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ISSUE #1 - JAN 2002

This issue sees the start of 2002 and the start of a new Rotary era. Not only does it see the launch of our new club, but also the release of the new RX-8 in Japan and the USA. See inside for all the current details on this new Mazda model.

The start of a new year also means it is time to begin planning all the events that you wish to attend in the upcoming months. One of the aims of the Club is to ensure that there is a good mixture of shows, track days and other events for you to choose from. The initial list of dates appears inside, but be sure to keep your eye on the club website for updates.

Also in this issue we have news from the international rotary scene, with visits to specialists in both USA and Australia, and a trip to watch drag racing in Sydney.

Be sure to look out for the latest news section, which will let you know the most recent developments from the world of the Rotary, and the Special Offers page, which will give you some great offers on related products.


As you know was officially founded on Saturday 10th November 2001. The main aims and objectives are:

  • To help owners of Mazda Rotary vehicles to enjoy their cars,
  • To provide an e-mailing list to allow members to get in contact with one another and share tips and information,
  • To hold regular meets at different locations and events, including organising track days and attendance at car shows,
  • To source spares and negotiate discounts from suppliers of both parts and insurance,
  • To provide technical support,
  • And to promote the rotary engine and its cars to their true place among the all time greats.

In order to achieve these aims it is up to us all to work together as a Club. The committee will handle the day-to-day running of the Club, but will need help from all the members to make it a success.

“rotary revs” will need articles, pictures and letters to fill its pages on a quarterly basis, and the website will need news to keep it current. As a member you can influence the contents of both of these by simply getting in contact. The committee want to build up an international list of useful contacts for Mazda rotary owners, but the only way this can be done is with your help.

The committee would like to take this opportunity to introduce themselves, (and their rotary lives), just so you know who you are talking to when you want to get in contact:

Clive Haynsford, Chairman and Lisa Daniel, Secretary

Clive and Lisa live in Gravesend but spend most of their spare time in Clive’s yellow Series 3 Mark 6 RX-7 travelling to events and businesses across the country promoting the rotary engine. Previously Clive spent 18 years within motor racing, including driving oval cars, drag racing a ‘69 Mustang, and a dabble in Motorcross with a fair amount of success. His honours included 4th in the World Championships one year, a drag racing championship, and winning various track championships. All this was before he bought his first RX-7 – a Series 2 Mark 4 that he modified in various ways. He then literally re-constructed his UK spec Series 3 from an accident damaged shell that he acquired. The full story of this project will be in future issues and on the website.

Glenn Butcher, Website Manager and Track Day Organiser

Glenn is Australian born, but now lives in London. Having owned many rotary-engined cars in his life Glenn used to drag race them in Australia. Glenn has a large amount of experience in building websites – his personal site has been voted one of the top rotary websites.


Detroit Motor Show 2002 - In November 2001 the Club was approached by a company called Imagination, who are the Ford Group’s PR agency, for our help in creating the Mazda stand at the 2002 Detroit Motor Show. This is the first major show at which the production version of the RX-8 will be appearing in the USA. Imagination wanted us to help them by providing our views on the RX-7 and the RX-8, along with photographs, so that they could put together the background stand for the RX-8. The finished stand contains information from four of our members, along with a timeline showing a brief history of the RX-7. Pictures will be on the website soon.

New version of the Series 3 RX-7 released in Japan - A press release from Mazda on the 10th December 2001 stated that the Type R Bathurst would be released in Japan immediately. This car is the follow on from the Type R Bathurst R, limited to only 500 cars, which was released in Japan on 30th August 2001. The Bathurst has custom height adjustable dampers for “enhanced driving pleasure”. You can see a picture of this new RX-7 on the front cover of this issue.


Development – The RX-EVOLV

Mazda exhibited the RX-EVOLV at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show as a proposal for a new sports car with a packaging concept based on the next generation rotary engine, the RENESIS, (RE for Rotary Engine, and then Genesis). The car shown in Tokyo was metallic ice blue, but this was changed to red – “the colour of desire” – when it was shown in Detroit during January of 2000. The EVOLV made its British debut when it appeared at the Birmingham Motor Show in October 2000.

RX-8 – The Reasoning

As part of the brand image Mazda has identified key attributes that should be built into every vehicle. These are: “distinctive design”, “exceptional functionality”, and “responsive handling and performance”. Looking back at their heritage, which of course encompasses the Cosmo Sport and the RX-7, has inspired the new generation of products, including the RX-8.

In developing the RX-8 Mazda had to overcome two conflicting goals – a vehicle with sporty styling and superior performance, but also with a comfortable ride and functionality for four adults. This would enable the RX-8 to meet the expectations of a wider range of customers, not only sports car fans.

The Body

The RX-8 inherits the basic concept of the RX-EVOLV, with design changes to bring it closer to mass production. To accomplish this Mazda design studios in Japan, the USA and Europe each proposed a number of possible designs and competing ideas. Mazda wanted to adopt a design that no other carmaker could match, to be teamed with the unique RENESIS engine.

The start was designing a shell that met with the new design philosophy of “Emotion in Motion”. This was done by using the classic rear wheel drive sports layout, which places visual emphasis on the rear tyres. Short front and rear overhangs and characteristic overfenders were used to underline the look of stability.

There is a “power bulge” in the centre of the bonnet, which represents the rotors in the engine. This is accentuated by a low, dynamic front end with lines extending from the air intake along the hood. The five-point grill of the air intake is a common feature to many Mazda cars, including the RX-7. The front wheel arches also emphasise the sense of power by standing above the centre of the bonnet, whilst also giving the driver a clear view of the front corners of the vehicle.

The side profile provides a flowing sense from nose to tail, whilst still keeping strong, sharp lines. The freestyle door system, (4 doors with no central pillar), allows easy access without detraction from the style. There is also a double bubble roof, which is a distinguishing feature borrowed from the RX-7. The rear pillars have a cantilevered Z configuration and the rear window is similar to that of the Cosmo Sport and the RX-7.

The rear silhouette maintains the flavour of the early generations of the RX-7. It is designed to create a vivid impression as the car drives away, something that is considered to be an important aspect of all sports cars. The rear combination lights feature two round brake lamps, one with reversing light and one with turn signals, and have chrome accents. A rotor-shaped rear fog lamp is set low into the centre of the bumper, and the dual exhaust pipes are placed on either side of the body.

The Interior

The theme that Mazda gave to the interior was “a futuristic blend of the traditional and the modern”. The instrument panel features a large speedometer, and the tachometer gauges are based on chronographs. An aluminium plate covers the entire surface of the centre consol.

The four lightweight sports seats are designed to give support whilst not adding to the overall weight of the car. The thin seatbacks also give extra legroom to the passengers. The seat sides are covered with nubuck canvas and the shoulder and sides are shaped forwards for a hugging fit.

The RX-8 has a much larger luggage space than conventional sports cars. This is because the rear suspension springs are positioned lower and the rear side frame is located farther out. This results in more than 300 litres of luggage space, (enough for two suitcases).

RENESIS – The next generation Rotary Engine

The RENESIS is an advanced version of the MSP-RE concept rotary engine featured in the RX-01 concept car, which was exhibited in 1995 at the Tokyo Motor Show. When developing the RENESIS Mazda aimed to retain power output on a par with the 13B turbo, whilst offering improved fuel economy and emissions.

The rotors in the RENESIS weigh approximately 14% less than those used to power the current RX-7, and thus give better performance at high rev levels.

Previous production rotary engines employ peripheral exhaust ports and side intake ports. The new RENESIS engine is unlike these in that it has intake and exhaust ports in the side housings. This design eliminates the overlap between the opening of the intake and exhaust ports, thereby enhancing the efficiency of combustion.

A change in the intake ports has made them 30% larger and they are timed to open sooner. In addition the exhaust ports open later. This results in a longer power stroke and provides radically improved heat efficiency. At the same time the RENESIS uses a six-port induction system, which makes it possible to use the intake’s dynamic effect at high and low speeds to maximise compression efficiency. The additional exhaust port per rotor over previous designs results in a substantial reduction in exhaust resistance. Altogether these design changes make it possible for the RENESIS to run on a leaner fuel mixture than the older rotaries, meaning it consumes 40% less fuel while idling. The side exhaust layout also prevents unburned hydrocarbons, (the main source of pollution from rotary engines), from escaping from the combustion chamber into the exhaust ports. Instead they are carried over and burned in the next cycle, thus dramatically reducing emissions.

In addition to reducing fuel use and emissions the oil consumption has been halved from that of the previous rotary engines. The paths which supply oil directly to the interior walls of the RENESIS have been made as small as possible, and this has been combined with redesigned oil supply nozzles to improve efficiency. Furthermore, an oil pan height of just half that of older designs has reduced engine size and weight.

All the above improvements mean that the RENESIS is 30% lighter than the current 13B, and more compact. The engine block is only 338mm high, meaning that the engine could be mounted closer to the centre of the car, a full 60mm further rearward and 40mm lower than in the RX-7. This allows the achievement of perfect 50:50 front/rear weight distribution.

Safety and Performance

The location and size of the engine provides a large crumple zone between the engine and the front bumper, giving improved impact absorption in frontal collisions. The RX-8 also has a rigid body structure, achieved by a rigid underbody frame, a high-mount backbone running through the cabin and chassis re-enforcements. A locking mechanism allows the rear doors to open only when the front ones are. Active safety measures include 17 inch ventilated disc brakes on each of the 18-inch wheels, a non-retreated brake pedal mechanism, a four-wheel anti-lock braking system, and front and side airbags. A newly adopted dynamic stability control senses when the vehicle begins to skid or spin and counters it by controlling the engine torque and applying the brakes as needed.

The suspension set up aids both safety and performance. Long arm double wishbone suspension at the front and multi-link beam suspension at the rear provide ideal geometry. The upper and lower arms in both the front and rear are longer than those in the RX-7, and this means that the tyres remain perpendicular to the road throughout the length of suspension travel. This gives superior grip even during hard cornering.

Rack and Pinion steering gives accurate feedback on the road conditions, whilst an electric power-steering pump delivers exactly the right amount of assistance to match driving conditions. The electric pump also aids fuel economy, as it does not drain power from the engine.

The RX-8 is expected in the USA in the middle of this year. To watch the latest from Mazda visit their websites at either, or


 Mariah's current premisesMariah Motorsports is a family business run from Santa Barbara in California, USA. Set up in the early 1980’s the company specialises in all types of work on RX-7s, but especially in body kits and engine preparation. Dale and Vicky Spiller visited them whilst on holiday in November 2001.

Mariah's Mode 1 Body KitAll the body kits that Mariah sells are designed and made in-house. You can purchase these kits by mail order, and they come with everything you need to put them on your RX-7 – including full instructions.

The Mode 5There are various kits available for the Series 1 and Series 2 at present. These include the Mode 1, (shown above), the Mode 5, (shown right), and also racing kits such as the GTO. The kits for the Series 2 have the most dramatic effect.

As well as making body kits Mariah occasionally produces special project cars. In the past these have included a convertible Series 1, and also a 3 Rotor Twin Turbo, (pictured left). This car was a rare 10th Anniversary Turbo II that had an equally rare Eunos Cosmo 3-rotor engine installed, allowing it to reach 580bhp. From the project’s start in 1993 the documented cost of the car was a mere $73,800! The car has recently been sold, but full details of this, and all the other products, can be found on Mariah’s website.


Jeff Hagerty

Mariah Motorsports - 414 North Salsipuedes, Santa Barbara, California, USA

Tel: 001 805 965 5115 - Fax: 001 805 965 5332 -

Also visit the Club website for links to other rotary companies in the USA


Visited by Glenn Butcher in December 2001, Rotary Power Australia specialise in building rotary powered street, drag racing, and circuit racing cars, all the way up to the Japanese Grand Touring Cars JGTC (see below). Dennis Marquis in the USA owns the yellow “Import” Drag Racing 3rd gen. RX-7 pictured above. The engine for this car is a 13G/20B (3-rotor) Peripheral Ported, Turbo. On an engine dyno they reached an amazing 1200bhp! Hopefully this will be the first Rotary Powered car in the world to run a sub 7 second ¼ mile pass.


Teamed with the OKURA motorsport establishment, ROTARY POWER have built & maintained this car for the toughest field of RX-7 racing on the planet. Delivered to Japan at the start of the 98 season after testing & shakedown sessions in New Zealand, the RX-7 has mixed it with the best Japan has to offer & has including the services of Japans most famous racer, Mr Yoshimi Katayama, Mazda’s factory race driver.

Sports Sedan - 2nd generation RX-7

Another circuit racing car in the hands of Rotary Power Australia at the moment.

This car was originally built in the USA for the IMSA category.

Engine configuration is a 13G/20B Peripheral Ported – turbo, outputs around 800hp.

Other cars currently in the build:

Beautiful installation of a twin-turbo 13B engine for a 2nd generation RX-7. Fabrication work is outstanding. Single Turbo 3rd generation RX-7 in for some Rotary Power treatment! Another car, which has been in the build for the past 2 years is Allistair Chenery’s “EVIL7” 3rd gen. This is being built as the most powerful street registered rotary in the world at around 1,000hp. It will have a similar engine to that of Dennis Marquis’.

All the cars built by Rotary Power run MoTeC engine management systems. Rotary Power specialise in the installation and tuning of MoTeC. MoTeC Australia are an Australian based company who sell their products world-wide. Their systems are in use on all types of racecars from Touring cars through to Le Mans cars.

Virtually all the cars that leave Rotary Power’s workshop will have no less than 500bhp under the bonnet!

Rotary Power Australia (incorporating City Performance Centre)

Tel: + 61 (0)2 9357 6333 - Fax: + 61 (0)2 9357 6077 -


Whilst in Australia, Glenn Butcher also visited the Drag Racing scene in Sydney. Drag race meetings are held on a regular basis at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway. Eastern Creek is around 45mins drive directly west from the center of Sydney. There are usually around 250 cars competing, and a healthy crowd of up to 10,000 people on a Wednesday night!

All types of cars are represented at the meetings, from the latest model Japanese through to early model Holden’s and Ford’s. Quarter mile times for most of the cars running at Eastern Creek would be around the mid 12 second mark, which is extremely quick (i.e. much quicker than a 355 Ferrari!).

The fastest pass of the night went to a Silver RX-3 running a 20B turbo engine (pictured right), car built by PAC Performance of Sydney. It ran a quarter mile of 9.4 seconds, at an astounding 142mph.

To date, the quickest Rotary Powered car in Australia is Grant Williams, running a 7.94 @ 167mph!

See the “links page” on our website, for links through to the various rotary companies based in Australia.


The articles, features, opinions and advertisements that appear in Rotary Revs are accepted in good faith by The Club accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage that may occur. All normal precautions should be taken.

rotary-revs/issue1.txt · Last modified: 2014/04/28 21:57 by admin