Mazda has stepped into the ring and thrown down the environmental gauntlet by building the Mazda Furai concept, the first street-legal race car to run entirely on ethanol.
Continuing to expand on their experience with the RX-8 Renesis hybrid edition, Mazda has extended their foray into ecologically-friendly performance with this truly stunning effort.
Furai means ‘the sound of wind’ in Japanese, and the extreme styling of the Furai Concept certainly lives up to its name.
Resembling nothing more than the wild imaginings of a deranged Hot Wheels designer, the Furai incorporates a 3 rotor rotary engine that generates 450 horsepower.
Every aspect of the car’s exterior appearance has been implemented in order to increase performance: the headlight trim pieces are part of the aero package, as are the under car diffuser and high pressure zones above the front wheels.
Air is also scooped through side and front bodywork and channeled to the rear brakes, the oil and transmission cooler, and the engine radiator.
Mazda essentially adapted their American Le Mans racing template for street use, preserving the carbon-composite tub that surrounds the passenger compartment and provides rigidity, lightness and safety.
While the interior is slightly wider than the racing edition, butterfly doors make it easier to enter and exit the cockpit.
Interior finishing is also of a less austere nature than would typically be found in a track car, with electronics for the Motec data capture and power train controllers hidden away so as to provide room for a passenger.
Chances are that Mazda will neither race the Furai Concept nor mass produce it for general sale. Its function is as a test bed both for high technology and for the design philosophy Mazda refers to as ‘Nagare’, which they claim is guiding their overall styling efforts.
It is hoped that one day Nagare, in its most extreme form, will be able to produce a production supercar similar in performance and execution to the Furai Concept.