08 January 2008

Hell hath no Furai

You can always rely on Mazda to provide a treat at the big motor shows

Mazda Furai concept

You can always rely on Mazda to provide a treat at the big motor shows, but the Japanese manufacturer looks set to outdo even its own high standards in Detroit with this, the Furai concept.

Just look at it. There's an obvious dose of Mazda's 'Nagare' design language we saw in the Ryuga, Hakaze and Taiki concepts, but with a whole bunch more aggression and downright cool.

That's because the Furai is based on Mazda's American Le Mans Series endurance racer chassis, the Courage C65. Mazda says the Furai aims to blur the boundary between trackday specials and supercars.

"We were looking for a way to bridge the gap between Mazda Motorsports and the production vehicles in our lineup," said a Mazda designer. "The purpose of Furai is to find a meeting point for these disparate interests."

Which means all the Furai's swoopy bodywork is strictly functional, providing downforce and reducing drag to keep the two-seater as slippery as a greased otter.

Power comes courtesy of a 450bhp three-rotor rotary engine running on pure bioethanol. Even with a top speed of 180mph, that means the Furai is technically a green car - just the sort of green car we like, in fact.

The stealth orange-on-matt-black paintjob is inspired by the livery of the Mazda 787B, the only ever Japanese winner of the Le Mans 24 Hour back in 1991.

But the Furai, sadly, is unlikely to ever reach the track. Mazda says it does not intend to race the Furai or sell it to the public, but will instead use it as a rolling testbed for design and aerodynamic alterations.

Which sounds very much like it's asking to be driven. We'll be doing our best to secure a cheeky drive in the Furai in Detroit next week.

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.