It is a rare thing for a single car to captivate an entire industry like the Mazda Furai did. It was released in 2008 at the Detroit Motor show, the world media jumped on it with complete agreement that Mazda had shown us something very special. It became the poster car on every boys wall, the screen saver on every Automotive fan and my personal favorite shape to come out of Japan in the past 15 years.
Built on top of the Courage C65 Le Mans prototype chassis and powered by a 450-hp 3-rotor (20B) wankel engine, The motor was built and tuned by Racing Beat, a widely renowned rotary tuner, tuned on an E100 Ethanol fuel. This car has it all, Looks, Style, power, and a massive presence on the race track.
The Furai (sound of Wind) was designed as the 5th and last of the “Nagare” line of concepts, But unlike most concept cars, The Furai was designed to be functional and was tested at various tracks.
Alot of people ask about the #55 number branded on the car. This was a tribute to the 1991 24 Hour Le Mans Winning Race-car called “787B” which was the last Rotary powered Race-car produced by mazda.
The Basic Proportions of the Fuari are a race car designers wet dream. It is less than 102cm high but more than 203cm wide. This gives the perfect amount of track width while not pushing too much wind out of the way.
The Aero package is a work of art, The headlights act as a front Nose cone to put down force over the front of the chassis. This is helped along by the creation of a high-pressure zones over the front wheels. Clever ducts on the flat under body of the car guides cold air into the engines radiators while sucking the car to the road.
Front and rear brake ducting is a given, but what is crazy is that these brake ducts is that they also act as a stabilizer and create extra down force on each corner of the chassis.
As you can see in these videos the Furai had a real presence on the track, the exhaust note and dimensions (twice as wide as it was tall) snapped necks whenever it was on track.
Now here is where the story takes a nasty turn. Rumor has it that only months after the car was released it was given to Topgear as part of a marketing deal done by Mazda. This was the last time the Furai was ever seen. Some reports have come out stating that it was destroyed in 2008 and kept from the world for 5 years. Others say it happened much later and was leaked by BBC to promote their 200th issue of Topgear magazine.
All we know if that a fire started in the rear of the car and due to the materials used in the construction it was burnt to the ground before fire crews could even get to it.
It was a sad day for any Automotive enthusiast when these photos are released. Both Mazda and Topgear have never released an official statement as to what happened to the Furai, Maybe we will never know. I for one would love to see the Furai name revamped and released as a Le Mans entry in the future.
Say tuned for more feature cars and Technical articles.