Monday, March 12, 2018

Why Mazda Doesn't Test at the Nürburgring Nordschleife


Setting and breaking lap records on the Nürburgring Nordschleife has become a pissing contest of sorts for car manufacturers. Today, the development of a vehicle, especially those of the high-performance variety, isn’t complete without any sort of mention of lap times at the 22.810-kilometer circuit known as “The Green Hell.” That is, unless you’re Mazda.

“Testing at the Nürburgring [Nordschleife] is very expensive,” says Susumu Niinai, General Manager for Mazda’s ASEAN business. “We rather spend on extensive computer modeling to get our cars right and just use on-road testing to verify what the models tell us.”

Named as one of the world’s top supercomputer sites, Mazda has invested in at least three supercomputers that help them with computer simulation in areas such as vehicle structural analysis for improved safety and reduced weight.

The cost for one of these supercomputers isn’t cheap: US$ 10 million. And while that’s not chump change, consider that Hyundai spent US$ 7.6 million just to put up a R&D center at the Nürburgring while Toyota is willing to fork out US$ 21.8 billion to put up their own miniaturized version of The Green Hell. By context, ten million dollars isn’t looking that big, isn’t it?

Niinai-san, who’s the former Program Manager for Powertrain Development also revealed another interesting insight.


“Developing a car that’s good on the Nürburgring may not necessarily be good on the public road. For you to break lap records on such a demanding circuit, you’ll need quick steering, a very powerful engine, and maybe even a stiffened suspension. These characteristics may be sought-after in a racetrack, but they are also tiring and therefore not enjoyable to drive daily.”

Moving towards a human-centric design philosophy, Mazda is done with chasing track records and lap times. They’ve even done away with detailed competitor comparisons and benchmarking. Instead, they’ve focused their efforts on understanding the human body and how it interacts with a vehicle. By studying how the body moves, Mazda has allowed its drivers to make the most of their natural abilities.

“It’s not about pushing driving performance in the rawest sense,” explains Niinai-san. “It’s about making driving a Mazda car feel natural for people.”

Of course, Mazda isn’t shutting the door completely when it comes to developing a car to take on the famed German circuit. After all, they are the only Japanese manufacturer to have won the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Personally, I want to drive on the Nürburgring,” says Niinai-san. “At Mazda, we have a culture that’s centered around driving [managers routinely receiving driver training at Mazda’s own Mine Proving Ground and Circuit in Yamaguchi, Japan] and hopefully we’ll get the chance to go there…hopefully when Mazda decides that we build and engineer a car worthy of challenging the Nürburgring.”

While the Hiroshima-based carmaker is extremely mum about its future product plans (including how the rotary engine could return), the wait may not be that long. As Mazda celebrates its centennial year in 2020, there could potentially be a great surprise awaiting Mazda fans and car enthusiasts alike.

19 comments:

  1. It's a shame that company that builds fun cars not being able to bring one to the challenge. However, they have a point in their philosophy. Most fast cars aside from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Jaguar are cold and numb in a sense that you'll only feel the sensation of speed but there's no joy. I've driven cars from humble subcompacts to a BMW Z4 and while the BMW is really fast on its feet, it feels cold compared to an MX-5. Sure, the MX-5 is slower than the Z4 but there's this satisfaction and joy in the MX-5 that I can't even explain why it feels more fun and enjoyable than the more expensive Z4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sir anong variant ng z4 nadrive mo? And are you comparing it to the mx5 ND?

      Delete
  2. LMAO. Halatang takot sa Nurburgring etong mga Mazda!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^Have you read fully the article?

      Delete
    2. Why Mazda doesn't test... = takot...
      Maybe he did read the article, just didn't understand any of it.

      Delete
    3. Or maybe this is mazdas way of brainwashing u. Lol

      Delete
    4. Brainwashing? Have you ever driven one? A mazda 3 drives a whole lot better than any competitor in the same segment, that says a lot. And if you ever drove or even just watch videos of fast cars, yes the speed is there, but the feeling of satisfaction isn't. Imagine having a 500+hp Ford Mustang but you can't even rev it into 3k rpm due to the 100km/h speed limit here, lol.

      Delete
    5. Lmao! Mag celerio ka na lng kung sinusunod mo speed limit!

      Delete
    6. ^shows that you're one of those bastard drivers that puts people around them in danger. You did not even answered the question above, showing that you're a noob.

      Delete
    7. Subukan mo magpatakbo sa provincial highways, walang speed limit na sinusunod. Yung iba umaabot ng 200km/h. Ingat lang sa mga bobong naka motorsiklo, tricycle, van, jeep, at truck.

      Delete
  3. I do think it's a wise decision by Mazda since they don't have a halo car as of the moment. It would just be a waste of precious money.

    Is it good for the company? Short term, definitely yes
    Long term? Mazda really should make it a reality and not just a prototype in able to counter its main competition from Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Honda and Ford. More choices will make us consumers the winner.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mazda doesn't make any fast cars so what s the point

    ReplyDelete
  5. No fast cars? The only Japanese Winner of 24hrs of Le Mans. Nuff said

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which was almost 30 years ago. Look at their cars now, fast in name only -- Mazdaspeed

      Delete
    2. LMAO! Walang kadala dala mga Mazda fanbois.

      Delete
    3. Mazda realized that the human feeling of a satisfying drive is better than the fast but cold drive of many fast cars. Try reading this: https://www.carguide.ph/2017/08/review-2017-mazda-mx-5-rf.html

      Delete
    4. It shows that you guys are speed freaks, so noob. I bet you drag strip boys can't even handle a car more than 300hp on the track.

      Delete
  6. I would say a car would be worth testing out in the nurburgring if it's purpose is to go on track from time to time. The new Honda civic type r might be an example. But I'm not sure, I also see videos of cars being tested out like a Rolls Royce or some suv.

    ReplyDelete

Found a great car on CarGuide.PH? Let us help.

eCompareMo.com

Sponsored Content