Mazda RX-8 SP Goes E85 at Targa
April 14th, 2010
Mazda Australia will use ethanol blend fuel to power its turbo rotary Mazda RX-8 SP at the upcoming Targa Tasmania rally.
With event regulations now encouraging competitors to go green and consider alternate fuels, Mazda Motorsport has opted to run its turbo rotary rally car on the low-emitting E85 blend fuel.
Already used in V8 Supercars, Targa Tasmania is the second major motorsport event in Australia to introduce this renewable fuel with event organisers committed to delivering zero nett emissions by the 20th Anniversary event next year.
Derived from sugar cane crops, ethanol produces less than half the CO2 emissions of petrol. But while offering obvious benefits to the environment, E85 also helps to enhance performance through its natural cooling properties.
“Covering long distances at competition speed can really put a lot of pressure on an engine, particularly one that is turbocharged,” explains Mazda Motorsport chief Allan Horsley. “In short, engine cooling in an endurance rally like Targa can make or break your campaign – so it’s absolutely vital to get it right.
“It was a long and fiddly process making the turbocharged rotary compatible with E85 but because all petrol-powered Mazda passenger vehicles can run on E10 blend fuel, it made the process a lot easier.”
The Mazda RX-8 SP finished a stunning 10th outright on debut at last year’s Targa Tasmania rally, but Horsley admits its campaign was not without a few niggling temperature issues.
“After last year’s event we knew we had some work to do on ensuring a consistent engine temperature for its next outing,” continued Horsley. “I’m confident that our move to E85 is a step in the right direction towards achieving this for Targa 2010.”
Targa Tasmania Event Director, Mark Perry, believes the fuel move is an important step for the event and Mazda.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase ethanol as a quality renewable fuel being used in high-performance road cars,” said Perry. “The use of E85 will see high-performance sports cars cut their CO2 emissions in half.
“It’s a great innovation and we are thrilled to see Mazda embrace this technology, which is helping us ensure that Targa remains relevant and doesn’t become a dinosaur of the past.”
Mazda will also provide Targa Tasmania with two New Mazda6 Diesels for use as official course cars. Sydney-based privateer Peter Brown will also campaign his Mazda3 Diesel in the event’s Showroom competition.
Targa Tasmania will be held from April 27-May 3. Driving the E85-powered Mazda RX-8 SP is South Australian Steve Glenney. Victorian Brendan Reeves in a New Generation Mazda3 MPS rally car rounds out Mazda Australia’s two-pronged attack on Targa.