Mazda’s boss Takashi Yamanouchi has reiterated his company’s commitment to rotary engine technology.
Speaking during his keynote speech at the start of the Los Angeles motor show today, Yamanouchi confirmed: “I’m very attached to the rotary engine. So long as I am president then research and development in this area will continue.”
Mazda has remained a champion of the rotary engine, despite having to overcome major issues such as fuel economy, weight, torque delivery and increasingly stringent emissions laws.
The Mazda RX-8 was withdrawn from Europe because its twin-rotor engine could not meet Euro 5 emissions regulations, and meeting Euro 6 laws is a big challenge for the company’s rotary engine R&D team.
Mazda wants to reduce the weight of all its cars by 100kg within five years, and another big test is to reduce the weight of the rotary powerplant while improving the other variables.
In 2007 – 40 years after it first introduced its innovative new power source to the industry – the Japanese car firm started work on the next-generation 16X Renesis unit.
Yamanouchi also admitted he dreams of taking Mazda back into motorsport, specifically the Le Mans 24 Hours, which he feels could be a shop window for the company’s new SkyActiv technology.
“I’m not saying we will participate in Le Mans, but most people know that the companies that win use diesel, and our SkyActiv technology is very efficient and gives strong torque,” he said.
“Unfortunately right now the Yen situation is putting huge pressure on profitability, but once the Yen improves or the situation is overcome then we will give a desire to return more actively to motorsport.”
Mazda scored a momentous triumph with the rotary-powered 787B prototype in 1991.