The Rotary Engine and the Mazda RX-8
At Mazda we like to do things a bit differently. Be a daring. Break down the boundaries. It's apparent in our concept cars, production cars and every-day design touches. Most of all, it can be seen from the development of the rotary engine. Suck, squeeze, bang, blow. That's the basic concept of the combustion process of the piston engine and it's exactly the same with the RENESIS rotary engine. Matching the reliability you would expect from a traditional piston engine, the rotary engine has an extraordinary track record in pushing performance levels and engineering convention.
Early investment in rotary engine technology culminated in the first rotary powered model being sold in 1967, the Mazda Cosmo Sport. And it was to be the first of many. Innovation and development continued with new engines tested in creative and unusual ways. This saw the birth of a triple-rotor rotary race engine which was used in the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance Race in the Mazda 787B, led by driver Johnny Herbert. Mazda went on to a historic win. As technicians disassembled the engine after the race they discovered the car didn't even need a new sparkplug and could have run the entire race again - testament to the quality of the engine. To this date, we are still the only Japanese manufacturer to win the Le Mans 24-Hour Endurance race.
Our development of the rotary engine continued and we launched the multi award-winning Mazda RX-8 to wide acclaim. Selling over 26,000 in the UK alone the RX-8 also won the coveted 'Engine of the Year' award twice. It also scooped the What Car ‘Coupe of the Year’ two years running to cement its place in the history books.