07 September 2007

Mazda RX-8 Motorsport Concept

Mazda Australia unveiled the first of its “extreme cars”, a turbocharged RX-8 Motorsport Concept, at the 2004 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney. The “extreme” RX-8, which was conceived by Mazda Australia’s motor sport manager Allan Horsley, is powered by a turbocharged and intercooled rotary engine that is expected to develop about 360 horsepower . The car also features 19-inch wheels and tires, a high performance racing brake package, retuned suspension and Mazdaspeed body kit parts for a more aggressive look.

Motor sport manager, Allan Horsley, said: “The RX-8 Motorsport Concept was a must do challenge for us and thanks to the engineering sophistication of the production car it all came together in just a few months. “We plan to give some of the motoring media with racing experience the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labour at a track day drive event”.

The RX-8 Motorsport Concept makes its intentions known with an aggressive looking Mazdaspeed nose with integrated spoiler and big air intake as well as a large and adjustable Mazdaspeed rear wing. Velocity Red mica metallic paint and attention grabbing white “GT stripes” run along the car’s sides, while bonnet flutes further hint at the car’s added performance and aid under bonnet cooling.

Riding on striking white-painted, 19x8-inch alloy wheels, the concept features different tire sizes front and rear. 235/35 tires are used on the front wheels and larger 255/35 tires on the rear, helping deliver the concept’s prodigious power and torque to the road. The production RX-8 boasts 18x8 alloy wheels and 225/45 tires. A centre-mounted rotary-shaped brake lamp completes the strong visual statement made by the RX-8 Motorsport Concept.

The car’s revised suspension, which drops the ride height by almost 1 inch, improves the standard car’s class leading dynamics and adds to the concept’s visual impact. Suspension modifications focus on new specification, stiffer Eibach springs that help improve the already impressive grip offered by the RX-8’s multi-link front and rear suspension. The revised suspension settings, which help reduce body roll, further sharpen responses from the car’s electric-driven rack and pinion steering.

Promising considerably more power and torque than the standard car, the RX-8 Motorsport Concept features a Renesis rotary engine complete with a water cooled Garret turbocharger running 7.5 lbs of boost pressure and a large air-to-air intercooler. These modifications and a re-programmed Power Control Module that maximizes the engine’s efficiency are expected to boost power by more than 52 per cent over the production RX-8. The engine’s pulling power, or torque, receives a substantial boost over a wide rev band, with it peaking about 260 lb-ft, an increase of almost 65 per cent over the road car.

Using a relatively small and low-boost turbo ensures good throttle response and maintains the free-revving nature of the road car’s normally aspirated rotary engine.

The RX-8 Motorsport Concept’s compression ratio and redline are unaffected, allowing the turbo engine to race to 9000 rpm.

A larger, free-breathing exhaust system ensures maximum power gain while a new muffler also aids breathing and delivers a throatier, more purposeful exhaust note.

Braking is by an Alcon six piston racing system that features 335 mm vented and grooved discs. Similar systems are used in world rally, Japanese GT, V8 Supercar and NASCAR racing.

Other mechanical upgrades include a smaller but more powerful battery, while a larger core radiator ensures the engine runs within its ideal temperature range under all conditions.

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