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Abel Ibarra Interview: Part 2
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 10:00am

In a previous article, we asked you to give us some questions to ask Abel. The response was outstanding, and we can provide you with perhaps the best and most complete Q&A session with Abel to date. Please click through to see your questions, and Abel's responses. Q: Abel, when are you going to a 4 rotor? -- Shane from NZ / A: I really don’t know. I still feel that 3-rotor development is not really tapped out yet. But, I am looking at the 4-rotor combination. Q: Abel, GDAY and hope to see you out in Australia. real soon. Questions:

  1. Did he enjoy his visit to Japan at the Autosalon?
  2. Did he actually get the chance to demonstrate the RX8's power in Japan to any Mazda elite?
  3. Could he reserve me another seat at that wicked Mexican place he took us too recently in LA.
-- Jason O'Halloran - ANDRA Sport Compact Director -- Ray Box - Jamboree Manager -- Billy Fea - Disco dancing extraordinaire A: How are you Jason. Thanks for the questions
  1. Extremely. The people in Japan were all great, and there was huge interest in US import drag racing scene.
  2. Unfortunately, no. The car was only there for display at the Tokyo Auto-Salon
  3. Definitely, La Barqa is one of my favorite places.
Q: Have you ever been told that you look like Ray Romano, from "Everyone Loves Raymond"? --RotaUte (Ausrotary.Com) A: No, but I really wish I had his money though! Q: 4 Questions from
  1. What are your goals for this years NHRA season?
  2. What times do you expect to be running?
  3. Where do you think you'll head once you've reached the limits of you current car?
  4. There were photos of you're brothers car on from SevenStock 2 years ago. When is it likely to be hitting the track?
--rx2die4 A:
  1. I would like to set a new E.T. record this year.
  2. 6:50 to 6:40 times
  1. We built the RX-8 to run a 6:20 quarter mile, so we still have some work to develop the ultimate engine, chassis, and aerodynamics combination of the current car. After this, I haven’t thought about it really.
  2. Hopefully the 2005, budget and time permitting, you will see the car at some races this year.
Q: Felicidades Flaco, Verdaderamente hay que felicitarte por tus grandes logros, has sido una persona muy persistente con la combinación rotativa, desarrollando unos conocimientos y una disciplina que pocos tienen y muchos envidian. (Translation) Truly, it is necessary to congratulate your great efforts, you have been a very persistent person with the rotary combination (set-up), developing knowledge, and a discipline that few have and many envy. --Rabule - A: Muchas gracias Rabule, te lo agradesco. (Translation) Thank you very much Rabule, I really appreciate it. Q: This may sound like a stupid question, but can you ask him if he has ever met Felix Trinidad? Trindad is a national hero over there, a world champion boxer in three weight divisions that has just made his comeback to the ring. Perhaps Trinidad has been to to the drags and watched Abel and co, I have no ideas whether he is into cars, but I am sure Abel would know. BTW, does Abel speak English? As I can re write any questions in Spanish. Sorry didn't know you were Mexican! So...
  1. Abel, do you like Boxing? (as it's very popular in Mexico)
  2. If so, who do you prefer Marco Antonio Barrera or Eric Morales (these two are the best current boxers from there).
--hopkins ( A: I’ve never met Felix Trinidad, but he’s a great boxer. I speak both English and Spanish, so either is cool.
  1. I love boxing, it’s one of my favorite sports.
  2. I prefer, Eric Morales. He has more heart.
Q: Abel are you coming to Australia, to race at our biggest rotary meet jamboree in Queensland in 2005? Would love to see you and a few other American racers here!! --APE12A ( A: I would love to come and race in Australia, but budget, sponsor commitments, and time, make this very difficult for me. But, I might come as a spectator though. I’m sure that other American racers would love to do so also, but it’s just not in the budgets. Q: I am a die hard rotary fan and rotary engine builder from Stockholm Sweden who has follow your drag racing career since turbo Magazine had their first video for sale back in 1997, I think it was. As I mentioned in the subject how much did you rev that engine and how long did it last before upgrade and overhaul? Thanks in advance, and good luck to your rotary career! --Lars Bergstrom A: In my R-100, I would go almost 200 runs before total rebuilds. In between, we would change out the side seal and springs, and the corner seals and springs. We used use a 9600 RPM limit on that 13B motor. Q: 4 Questions 1. Is the 13B Dead? 2. All secrets aside. How much power has the 13B/20B made so far? 3. Your plans for the future?
  1. Have you won any national champions in the NHRA? I thought for the longest time you were undefeated for a while. Everybody tells me I’m full of crap. Please give a link or something with some good facts on your racing career.
--prosnyder A:
  1. No, the 13B motor is not dead; in the NHRA Modified class, it still very competitive. In pro-mod, yes.
  2. On one of our 13B motors, with 40lbs+ of boost, on older turbo technology, we saw 940 RWHP. On the 20B, we are working in the 1450 to 1500 HP range. With more boost we are hoping to see 1600 reliable HP.
  1. To run consistent 6:40 quarters. Beyond this none at the moment.
  2. No NHRA championships yet, but I’ve won both NIRA and IDRC national championships. I’m also still the Mazda word E.T. record holder. In 2000, I went undefeated. We are working on a new Team Flaco Racing website that should have some information and bios soon. Please stay tuned to RotaryNews.Com. for an announcement on this.
Q: 7 Questions
  1. With the increasing power outputs of the V6-TT engines in the class, is there a push going on to get the 4-rotor made legal so the rotary guys can keep up.
  2. Has Abel done anything with a 4-rotor engine at this stage?
  3. Is his racing budget increasing or decreasing for the 2005 racing year.
  4. If the budget is increasing, will there be an Australian visit possible.
  5. Many consider the 3-rotor becomes a grenade engine after 1300-hp, does Abel think this is also the case. If not, how high can the 3-rotor go without destruction within 7-10 seconds of making full power.
  6. Has Abel considered further marketing of his RX-8 with appearances in movies of "Fast & Furious" type themes.
  7. Is Mazda-USA actively using his RX-8 to promote the road going version, if so then how.
  1. Not yet. The NHRA has not addressed this situation. Also, the 3500cc rule might be an issue for the 4-rotor to qualify. Not many guys pushing the issue, yet.
  2. Not yet, but I will be playing with a 4-rotor soon, but I feel there is still untapped potential in the 3-rotor.
  3. Sponsorship is always a major issue for racers, and I’m still looking for a primary sponsor to replace K&N this season. So, as far as my racing budget goes for this year, at the moment things are still very uncertain.
  4. Not at the moment. Again budget and sponsorship issues being the major obstacles to this.
  5. 1300-HP is not a real barrier for the 3-rotor. With proper tuning and attention to detail, 1500+HP should be achieved. The hp/cc ratio is on the very edge, but the motor will run strong and reliably, at those levels, with a good tune and equipment. I completed the last 4 races of the season with out any engine failures, like I had early in the season, due to ECU issues. The 3-rotor still has more potential. Now I need to dial the chassis in and keep refining my tune.
  6. Hell NO!
  7. Yes, they’ve taken the car to the Tokyo Auto-Salon, SEMA, and SevenStock. The car also makes appearances at smaller events.
Q: 6 Questions
  1. Where do you think rotaries are headed in drag racing?
  2. Do you think the rotaries will break the 5 second barrier?
2a. Do you think that it will be achieved with a 20B or is it more likely that this would have to be achieved with a 26B?
  1. Are we reaching the limits of the 20B?
  2. Are we more likely to see more 26B’s in racing now that drag racing is getting so much quicker and more competitive?
  3. Over your career in drag racing what is the one or two moments that most stand out?
  4. What do you think of Australia’s achievements with there rotaries?
--Shane / spoolin_20B ( A:
  1. In the right direction, but with less than a handful of individuals and companies doing rotary development, things are tough. The pistons guys all have 50+ companies doing R&D on things like cams, heads, pistons, etc… for their motors. The budget and time spent on Rotary development is starting to make things tough.
  2. Yes, but not a 3-rotor; possibly a 4-rotor.
  3. No, there is still power left in the 3-rotor. We haven’t reached the top yet.
  4. Maybe not in the NHRA, but there might possibly be changes for the other racing series here in the USA.
  5. The first was beating Siguel’s 3-rotor FD with my 2-rotor FD. The second is the helicopter ride to the hospital after my accident in 2000.
  6. Australians are doing very well in top flight rotary drag racing, but they are tops in the Rotary street and show scene.
Q: Must ask Abel what he likes doing more…. Racing a 6 sec car or racing his homing Pigeons??? --rotree ( A: I truly enjoy my Birmingham Roller Pigeons much more than racing. They are much more relaxing. Q: Can someone ask if he's thought about heading overseas to race - like here (Australia)? He could go up against his old RX-7 or something --Mr. Al ( A: As answered previously, the budget and sponsorship commitments are my biggest hurdle to race in Australia. It would be nice to race my old FD, but I understand Joe S. had a major incident in the car. Hope Joe is doing well. It’s really too bad the car was crashed. Q: Can you ask him if anyone has actually ever got there head sucked in that huge turbo on his rx8 car?! I'd swear that thing is big enough to suck in young children and other smaller sized mammals! --Zoom44 (RX-8 Forum) A: Yea, I sucked in a bird once… no just kidding! I do keep things away from the turbo while the car is on, because it is a big mutha! Q: I would like for you to ask him if he does in fact have a cousin that lives in south central Los Angeles named Francisco (Franky) this guy keeps telling me that Able Ibarra is his cousin. Thanks. --kerfue A: Believe it or not, Franky is my cousin. I still have family in South Central Los Angeles. I went to High School in Watts. Q: Please ask Abel about his conversation with Amemiya-san at JGTC. I know that he wants to share things that he's learned about making power in 3-rotors with Amemiya-san. Please ask him to elaborate if possible! --RCCAZ A: We were just comparing notes on the different racing series, and the engine set-ups. I’m always willing to share pointers or information if asked. Q: Are you planning on going to Puerto Rico? Also what do you think about the drag racing scene in Puerto Rico? --thafox A: Unfortunately, I will not be going to Puerto Rico. There are too many scheduling conflicts and issues. The racing scene in Puerto Rico is extremely strong, and has been a major contributor to the sport, especially in the Mazda Rotary game.

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April 18, 2005 - 2:32am
If it is still possible to get an answer.

Whats sort of budget do you see being required for a trip to Australia to race
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