If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered at one point or another, why doesn’t Mazda turbocharge the RX-8 and the MX-5 as regular production models?
The answer is long and complicated, we’ve been told by inside sources that even though Mazda Australia has always been keen (and has made special edition turbo models with the MX-5), one of the reasons is that Mazda Japan is hard to convince.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop Mazda Australia from proving to its parent company that it’s worth doing. Out of a desire to show the RX-8’s capabilities (and to enter a rally), a standard Mazda RX-8 GT has been turbocharged and race prepared to enter one of the toughest endurance races in Australia.
Manned by the 2008 Targa champion Steve Glenney, the 205kW RX-8 is sure to impress at this year’s Targa Tasmania.
It’s worth noting that Mazda Motorsport Australia has put together its biggest Targa team in 10 years, in times when most manufacturers would consider motor sports a luxury. Such is the importance of competitive motor sports to Mazda.
The RX-8 will compete in the modern competition while its small brother, the Mazda3 MPS, will fight it out for honours in the showroom two-wheel-drive category.
The near 2000km five day rally will no doubt test every aspect of all cars and a positive result for the turbocharged RX-8 could be a huge push in the right direction for Mazda Motorsport Australia.
Mazda is not new to turbocharged rear-wheel-drive rotary powered rally cars, having last entered Targa Tasmania in an RX-7 SP in 2002 ( piloted by Rick Bates).
For those of you interested, Targa Tasmania runs from April 28 to May 3 and includes approximately 1890km of racing.
Mazda RX-8 SP
Engine: Rotary Turbo
Transmission: six-speed manual, RWD
Fuel tank: 65 litres
Kerb weight: 1280kg
Wheels: 18-inch MAZDASPEED alloys