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Rally Mazda RX-8 with a Screaming, Flame-Spitting 3-Rotor 20b in Action

All rally cars should have a high-revving rotary engine

Jonathon Klein
Jul 24, 2017

Mazda has an all too brief history in the world of rally. In 1984, just a year before the pathologically insane era of Group B came to an end, Mazda's Rally Team Europe, began work on a rotary powered Group B RX-7 homologation.

It featured an all-wheel drive system, a 13B twin-rotor Wankel screaming out 300 horsepower, and a modified Weber 51 IDA carburetor. But before it could ever turn a wheel in anger, the class was abolished, and the car moth-balled. Thankfully, there are still some who remember.

Built by Markus Van Klink, who's won historic rally championships down under in a RX-7, for rally and hillclimb racing, this rally-fied Mazda RX-8 features a three-rotor 20b engine that sends a claimed 370 horsepower to the rear wheels and the rear wheels alone. The end result is a flame-spitting, gravel-chucking, devilishly delectable rally car that sends shockwaves of rotary noises through forests.

In the clip, you're treated to the wonderfully manic noises from the 20b rotary engine. The high-revving engine doesn't sound too different from its four-rotor cousin that powered the famed 787b Le Mans-winning racecars. Maybe the RX-8 sounds slightly tamer than the wild 787b, but not by much.

The purpose-built machine also features a massive rear wing, that looks as if it was lifted from the last generation Rally America Subaru WRX STI competition car, gravel spec tires, a set of Method Racing wheels, a sequential gearbox, and hydraulic handbrake. It also has a driver that apparently doesn't have a lick of self-preservation as he slides the RX-8 at ludicrous speeds through a particularly heavily tree-lined section of gravel road.

While this video makes us want seat time in this particular RX-8, it also makes us yearn for the days that Mazda still built rotary-powered sports cars. And while there are rumors the company may bring the rotary and RX-moniker back from the dead, we've seen little to support these rumors, aside from the nowhere-near-production-ready RX-Vision concept we saw at the Tokyo Motor Show not too long ago. Let's just cross our fingers that one day we see these interesting machines once again on the road.

By Jonathon Klein
83 Articles

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