The new team will start working on February 1st.
Will Mazda succeed in bringing back the Wankel engine?
Mazda caused quite a stir when it unveiled its latest concept, the very beautiful Iconic SP, at the Tokyo Mobility Show in October 2023. The two-seater coupe, with dimensions slightly larger than those of an MX-5 roadster, rekindled rumours of the return of the RX badge to the Mazda family. RX-7, RX-8, does that ring any bell?
In fact, the concept in question was equipped with a rotary engine to support the electric powertrain integrated into the sport concept’s chassis. At the time of the presentation in Japan’s capital, Mazda even insisted that this configuration already existed on board the MX-30 crossover equipped with a range extender, with the small rotary motor acting exclusively to, as the name suggests, “extend” the journey.
Why are we talking about the Iconic SP concept more than three months after its official reveal? Simply because Mazda’s President and CEO, Masahiro Moro, took advantage of his appearance at the Tokyo Auto Salon, an annual event promoting the performance and customization industry, to announce that Mazda had re-formed a team dedicated to the development of the rotary engine.
The excitement surrounding the Iconic SP concept is certainly no stranger to this decision, as the automaker has never really given up on the idea of putting the legendary Wankel engine back under the hood of a Mazda sports car. In fact, the rotary engine team was disbanded in 2018, but it’s clear that the hope of seeing a modern RX-7 again – unless the brand’s strategists have thought of another name – has remained alive and well within the walls of the small Japanese manufacturer.
The big man’s statement did not go unnoticed, as he also thanked fans for all the support and encouragement, he had received for the concept coupe.
The new rotary engine development team will start work on February 1. It remains to be seen what will emerge from this new offensive in terms of the survival or return of the rotary engine on board one of the brand’s production models. Let’s bet we’ll have to wait a few more seasons before knowing more on this project.