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Rotary Reboot: Mazda’s RX-Vision GT3 Concept Is Now Drivable in Gran Turismo

A fresh take on a most memorable rotary-powered concept car.

Rory JurneckaWriterManufacturerPhotographer

It's been almost five years since Mazda presented its RX-Vision concept car at the 2015 Tokyo auto show, but with its striking, long-hood, low-slung coupe profile and promise of rotary engine power, we haven't forgotten it. Apparently, neither has Mazda. The Japanese automaker has somewhat restyled the RX-Vision into the RX-Vision GT3 Concept, and the best part is you can drive it virtually in "Gran Turismo Sport", the popular driving simulation game developed exclusively for the Sony PlayStation 4 console. The Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept will be available for download starting Friday, May 22, 2020. 2020.

We were stunned by the RX-Vision Concept when we saw it in Tokyo all those years ago. Despite proportions that couldn't help but be compared to the Mercedes-AMG GT—though in truth, the Mazda was even more dramatically elongated—fans of Mazda's past RX series of rotary sports cars, including the RX-7 and RX-8, were certainly hoping that the RX-Vision would end up being more than just a good-looking styling model.

The concept was said to feature a new rotary engine up front, which the brand called "Skyactiv-R," a nod to its then-recently implemented Skyactiv engine naming conventions. Inside the concept's right-hand-drive cabin, we saw a gorgeous metal spherical manual shift knob, a wildly dished three-spoke, leather-covered steering wheel, drilled aluminum pedals, and a sport-focused instrument panel, with a giant, central 10,000-rpm tachometer flanked by a speedometer to the right and a multi-gauge display on the left.

From what we can see in photos of the Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept virtual car, the basic shape of the dashboard and center console remain mostly intact, despite a shift to a left-hand-drive configuration. That's where the similarities end, however, with the virtual racer sporting a motorsports-inspired all-digital instrument cluster, four-spoke steering wheel, and stripped-down center console with plenty of racy-looking switchgear. There's also only a driver's seat in this rendition, a racing-style bucket, along with window netting and a full roll cage.

Exterior changes echo the newfound purposefulness of the RX-Vision GT3 Concept, with a massive carbon fiber rear wing, a similarly profound front carbon fiber splitter, widely flared front and rear fenders, a set of air vents along the front fender tops, and a side-exit exhaust. Large center-lock nine-spoke wheels, Michelin racing slicks, and a rear diffuser seem to round out the changes from the original RX-Vision concept.

With many racers, both would-be and real, spending their free hours playing various racing simulation games, including "Gran Turismo Sport", the release of a new virtual race car couldn't come at a better time. Mazda also says that those using virtual Mazda vehicles in the game will be able to drive in the Gran Turismo Championship, an FIA-certified virtual racing series that will be held in various global locations this year. Mazda says that the Ricmotech iRacing Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series, hosted on the iRacing sim platform, is another way the brand is getting involved with online racing, with events having started earlier this month and running through June 2 with actual MX-5 Cup drivers participating.

Is Mazda's virtual RX-Vision GT3 Concept supposed to keep our spirits high for an upcoming rotary-powered sports car? With no further comment from Mazda, one can only hope.