Mazda RX-8 to end production with special SPIRIT R edition, but only in Japan
Mazda is waving the checkered flag for the rotary-powered RX8 worldwide, and to salute it as it departs, Mazda is making a special edition called the SPIRIT R... that will only be available in Japan. The SPIRIT R name pays homage to the RX8's father, the RX7, which ended its own production in Japan in 1999 with a SPIRIT R edition, four years after exiting the US market. Like that special RX7, the RX8 SPIRIT R will also be very exclusive: Mazda only plans to sell 1,000 examples of it.
The Mazda RX8 SPIRIT R will feature special badging blacked-out headlights and taillights, embroidering on the special Recaro seats as well as the optional 18-inch wheels like on the USDM RX8s, but in a gold color. Behind those wheels will sit red brake calipers.
Mazda's representative director Takashi Yamanouchi said "We have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of the famous victory in the Le Mans 24-hour race 20 years ago by demonstrating the winning 787B racecar at Le Mans' Circuit De La Sarthe and various other events around the world." "These events have been a powerful reminder of the widespread passion for the rotary engine, and although RX8 production is ending, the rotary engine will always represent the spirit of Mazda and Mazda remains committed to its ongoing development."
Rumors abound as to what the next rotary-engined Mazda will be, but with the characteristic thirstiness and lousy emissions of rotary engines, we're curious to see if there will ever be another Mazda rotary after the government cracks down on those very issues in the next decade.