Mazda Furai – Sound of the Wind
The new Mazda Furai, which was unveiled at the 2008 North American International Auto Show held in Detroit in January, is causing some excitement in auto racing circles. Mazda have not yet officially confirmed whether the Furai – meaning “sound of the wind” – will be exclusively race oriented, giving rise to speculation that the traditional boundary distinguishing street-legal cars from single-purpose track cars is about to be breached.
Mazda’s acclaimed Nagare design is superbly embodied in the Mazda Furai. Nagare means “flow” and describes the flow of air or water moving effortlessly in one direction, or the embodiment of motion. Although modeled on the Nagare design concept, the Furai differs from the four previous concept cars, in that it is all about function rather than aesthetic value. Every last detail of the Furai serves a purpose in achieving the goal of guiding air over and through the body using aerodynamic principles which support excellent road-holding properties at high speeds. The cockpit is comfortably finished with the emphasis remaining on functionality. Gear-change shift paddles and an electronic display screen are built into the steering wheel.
Mazda has gained somewhat of a reputation for its innovative use of the rotary engine, which is very evident in the RX series. They have now added to their rotary stable with the introduction of the Mazda Furai, which boasts a RENESIS-based 20B three-rotor rotary engine capable of producing in excess of 450 horsepower – and it runs off 100% ethanol. In using a rotary engine in the design of the Mazda Furai, the manufacturers are acknowledging that in the auto racing world’s view, Mazda and rotary engine are synonymous. This has been reinforced over the years by the Mazda RX-7, which is widely considered to be one of the best production sports cars in the world.
Mazda have used the Courage C65 racing chassis in the design of the Furai, ensuring that the car will handle even the most challenging corners on the track. The C65 chassis has more than proven its worth during two seasons of endurance racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
Certainly, there is every indication that auto racing enthusiasts can look forward to some serious “zoom-zoom” from the Mazda Furai.