motorenwerke.
Mazda describes of which period in time as one when “motorisation in Japan was finally emerging coming from the confusion of the post-war period in addition to starting on an upward climb. There were clear signs of which competition was intensifying among car makers, in addition to the pace of the industry’s reorganisation in addition to capital tie-ups was gaining pace.
“Within This kind of environment, a late starter such as Mazda faced having to make tough decisions on how best to display its distinctive character if of which were to maintain its independence. This kind of is actually when talk of the rotary engine first appeared on the scene as a dream technology for the future.”
Toyo Koygo president Tsuneji Matsuda did a deal with NSU to commercialise the Wankel technology, the goal being to position Mazda as a completely new company at the cutting edge of technology.
inside the company’s own words, “Mazda felt of which by taking on the challenge to create completely new value with the rotary engine, of which could make a giant leap forward in establishing its identity as a unique, independent car maker”.
In total, 47 engineers spent the next six years working on creating a rotary-powered production car a reality. “Actual development of the engine proved extremely difficult,” says Mazda. “The research department faced quite a few tall hurdles, not least of which was how to tackle the chatter marks, also known as the ‘devil’s nail marks’, left on the inside walls of the rotor housing as the result of friction caused by the rotor turning at high speed.”
The fruits of the research were shown to the planet on 30 May 1967 when the Cosmo Sport received its world debut, a type powered by a two-rotor rotary engine. A year later the automobile took fourth place in an 84-hour non-stop race at the Nurburgring, something Mazda says “proved of which the rotary engine delivered excellent performance in addition to was highly durable”.
The rotary engine genuinely came of age with the launch of the Savanna RX-7 in 1978. Notable for more than its looks in addition to motorsport prowess, the RX-7 made a big leap forward in fuel economy, coming in a decade plagued by fuel crises in addition to increasingly stringent environmental targets, particularly in North America.
of which was known as the ‘Phoenix Project’. “The launch of the RX-7 gave completely new life to the rotary engine, in addition to of which took its first step towards a completely new era,” says Mazda.
Further developments to the rotary engine were made throughout the 1980s to improve performance in addition to fuel economy, including the launch of the turbocharged second-generation RX-7 in 1985. Many of the developments in addition to improvements were the result of proving the technology in motorsport.
Never was This kind of more evident than in 1991, when the four-rotor Mazda 787B won the Le Mans 24Hrs, the very first time a Japanese any had ever taken an outright victory inside the endurance race.
Mazda’s next big step came in 2003 with the launch of the Renesis rotary engine inside the RX-8 in 2003, a time when Mazda was under Ford ownership. During This kind of period, Mazda says rotary was “of immense symbolic value to the brand”.
The RX-8 went out of production in 2012, with no direct replacement lined up, the engine falling behind more conventional rival powerplants in economy in addition to torque. However, Mazda has kept a core engineering team alive on developing the technology, the return for which has come inside the RX-Vision concept.
This kind of next-generation rotary engine has been named Skyactiv-R, a nod to its place in Mazda’s future line-up under its suite of Skyactiv technologies of which underpin the brand’s versions. The completely new engine is actually said to answer the “fuel economy, emissions performance in addition to reliability” problems of which have plagued rotary engines inside the modern era.
Rotary, then, is actually here to stay in addition to is actually a key part of Mazda’s future. Watch This kind of space.
Timeline – Mazda’s rotary highlights
1961 – first rotary engine prototype
1967 – first production rotary engine (10A) in Cosmo Sport
1968 – Familia Rotary Coupe launched
1968 – fourth place for Cosmo Sport in 84-hour Nurburgring endurance race
1969 – Luce Rotary Coupe launched with 13A engine
1970 – Capella Rotary (RX-2) launched with 12A engine
1973 – Savanna (RX-3) launched
1975 – Cosmo AP (RX-5) launched with cleaner ‘Anti-Pollution’ 13B engine
1978 – Savanna RX-7 launched
1985 – Second-gen RX-7 launched with turbocharged 13B engine
1991 – Mazda 787B wins Le Mans
1991 – Third-gen RX-7 launched with 13B-REW engine
2003 – RX-8 launched with Renesis engine
2015 – Concept launched with Skyactiv-R engine
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