Mazda has never been one to shy away from stuff under the bonnet that others leave well alone. Hence the adoption of the Millar cycle engine and, of course, the screaming rotary engine, which Festival of Speed visitors will be able to hear like never before, when a selection of rotary-engined Le Mans race cars, including the legendary 787B, park up in front of the house over the weekend, after their trip up the hill, and let their engines whirr and punch.
However, Mazda is above all an engineering-led company, so the technology isn’t confined to past race cars and the RX-8 sports car. Due to the rotary engine’s specific advantages of small size, light weight, high power and quietness Mazda is currently looking at its involvement in the field of electric cars
Meanwhile, the company’s SKYACTIV tech is an impressive piece of kit, designed to hit that Holy manufacturing Grail of staying economical and environmentally friendly without impacting on performance for the driver. It forms such a central pillar for the brand ethos that its lightweight focus informs this year’s Central Feature, the famous annual sculpture by Gerry Judah that towers over Goodwood House for the Festival.
Mazda boldly states that its cars now “feature the world´s best compression ratios in a mass production model”. The company’s SkyActiv diesel and petrol engines have concentrated on advanced direct fuel-injection techniques and optimised piston positioning, and the tech has increased torque, lowered C02 emissions, and improved fuel consumption. But SkyActiv also means lighter chassis with better stability, and lighter, stronger bodies.
With its mix of a stellar racing heritage, constant technological and design evolution and the world’s best-selling roadster under its belt, Mazda is a worthy Festival of Speed Featured Marque this year.