TOC CARS TRIBUTE: Mazda RX8 - The Rotary Racing Machine
Some are all about big engines and loud sounds; others just want a ride that’s compact, light and quick. One that smoothly revs and red lines at a high RPM count, delivering you power that’s usually made for much larger machines.
We’re talking about the Mazda RX 8 ladies and gentlemen. Taking the spotlight with its first model in 2003, the small but powerful machine has always been regarded for its engine which was able to produce upwards of 200 horsepower using only a relatively small, naturally aspirated 1.3-litre engine.
But Mazda’s Wankle engine is no ordinary engine. With roots tracing as far back to the 1960s by a German engineer, Felix Wankel, the rotary engine has always been renowned for its small-but-powerful offering, having won over many car enthusiasts who loved to rave about the power-to-weight ratio of their cars.
The RX 8 is designed with a front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout with torque being sent to the rear wheels instead of the front. The engine is also deliberately positioned to sit behind of the car’s front axle (the rod in which the wheels rotate), while the fuel tank is placed in front of the rear axle, thereby achieving a near 50:50 front-rear distribution.
When the RX 8 is in full motion, one may mistakenly think that the car only has 2 doors; but closer examination will reveal a pair of rear-hinged “freestyle” doors that grant passengers access to the back seats – essentially making this a four-door race car that most mums and wives will half-heartedly approve.
While the RX8 has seen a cult following among motor enthusiasts, it has also won many accolades including Car of the Year awards both in Japan and internationally. Will we see an RX 9 in the future? Let’s keep our fingers crossed!