Norton to Return to the Isle of Man TT for 2009

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It was only a few months ago that Norton Motorcycles had the spark of life breathed back into it. A UK businesman named Stuart Garner bought the rights to the Norton brand, and set up a factory and officespace for the company near the famous Donington race track.

Rumors place Norton as currently developing a streetbike called the Commando for the 2009 model year. Likely as a part of that product launch, Norton has announced that they will be entering into the Isle of Man TT in 2009 as well with 20-year-old Michael Dunlop taking the helm. More on this and the NRV588 with pictures after the jump.

An interesting problem with the 2007 NRV588 was figuring out what racing class it belonged in because of the nature of how rotary engines works.

Norton may designate it as a 588cc motor, basing this off displacement of each “rotor flank”. Two flanks in a motor, 2x294cc=588cc, easy right? The idea works until you count the number of times the spark plug fires per rotor per crankshaft revolution (the rotors rotate at 1/3 the speed of the crankshaft). Each rotor produces a power stroke on every revolution of the crankshaft, which is similar to 2-stroke motor.

For car racing, the Mazda rotary engine is rated at twice its “published” capacity of 1300cc. This is achieved by comparing the volume of petrol and air mixture ignited at a crankshaft speed of 1000rpm. Measured this way, the Mazda Wankel engine is considered to be equivalent to a 2600cc four-stroke engine.

So depending on how you look at it the NRV588 should either be compared to an 1176cc 4-stroke twin, or a 588cc 2-stroke twin. Considering the technical specs on power and weight, it is easy to see why the 1300cc “open” class will once again be its home for racing.

2007 NRV5888 Technical Specifications

  • 588cc twin-rotor Wankel type engine.
  • Fuel injected, direct spray into both bellmouths.
  • Fully variable intake tract to peak maximum torque between 8000rpm and 11,000rpm.
  • Electric water pump.
  • Ducted fan air cooling for rotors.
  • Fly-by-wire throttle
  • Power: 170bhp @ 11,500rpm
  • Chassis: Twin spar aluminium, by Spondon
  • Suspension: Öhlins USD forks, rear Öhlins long-stroke single-sided direct connection unit
  • Brakes: AP Racing systems with radially mounted front calipers
  • Wheels/tyres: Dymag 16.5-inch, Dunlop
  • Dry weight: 286lbs (130kg)
  • Source: Faster and Faster & SportRider