Sports hero re­born?

A de­sign ex­ists for a new Mazda RX-7, writes Neil Dowl­ing in Ger­many

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

THE world’s sports-car fans could spark a re­turn of the Mazda RX-7. An all-new sports-car hero is al­ready de­signed, with new-age ro­tary en­gines ready for the job, but Mazda bosses have yet to make a com­mit­ment to a re­turn for the two-seater sports car.

In­stead, they are wait­ing to see if buy­ers will re­turn to the RX-7.

Mazda chief en­gi­neer Ikuo Maeda says it’s his ‘‘dream’’ to make a new RX-7, but he’s not too op­ti­mistic.

And he warns that any born-again RX-7 will be very dif­fer­ent from the old car that was, coin­ci­den­tally, de­signed by his fa­ther.

‘‘We have to­tally op­po­site de­sign tastes. He likes sim­plic­ity of form — I like com­plex­ity,’’ Maeda says.

Asked by cars­Guide if an RX-7 is back on the ta­ble, Maeda ad­mits there are draw­ings, but Mazda Mo­tor Cor- po­ra­tion is yet to give any go-ahead. ‘‘Mazda will build it if peo­ple want it,’’ he says.

But Maeda warns that young Ja­panese car buy­ers are not send­ing much sup­port for an RX-7.

‘‘In Ja­pan, the younger gen­er­a­tion are less in­ter­ested in cars and there’s not much de­mand for sports cars.

‘‘But in other parts of the world, I think there is strong de­mand,’’ he says.

If there is a new RX-7 it could fol­low the theme of the fu­ture Toy­ota-Subaru FT-86 coupe and the Lexus LFA su­per­car, but Maeda says he won’t de­sign a new RX-7 to com­pete with the Toy­ota.

‘‘ Ours would be a much more se­ri­ous sports car than the Toy­ota,’’ says the de­signer, who is a prom­i­nent tour­ing car racer and pi­lots an MX-5 in sports-car events.

‘‘It would be a more gen­uine sports car — light­weight, com­pact, ro­tary en­gine and rear drive. A sports car should be rear-wheel drive.’’

Though Mazda is push­ing ahead with its new Shi­nari de­sign theme, Maeda says it will not be ap­plied to the com­pany’s ex­ist­ing sports car, the MX-5. ‘‘The MX-5 has a sep­a­rate his­tory to the other mod­els, so it will have to re­tain its own iden­tity,’’ Maeda says. ‘‘It will be ap­plied to the MX-5, but it won’t adopt all the ideas. It will have a com­bi­na­tion of de­signs.’’

Strong de­mand: Mazda bosses are yet to give the go-ahead for a new Mazda RX-7 sports car.

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