Mazda has announced that it’s putting together a team dedicated to developing the rotary engine, hinting at the possible creation of a new sports car. RX-9 is that you?
The Japanese carmaker’s Chief Executive Officer, Katsuhiro Moro, made the announcement at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon where he said the group would be established as soon as February 1, 2024, and get to work soon after.
“In order to break through the challenges of the carbon neutral era, rotary engine engineers who have acquired a broad technical perspective that transcends the boundaries of engine types and cutting-edge internal combustion engine technology, and who have been trained as users of model-based development, will reunite,” says Moro.
We have one car in particular to thank for the revitalisation of the rotary, that being the Iconic SP concept which was revealed at the Japan Moblity Show late last year. It was the fans’ reaction to this car that caught Mazda’s attention, all thanks to its two-rotor hybrid drivetrain.
“I am very happy and deeply moved by all the support and encouragement I have received for the compact sports car concept,” added Moro.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. With your encouragement, we are launching a rotary engine development group on February 1 to move closer to this dream.”
Halfway through 2023, Mazda put the rotary back into mass production for its MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV but instead of the engine powering the wheels, it acts as a power generator for the car’s battery. That isn’t quite what fans of the Wankel want though, with many wishing for a new sports car that continues the lineage of the RX nameplate.
With that being said, the news of Mazda’s new rotary development team gives us hope that they could drum up something with as much mana as the RX-7 and continue where the RX-8 left off in 2012. Only time will tell.