From the 1970 R100 coupe to the RX-8, Mazda Has Steadily Refined the Rotary

Recently, Mazdas new RENESIS Rotary Engine was named “International Engine of the Year 2003”, at Engine Expo 2003 in Stuttgart, Germany. This particularly potent engine is the driving force behind the new Mazda RX-8 sports car. In addition, Mazdas RENESIS also took two more awards home; one for “Best New Engine of 2003,” and “Best 2.5-liter to 3.0-liter.”

The International Engine of the Year is determined by a majority vote of 50 motoring journalists from 22 countries globally. North American judges include leading enthusiast magazines, editors, and esteemed industry analysts.

Each vehicle or component chosen for a category goes through a series of tests and is evaluated by the international judges. Key points that the judges look for are, drivability, economy, refinement, performance and the successful application of advanced technologies. Overall there are 12 categories, including the top honor of all, International Engine of the year.

“Mazdas International Engine of the Year Award success is a remarkable achievement,” commented Graham Johnson, editor of Engine Technology International magazine and Chairman of the Awards. “The judges are hugely impressed by the RX-8s smoothness, refinement, performance, and eco-friendliness. Indeed, 44 of the judges voted for this engine to become International Engine of the Year 2003–a new Awards record. Mazda can rightly state that it produces the finest automobile engine in the world.”

Nobuhiro Hayama, executive officer and general manager of Mazdas Powertrain Division, said in his acceptance speech, “From our first application of rotary technology in the 1967 Cosmo Sport, to the only rotary-engine win at Le Mans, in 1991, Mazda has never given up on this technology. That persistence, that devotion to engineering fundamentals, is the hallmark of the engineering spirit and heritage at Mazda. And it is that spirit which drives our companys resurgence today.”

“The RENESIS marks a return to Mazdas rotary roots in the U.S.,” added Jim OSullivan, President and CEO, Mazda North American Operations. “From the 1970 R100 coupe to the RX-8, the rotary engine has been Mazdas sales and engineering trademark. When the RX-8 goes on sale in July, the sound of Mazda rotaries humming down the road will once again return.”

The RENESIS engine is unique and distinguishes itself from any other traditional internal combustion engine in the world. The rotary engine performs the four processes of intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust in succession by turning a triangular-shaped rotor in a cocoon-shaped combustion chamber to generate the engine power. Mazda is the only automaker in the world to mass-produce rotary-engined vehicles. What makes this engine stand out on the road is that it is significantly smaller, especially smooth, and high revving.
The soon-to-arrive Mazda RX-8 has an official U.S. rating of 247-hp at 8,500 rpm and 159 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm when mated to a 6-speed manual transmission – power is reduced but torque slightly increased when joined to the 4-speed automatic gearbox.