New Mazda RX-7: Here in four years
As you read this, teams of designers and engineers at Mazda's Hiroshima headquarters are working on Mazda's next rotary-engined sports car, and Nobuhiro Yamamoto has more than hinted that the company's new RX-7 is in the pipeline.
That's the good news. The bad news is that the car will not see the light of day before 2016 as a 2017 model.
The sports car market has changed in recent years, as more large-scale makers join the affordable performance car market, something Mazda has twice pioneered; the first time with the still good-looking and quick original RX7 in the late 1970s and the second time a decade later with that yardstick of balance and poise, the MX5. Now the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 are the catch-cry for modern sportsters, and Mazda may need to draw a third trumpcard from its substantial engineering deck, with the new RX-7, the development of which has been on the backburner in recent years while Mazda worked on its SkyActiv petrol and diesel engines instead.
Over the years, Mazda became the first and, so far, only Japanese carmaker to win Le Mans - with its 787B rotary of course - and has won endurance races in the United States right up to last year, using its Renesis rotary engine.
The fact Yamamoto-san has confirmed the future RX-7 exists is encouraging and though four years sounds like a long time, it does show it will not be a half-hearted device when it finally rolls out at some future motor show.
With a new super-light, new from the ground-up MX-5 due by the end of this year in concept form, Mazda will still has a counter to the excellent Subaru/Toyota cars.
In fact, in terms of driving purity, many opine that the current MX-5 still has the edge on them.
But if you can wait a while, the RX-7 promises to combine Mazda's "gram-strategy" and SkyActiv lightening programme with its 40-plus years of rotary knowledge to become something truly spectacular.
Sunday Star Times