With the Furai Concept, Mazda puts a green spin on its rotary engine. Introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the racing-inspired concept boasts a rotary engine capable of running on pure alcohol.
Some might say Mazda has an unhealthy obsession with the rotary engine as an alternate form of vehicle propulsion. Instead of pistons and cylinders, rotaries use triangular rotors spinning in oval chambers to achieve power.
Mazda first offered a rotary to American buyers in 1970 with the arrival of the R100 subcompact coupe. Rotary engines never accounted for more than a fraction of Mazda's vehicle production, but famously powered three generations of the maker's RX-7 sports cars. Today, Mazda's RX-8 is the only vehicle available in North America powered by a rotary engine.
Unlike RX-8, which uses a two-rotor engine, the Furai Concept uses a three-rotor engine that produces 450 horsepower while running on 100 percent ethanol fuel (E100).
Furai's exterior styling is inspired by American Le Mans Series (ALMS) racecars. Furai's basic platform comes from Mazda's "Courage C65" that was used in the ALMS series of races in 2006. As this is a design and technology exercise, Furai, which means "sound of the wind" in Japanese, will likely remain just a concept.