Is Mazda testing a new rotary engine at the Nurburgring?

Russell Campbell
October 10, 2019

Could a partly-camouflaged RX-8 signal Mazda is testing a new rotary engine? Let’s hope so…

At first glance, this solitary Mazda RX-8 lapping the Nurburgring might not look like much, but add a camouflaged nose and a sprinkling of rumours that a new rotary-engined sports car is on the way, and you have yourself all the ingredients you need for one of the biggest stories in the car world this year. 

The footage was captured by YouTube user Auto Motive Mike and shows an RX-8 with its nose dipped in vinyl and a bonnet that sits proud of the front bumper – suggesting there might be something special lurking underneath. Equally reassuring is the turbine-smooth howl from the exhausts (a rotary trademark) when the car powers out of bends and the fact that this particular car is not hanging about – indicating this isn’t the range-extending hybrid motor that’s tipped for a new Mazda SUV that will be revealed at the Tokyo motor show later this month.

In truth, the mere fact that the engine’s sitting in an RX-8 shell indicates that, whatever car it’s destined for, it’s some years away yet. That said, you can seek solace in the fact that Mazda design boss Ikuo Maeda has confirmed a top-of-the-range sports car based on the RX-Vision Concept, and likely to be called the RX-9, is still a real possibility. It is likely to get 300hp and the rotary engine’s low centre of gravity will make the car feel extremely agile and you can expect tail slides to be on the menu thanks to a standard-fit limited-slip differential.

Stay tuned to carwow’s news pages for more info when it’s available.