Mazda has confirmed that it will continue to develop its rotary engine, according to a report by Autocar UK. A Mazda engineer has told the publication that he hopes production of a new rotary will start within the next five years, but that nothing yet is set in stone.

If production were to happen, the new engine would first debut in naturally-aspirated form, with blown versions to follow if they passed reliability tests. Mazda boss Takashi Yamanouchi has said to Autocar previously that as long as he’s still at Mazda, rotary engine research will go on.

The application of SkyActiv technologies and more advanced ignition systems to the rotary engine could help improve its combustion efficiency, power and emissions, the report adds.

After the Mazda RX-8 (Spirit R farewell edition pictured) went out of production some years ago, there hasn’t been one rotary-engined model from Mazda since. Reasons for this include tougher global emissions standards and the relatively low efficiency of the 13B Renesis engine family.