The Mazda Furai (pronounced ‘foo-rye’) concept has already graced the pages of Speedhunters a couple of times, but I thought this stunning concept deserved its own feature.
The Furai is a concept car, designed by Mazda’s Californian Design studio and Swift Engineering. It is built on an old Courage C65 LMP2 race-car chassis. The concept made its debut at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year.
The design is the fifth in the ‘Nagare’ series of Mazda concepts, all of which have ribbed flow lines along the side of the car, emphasizing aerodynamic flow and motion of the car.
The Furai is one of the most dramaic designs in the seies. Starting at the front of the car, the flowing lines start off calmly at the front of car, and expand into outer air intakes which incorporate futuristic lights.
A single surface crease flows from the outer edge of the air intake, over the front fender and down the side before it kicks up into the rear air-intake.
Additional creases appear along the side of the car becoming more agressive as they flow towards the back.
Even the rear diffuser continues with this concept. Its like a visual wind-tunnel on wheels! It really is a stunning piece of design.
The cockpit area and engine cover continue with theme with flowing arcs forming window lines, intakes, slatted air outlets and shutlines.
The engine cover incorporates a stylised air-intake and a great mesh grille design.
The lines show up well in the Dark Grey painted bodywork (Silver and Dark Greys are always good for showing subtle surface treatment). Some elements have been picked out in a contrasting ‘rocket red’ hue.
Stylish, but stupidly small mirrors start off a silver strip which runs along the top of the doors into the engine cover.
The interior is minimalist, harking back to its race car roots. A race-car style steering wheel sits in front of a simple flowing dashboard in Red and Dark Grey.
This runs around the interior, below the high entry doors (remember, its a Le Mans race car underneath). Two stylised (read – probably not very comfortable) race seats complete the package.
The concept has fantastic proportions, largely thanks to its racecar origins.
Under the skin, its pure Courage ALMS racer, but the original Mazda race-car engine has been replaced by a Rotary unit which runs on E100 Ethanol.
Like most race-cars, this concept has a livery. This, along with the race number, was inspired by the Le Mans winning Mazda 787B. Sponsors are from their 2007 American Le Mans Series campaign.
As you can see, the car is a ‘full-runner’ and has been driven around a number of circuits. Check out the videos, linked at the end.
Overall its a very well resolved concept and shows perfectly how flowing lines can enhance a 3D form. Its also reminds the world that Mazda is heavily involved in Motorsports, from semi-works involvment in ALMS, to one make MX5 series around the world and grass-roots support for privateers with the Mazdaspeed brand.
Its great for a concept, but it would be very hard incorporating some of these elements onto anything other than a supercar. It will be interesting to see how the Nagare series influences future Mazda products (and other manufactures) in the coming years.
Make sure you watch the videos!