How Quickly You Forget

It is interesting how quickly you forget how smooth the rotary engine is if you haven’t driven one recently. I had a chance to drive our Project RX-8 to a rotary meet in Seattle, which is roughly a 2 hour drive each way. After getting into the car and heading up the freeway the engine is completely invisible while cruising at freeway speeds. The only sign you have of the engine being there is the sound from the intake and exhaust. The rest of the time you just feel the pull of the car while going around the people driving slow in the left lane. All of this without the vibration of a reciprocating engine.

The car I normally drive to events is the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. The power from the DISI engine in the Mazdaspeed 3 is more like someone whacking you into the seat due to the torque hit when the boost comes on at 3000rpm. The fun is short lived though because you have to shift earlier (about 3000 rpm earlier) than the rotary. The RX-8 is happy to scream all the way to 9000rpm when the buzzer sounds, signaling the fun is about to come to an end at the rev limiter and it is time to change gears. Oh the sound the engine makes at higher RPM with the CorkSport exhaust. It is an intoxicating sound that you don’t want to come to an end. This is as close as you can get to a formula car high RPM sound without going to the racetrack.

If you haven’t driven a rotary powered car I recommend you give it a shot. Just make sure you get a chance to do it with some wide open roads and some corners to enjoy what the rest of us rotary nuts love.


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