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RotaryNews.Com Goes Racing Part II - Back on Track
Submitted by Berny Herrera on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 4:31pm

Well after a long wait to get this project off the ground, we are finally making progress. Like some endeavors in life, sometimes we get side tracked with greater priorities. This is especially true in the amateur racing game, where most if not all racers are merely hobbyists. And this is especially true in the case for our little race team.

At the time of our race car team introduction last year, team principal and car owner Victor Mencias, was obliged to a very positive and life changing career move that impacted and delayed our plans by a year plus. No matter though, as now Vic (as we call Victor) and the rest of the team are actually in a stronger position to move forward than before. We discovered that sometimes setbacks and delays can actually be a good thing. So if you are aspiring to join the ranks of amateur racing in any type or class of racing, don’t let things like this get you down. We put the car in storage and refocused on what we could accomplish while the project was down, which wasn’t much, and waited patiently.

So here we are, one year plus later, and things are finally starting to move ahead. We’ve taken the car out of storage and actually started initial prep and stripping of the car. We’ve also sourced a new set of race wheels (see pics), and another 1989 Series-5 FC GXL parts car, with running motor and good drivetrain. We figured the good deal on the car and the potential need for spares couldn’t hurt. But before we got too ahead of the game, we called on the experts at Mariah Motorsports to help us get a realistic focus and game-plan together. We did this before we got ourselves into trouble and, more importantly, unnecessary expense. The idea of a race car, no matter what type of car or level of prep, requires a game plan, and we started to realize that we didn’t have much of a plan, if any at all. In future articles, we’ll bring you all of the advice from our experts and hopefully help you avoid the many pitfalls and traps that amateurs such as us fall into when building and prepping a car for competition.

Again, and as mentioned in our initial introduction article; will be working with a host of key folks and companies in the world of Rotary and racing for technical guidance and support, as well as to move the project along in as an efficient manner as possible. This will hopefully help and educate us, and our readership who might be interested in going racing, make wise build and purchase decisions. As part of this exchange, we also hope to hear from you guys, via these stories.

At the moment we have the direct support and cooperation from expert companies like Mariah Motorsports, SpeedMachine/, and Pineapple Racing. We’ve also talked with, and have access to, a few other important experts in the field of rotary racing such Dave Lemon from Mazdatrix, Anthony Woodford of AWR, Racing Beat, and especially all of the cool people over at MazdaSpeed Motorsports Development. So again, we are counting that our relationships with all of these, and a few other highly experienced folks, not only benefits us, but more importantly, helps you our readers, who might be, or are contemplating a race car build. And also help those that are on the fence about getting involved in organized racing. Our desire is to show that it isn’t as hard or intimidating as one might think to get started in racing!

So again, please join RN.Com as we start this journey into the world of grassroots racing. Below you’ll find a link to pics of our project car, a one owner, well taken care of, but worn, 1989 GTUs. Interestingly, the RX-7 spent a good part of its life in Germany running around on the autobahns. The original owner of the FC, bought it as one of the very first GTUs’ sold in the USA, and had it shipped to Germany while he worked there. We also learned that a good friend and rotary expert, maintained and repaired the FC for most of its life while in the USA, which helped seal the deal. The $1500 asking price didn’t hurt either. Enjoy the pics and please feel free to leave comments and or questions!!

I’m keeping the BIG Shameless Plug up!!
If are other any Rotary related companies or individuals out there would like to join and support the team, or would like for us to test and review a relevant product on the car, please feel free to contact Berny Herrera for further details at:
berny at rotarynews dot com.

NOTE: We are also working on a series of articles for MazdaSport Magazine for this project

RotaryNews.Com SCCA ITS Race car pics

Again thank you to our support companies..

Mariah Motorsports


Pineapple Racing

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Rotary Racing Secrets
No Rotor
December 13, 2004 - 1:14pm
I've always been curious what it takes to go from "fun runs" to a potent competitive racer. I know the legal mods vary based on the racing class you run in.

I'm guessing the "secrets" fall into these categories:

Chassis Mod:
- stiffness, reinforcement, seam welding, perfect balance, perfect corner allignments, lighten chassis, move center of gravity to ideal location

Suspension Mod:
- solid everything, no rubber mounts
- tire allignment - best allignment for racing (ie wear the tires down faster but evenly)
- shocks / springs - perfectly tayloring spring & strut rates to the track being run

Power Mods:
- change power band to make maximum HP between 6-8rpms (not streatable)
- ultra lightweight flywheel (if allowed)
- tweek air/fuel ratios for maximum HP
- tweek timing for maximum HP
- port intake, exhaust, throttlebody, etc.. for maximum high-rpm power
- lightweight rotors
- special intake/exhaust flow mods - beyond porting

Improved sealing / minor HP upgrades:
- stiffer sealing spring rates on side & corner seals
- special coatings on engine internals - teflon, etc..
- special metal treatment processes - freezing, mirror polish, ultra-smooth internals
- better oil & coolant flow - minimum HP loss, better lube

- even & improved downforce in front & rear
- smoother airflow underneath & ontop

Gas mods:
special additives / power enhancers / reduce friction

- stretch braking upgrades to the maximum without cheating / braking the rules

- here's where the real magic happens for power upgrades. Special leading/trailing timings based on the porting & intake changes. Buy a dyno, it's the only way.
- ECU - very custom tuning
- Aftermarket Ignition, short sparkplug wires, maximum current flow, low resistance

- proper steering for ultra-precise steering input - NO SLOP

- matching tires to the rims, chassis setup, track temps, and track layout for maximum grip/contact patch with no tire slip at high RPMS
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intake porting
No Rotor
December 17, 2004 - 7:00am
Haven't done this myself so i can't comment on the ROI of this procedure, but you can also send your intake manifold out to be honed and port matched.

Extrude Hone

And if you are building a racecar then the price isn't that bad either ($585 + 80 for the gasket matching).
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You have to be careful with this...
December 17, 2004 - 5:41pm
After cutting up a few S4 & S5 intake manifolds, we discovered that you have to very careful with EXTRUDE-HONING them. The FC manifolds are quite porous and full of cavities in the casting. If the honing goes just a little too far, which is easy to do with these manifolds, you could potentially open up a big cavitity and maybe even hole the manifold. The castings, unfortunately, are very uneven and thin in some critical areas. I'm not saying it can't be, or hasn't been done, but it's tricky. Just some information for you.

Thanks for the input.

-Berny H.
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On the right path...
December 14, 2004 - 1:48pm
It seems that you are on the right path to a competetive car with all of your ideas. These are all certainly correct, but unfortunately, like you said, not legal in all racing classes. The SCCA ITS class, where will be running, is a very tightly controlled class and we will not be able to explore everyone of the things you lay out in your comprehensive list above. But beyond tight class controls, and more importantly for grass-roots racers, is budget. It takes quite a bit of money to develop and test all of the above and it's usually beyond most amatuer racers, including us. Our point with our progam will be to show how easy it is to get started on a very modest budget and hopefully help folks get there in the best and most cost effective manner as possible. For a more developed race FC, please feel free to visit, Mariah Motorsports and check out their E-PROD SCCA Racer. This class of car has a lot more freedom to develop and the Mariah car is a well funded and developed ride. Also, don't be shy to call Jim at Mariah and tell them you are following this story, and that you have a few questions.


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