The Mazda Furai (マツダふうらい Mazda Furai) was a concept car revealed on 27 December 2007 and manufactured by Mazda. A teaser image of the vehicle was released on 11 December 2007. The Furai officially debuted at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
|Designer||Swift Engineering with Mazda's design studio, Southern California|
|Body and chassis|
|Platform||Courage C65 LMP2|
|Engine||450 hp (336 kW) R20B RENESIS 3 Rotor Engine|
|Transmission||X-trac 6 speed semi-automatic|
|Wheelbase||2,790 mm (109.8 in)|
|Length||4,563 mm (179.6 in)|
|Width||1,956 mm (77.0 in)|
|Height||977 mm (38.5 in)|
|Curb weight||675 kg|
The Furai (風籟 Fūrai), meaning "sound of the wind", was the fifth and last of the Nagare line of concept cars that have been made by Mazda since 2006. The chassis was based on the Courage Compétition C65 Le Mans Prototype that Mazda last used to compete in the American Le Mans Series, two seasons previously and was designed to use E100 ethanol fuel, it was powered by a heavily modified 20B 3-rotor wankel engine that put out 450 brake horsepower (340 kW). The engine was developed and built by renowned rotary tuner, Racing Beat, who also built the car's rotary-shaped muffler canister.
The car wore the number 55, that of its 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning ancestor, the 787B. Unlike many concept cars, the Furai was fully functional and was tested at various tracks. It ran at Laguna Seca and Buttonwillow.
The head designer, Laurens van den Acker, had stated in an interview with Top Gear magazine that there would have been possibilities of the Furai being used for racing in Le Mans, and he also had strong hopes that the car could be brought to the market.
The Mazda Furai also appears as a playable vehicle in various video game series such as Real Racing 3, Gran Turismo, Forza, GRID, Asphalt and GT Racing. Additionally, a die-cast toy of the car has been made by Hot Wheels.
On November 29, 2013, Top Gear was given the opportunity to make the story about the Furai's demise public. It was explained that the vehicle caught on fire during a photography session at Bentwaters Parks on August 19, 2008, at 11:52 am. Driver Mark Ticehurst was piloting the Furai when the engine bay caught fire while cresting a hill on the backside of the track. Ticehurst was able to escape the car before the fire spread to the cabin area. Due to the location of the accident, fire crews were initially unaware of the incident, and took several minutes to reach the Furai. By this time, the car was completely engulfed in flames. The fire took approximately eight minutes to extinguish, and the Furai was destroyed as a result. Although the car's remains were initially taken to Mazda's Advanced Design Studio in Irvine, California, the ultimate fate of the Furai's charred remains is not publicly known.
- Phillips, Drew (2007-12-27). "Mazda Furai breaks cover!". Autoblog. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- Wert, Ray (2007-12-27). "Mazda Furai, Revealed". Jalopnik. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- Nunez, Alex (2007-12-11). "Mazda Furai concept, 2009 RX-8 to debut". Autoblog. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- Wert, Ray (2007-12-11). "Mazda to Reveal Furai Concept, 2009 Mazda RX-8 at Detroit Auto Show". Jalopnik. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- Drew Phillips RSS feed. "Detroit 2008: Mazda Furai looks even better in person". Autoblog. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Mazda RX-7 Performance Parts". Racingbeat.com. 2012-05-10. Archived from the original on 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Hell hath no Furai". Top Gear. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- http://www.forzamotorsport.net/enus/games/fm4/cars/mazda[permanent dead link]
- "SOMETIMES WE GOT IT WRONG". topgear.com. 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- Mallory McMorrow (2013-09-10). "Losing the Mazda Furai - A Designer Reacts - Road & Track". Roadandtrack.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
- "How the Mazda Furai died". topgear.com. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2013-11-29.