Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Volkswagen Passat R GT Concept

The dream of every high-performance tuner is access to the best, most durable, precise components; intelligent and adaptable control systems; and progressive, appealing styling.

It’s the dream of every high-performance tuner to transform that excellence into the extraordinary, to create exhilarating answers to the question, “What if…?”

Volkswagen shares this drive to push the dynamic and aesthetic boundaries of its vehicles. The vast network of engineers and designers within VW’s worldwide reach never need to be urged to challenge conventional wisdom, and this philosophy is reflected not only in the unique character of VW’s production vehicles, it’s also fully displayed in a stunning ultra-high-performance Passat R GT built for SEMA 2005 in combination with HPA Motorsports.

The Passat R GT is not just flights of fancy branding. The badging on this one-off tells a story of advanced platforms enriched with strategic applications of factory and aftermarket expertise.

The Passat R GT was born from a European-spec 2006 Passat 3.2 V6 FSI with DSG transmission and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. A rewarding runner in its own right, the European Passat 3.2’s powerful engine, world-beating transmission and all-wheel grip provide an excellent basis for a SEMA special. The mechanical transformation by HPA resulted in dynamics that launch the Passat R GT into supercar dimensions, and its sleek, entirely modern bodywork was given the muscular look of a highly toned European high-performance sedan by Volkswagen designers.

Modifications begin with a twin-turbo conversion package that features dual exhaust manifolds, each carrying a Garrett GT25R ball-bearing turbocharger. Charge cooling is optimized by twin intercoolers, and the exhaust gases pass through a quad bypass emissions system that retains the stock catalytic converters. It boasts an extraordinary output of 575 horsepower and massive torque to match.

The Passat R GT's track-prepped chassis is suspended by a KW Variant 3-way coil-over racing setup, and the required upgraded braking is supplied by the Brembo-supplied system available on the Phaeton. The Passat R GT rides on the same high-performance Michelin radials as fitted to the Jetta R GT, as well as the forged-aluminum Avus alloy wheels. HPA also modified the DSG gearbox for more revs between each upshift to match the engine’s increased output.

Volkswagen’s California design studio chose gleaming candy white paint to clothe the modified bodywork, consisting of new front and rear bumper fascias and side rocker panels. Contrasting black leather cloaks the interior, offset by touches of white piano lacquer trim, a white Apple iPod module up front and a white Sony PSP in the rear. Of course, befitting a car that can cross Europe in hours, it features VW’s highest-quality sound system and full navigation.

Volkswagen Golf GTI by Abt

It’s THE cult object: Since generations the VW Golf GTI thrills all fans of aggressive, sporty but still affordable cars. At the same time of delivery of the first models in November, as world-wide leading tuner for vehicles of the Volkswagen group, Abt Sportsline presents its version of the timeless original at the Essen Motor Show 04: additional power, greater aggressiveness, even more sportiness.

“Anybody driving a Golf GTI has nothing to explain.” This is an advertisement slogan for the latest baby from Wolfsburg. But this will hardly apply for drivers of the Golf GTI by Abt. When stopping at a motorway service area they will have to provide information to nosy observers about the origin of the super sports car from Kempten. Because already at first glance the origin becomes clear – a complete body kit inclusive front spoiler lip manufactured in carbon fibre, side skirts, rear skirt and a rear muffler with four chrome end pipes make sure of this.

Under the body shell – the bonnet of the exhibition vehicle in Essen is made of carbon fibre – the handwriting of the engineers and designers from Kempten continues: the power of the innately fast 2.0T FSI power unit increases to 230 bhp (147 to 170 kW) after the power cure and inherits snappy propulsion with 229 lb-ft. So that it doesn’t all only run smoothly in forward motion, the Golf GTI by Abt is equipped with an Abt sport brake system.

The Abt sport suspension kit which is not only adjustable in height but also in rebound and pressure makes sure of optimal road holding on Europe’s motor ways. So therefore the Golf GTI by Abt is optimally equipped and prepared for every challenge on the roads. The awarded Abt sport wheels SP1 in the size 8.5 x 19 inch with corresponding tires of partner Dunlop ensure perfect contact between technology and asphalt.

The responsible persons at Abt Sportsline deal with power and sportiness in the same way as they go about setting further discreet optical exclamation marks on their new top sports car: the marked Abt logo is positioned on the steering wheel and on the rear, also the Recaro sport seats and the GTI floor mats in the interior are provided with the three letters.

One detail which is presented in Essen for the first time, for sure will be topic of conversation – not only when meeting on motor ways: Abt Sportsline has developed swing doors for its version of the GTI. A connection to motor sport where the motor sport team from Kempten once again presented itself as one of the most successful German teams in the current season: For the first time the Bavarians clinched the team title in the DTM.

Volkswagen R32 Stage II by HPA Motorsports

HPA Motorsports from Canada offers two street-able packages for the VW R32.

Stage I

The R32 factory engineers have beefed up clutch components, enlarged the exhaust diameters, throttle bodies and the valve train over previous 24v configurations. With this in mind, HPA Motorsports designed Stage 1 system to retain the stock catalytic converters, clutch assembly and exhaust system.

Fully upgradeable, the stage I offers a driving sensation associated with most exotics without the exotics price.

Component list:

  • 1 bar (14.5 psi) boost
  • 2 Hybrid KKK K04 turbochargers with oversized exhaust housings
  • Velocity tuned HGP Exhaust Manifolds
  • Twin 52 mm Down pipes
  • Compression reducing head plate (8.0:1)
  • Hi-Flow HGP cast aluminum Intake Manifold
  • Dual Side mount intercoolers
  • Proprietary Silicon Boost piping
  • Proprietary Hi-Flow formed Silicon and Stainless piping
  • Hi flow fuel injectors
  • Hi-Flow Mass Airflow sensor
  • Hi-Flow secondary fuel pump
  • Re-tuned factory ECU
  • Proprietary Electronic boost controller

Price: $24,000
Install: $2,500

Stage II

Building on the components used in the Stage I, Stage II grows the performance figures outside the believable realm. Tested on pump gas, Motortrend pealed off a 3.2 seconds 0-60 mph and an 11.4 seconds 1 mile. Being able to launch the R32 at nearly 6000RPM requires HPA Motorsports' special dual ceramic clutch and the motor breaths through a sensational 3.5” exhaust system. HPA Motorsports' Race catalytic converters break down the exhaust gases, while race grade connecting rod bearings ensure the longevity of the bottom end.

Component list (plus all Stage I components):

  • 1.3 bar (19 psi) boost
  • Upgraded 70 mm Down pipes
  • Twin Hi-Flow Race Grade Catalytic converters
  • 3.5” (88mm) Exhaust system with Special secondary bypass valve
  • Proprietary Race Grade connecting rod Bearings
  • Upgraded ECU program
  • Upgraded fuel pressure regulator
  • Choice of dual ceramic or Super sport clutch and flywheel assembly

Price: $35,900
Install: $3,500

A 600 bhp Stage III version is also available.

Subaru Impreza WRC Concept 2007

Petter Solberg unveiled the new Subaru Impreza WRC concept on the first media day of the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Scheduled to commence WRC testing towards the end of 2007, the car represents a fundamentally new approach to the Impreza.

Richard Taylor, Subaru World Rally Team managing director, commented: "We are on schedule with development of the 2008 car and the first body shell will be completed within a matter of weeks. We aim to be running the car in the last quarter of this year, and its competitive debut will be decided by the progress of testing and also that of the current car."

Nissan Micra R Concept

Meet the Nissan Micra R, a 150 mph hot hatch that proves the new Micra really is quite unlike anything else on the road.

From bonnet to boot the R is unlike any Nissan Micra ever produced. For a start you won’t be able to lift the lid on its remarkable performance by looking under the bonnet; all you’ll see is a radiator and fuel tank. And you won’t be able to carry anything on the back seats or in the boot because that’s where a 265 bhp fully race-prepared engine sits.

While maintaining the distinct shape and friendly persona of the standard Micra, the R has the squat stance and purposeful poise of a sporting thoroughbred along with performance that matches its looks. There’s a 0-60 mph time of under five seconds and a top speed in excess of 150 mph.

Inside, the stripped racing car-style cockpit features sculpted Sabelt racing seats, five-point safety harnesses and the kind of touches you’d expect in any competition car such as a visible engine Electronic Control Unit, prominent fire extinguisher and hi-tech digital dash display.

But this is no Sunday fun car. It might be strictly a one-off, designed and built with performance driving in mind, but it can be everyday transport too. Chief designer Christopher Reitz added: "It’s very easy to build a £500,000 car if you’re doing everything from scratch. We wanted to do something that was a dream car but that you didn’t have to win the lottery to able to afford. Take the example of the Mini Cooper S in the Sixties. It was a successful competition car but it wasn’t too expensive if you wanted to own one."

Affordable it might be but one thing’s certain: it won’t just be hot-hatch owners who will be drooling with envy; the Micra R will give supercar drivers something to think about too. And Reitz would like to see it in competition as well. "I think it would be great to have a one-make series," he said. "If you provide cars that are all equal as well as safe and fun to drive the skill of the driver starts to become more important than it is in many areas of motorsport."

With the engine now sitting where the rear seats and fuel tank are usually located, RML has used all its experience to make the Micra R into a reliable and viable every day machine. To cool the engine, a radiator from an Almera 2.2 dCi has been slotted beneath the bonnet and cleverly the engineers have used the now redundant exhaust tunnels beneath the body to fit cooling ducts. Integrated with a touring car style aerodynamic ‘splitter’ at the front these ducts ensure that the engine can be fed with more than enough cool air to keep it performing at its peak.

Nissan NISMO 350Z

For the first time ever in the Nissan Z’s 37-year history, a high-performance NISMO 350Z is part of the extensive Z lineup. The new 2007 Nissan NISMO 350Z, which makes its North American debut at the 2007 New York International Auto Show, features an extensively developed list of unique equipment – including a special body package and improved handling equipment. This new model, the fifth in the 2007 350Z Coupe lineup, is available with a 6-speed manual transmission only. It goes on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide in July 2007.

NISMO, the premier supplier of high-performance aftermarket parts and accessories for Nissan vehicles in the United States since 2003, previously participated in the development of the NISMO Frontier off-road pickup truck, introduced in 2005. The NISMO 350Z is the second Nissan model to be branded with the legendary marque. Like the Frontier model, which is specially equipped for off-road excursions, the 2007 NISMO 350Z is optimized for enthusiast drivers.

"With the combination of the new VQ35HR engine found on all 2007 350Zs and NISMO performance and design enhancements, the NISMO 350Z represents the pinnacle of Nissan performance machines," said Bill Bosley, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.

The most striking visual feature of this special vehicle is the NISMO aerodynamics package, which strongly resembles the Super GT championship winning Zs. Featuring an aggressive front fascia with chin spoiler, side skirts, an extended rear fascia with underbody diffuser and a rear wing, the NISMO 350Z produces additional aerodynamic downforce to provide enhanced cornering and handling performance.

Special consideration is given during assembly of the NISMO 350Z – structural rigidity is enhanced by additional body welds to the already rigid 350Z body and additional supports have been added front and rear. The NISMO 350Z also utilizes special body dampers mounted in the front radiator core support and in the rear cargo area, which assist in controlling body vibrations.

Additional performance features include a special NISMO-tuned independent multi-link suspension, Brembo brakes with four-piston front and two-piston rear calipers (with 12.8-inch front and 12.7-inch rear rotors) and special NISMO-branded gunmetal gray RAYS super lightweight forged-alloy wheels (18x9-inch front and 19x10-inch rear with 245/40 WR18 front, 265/35 WR19 rear Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires). A special NISMO-branded tuned exhaust adds an even more authoritative tone to the Z’s 306-horsepower V6 engine.

"The combination of aerodynamic enhancements and performance tuning adds up to a Z with enhanced cornering, steering precision and handling," said Bosley. "Every exterior and mechanical improvement made to the NISMO 350Z isn’t just for show, it’s also for performance."

Four exterior colors are available, including Redline Red, Magnetic Black, Silver Alloy and Pikes Peak White.

Inside, NISMO 350Z drivers receive special treatment with unique black cloth seats with red inserts, red stitching throughout the interior and special NISMO white-faced tachometer. All NISMO 350Zs receive a serialized NISMO-etched aluminum plaque mounted on the center console, designating its limited edition status.

The NISMO 350Z includes a full complement of 350Z standard features, including the new VQ35HR 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 306 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 268 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm – with more than 90% of torque available between 2,000 and 7,000 rpm. Engine features include variable exhaust cam timing (eCVTCS), a 7,500 rpm rev limit and a symmetric twin ram air intake system.

The standard 6-speed manual transmission features close-ratio gearing from 1st through 5th gears for high-performance driving and an overdrive 6th speed for highway fuel economy. For performance handling, standard on the NISMO 350Z is a Traction Control System (TCS) and Viscous Limited-Slip Differential (VLSD).

Also standard is electronically-controlled vehicle speed-sensitive dual-orifice rack-and-pinion power steering system, front and rear strut tower bracing, 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA), HomeLink Universal Transceiver, cruise control, aluminum pedals, illuminated steering wheel audio controls and auto dimming rearview mirror, power windows, 3-bay gauge cluster, High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-xenon (high and low beam) headlights, LED taillights, Advanced Air Bag System, side and curtain side-impact supplemental air bags and Active Head Restraints.

"The NISMO 350Z is geared towards enthusiasts who want the ultimate 350Z straight from the factory performance experts,” said Bosley. “They also want a Z that makes a statement and is a testament to their love of driving."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maserati MC12 XX by Edo Competition

The Maserati MC 12XX by Edo Competition features a 6.3-liter V12 engine with 800 bhp, same as the Ferrari FXX.


  • power increase 170 bhp – contains new steel cylinder and piston, bored to 6.3 liters (same as Ferrari FXX ), new camshafts, new titan valve springs, new titan connecting rods, new oil cooling piston pipes, new exhaust manifolds, sport catalytic stainless, sport catalytic converter, sport air filter, air-ram system, fuel cooling system, new clutch, all bearings new, new oil pump, new gaskets, and dyno running with all work
  • sport catalytic converter stainless with two level switch controlled sound system, new tail pipes in carbon
  • volume of the exhaust per button push adjustable
  • ceramic sport break system with 396 mm brake disc front and 360 mm brake disc rear, special brake pads in front and rear
  • wheels can be painted in different designs
  • tire-air-pressure control system shows pressure and temperature per wheel
  • headlamp-cover hand made form makrolon
  • design modification outside for example complete different color
  • independently adjustable dumping technology – rebound and compression dumping like FIA – GT MC12
  • air-in-take from carbon
  • 220 lbs reduced weight
  • new racing wheels front 10 x 19 with 265/35 ZR19 Michelin, rear 13 x 20 with 335/30 ZR20 Michelin

Buying this kit includes 1 day testing with instructor, mechanics, data-recording, transport and hospitality on a race track.

Lamborghini Gallardo SE by Hamann

The first impression the Lamborghini Hamann Gallardo SE makes clearly indicates that this is hardly a standard model. The Hamann specialists constructed a comprehensive aerodynamics program for this racy sports car. The front is dominated by an innovatively designed front spoiler. The Hamann engineers included the typically powerful and sporty stylistic elements of the tradition-rich company. The impressive appearance is also reinforced by the frontal airscoops, the broad side skirts and the air intake screens located on the sides. No question about it – the Lamborghini Hamann Gallardo SE is a genuine racing car for the street. More than anything else, the rear portion makes this clear. A mighty, three-piece rear wing a'la motorsport doesn’t just assure the appropriate optics, but also increased application force on the rear axle at higher speeds. Almost the same applies for the wide Hamann rear diffuser. It makes the rear appearance of the Gallardo SE unmistakable, and the car virtually sucks itself onto the asphalt.

Thanks to its aerodynamics packet, the Hamann Gallardo SE is optically a thoroughbred racing car for the street. The performance increase also gives this proud bull the necessary power. More than anything else, the successful mixture of power, sportiness and exclusivity make the Lamborghini Hamann Gallardo SE so special.

We haven't received any information about the engine modifications. The only visible modification is to the exhaust system, which should add about 20-30 bhp to original Gallardo SE's 520 bhp.

Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT

On the occasion of the next Motor Show in Frankfurt Lamborghini will show for the first time a race version of its highly acclaimed super sports car, the Lamborghini Murcielago. Named Murcielago R-GT, Lamborghini developed the competition car jointly with race experts Reiter Engineering and mother company Audi’s sports division, Audi Sport.

The new Murcielago R-GT offers Lamborghini clients a highly competitive car to participate in professional motorsport events on an international level.

The House of the raging bull is responding with its newest race model to the rising customer demand to introduce a full blown race car at a reasonable price.

This is Lamborghini’s first step in the field of international motorsport after its engagement in Formula 1 in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The newly founded Lamborghini Customer Sports Programme takes care not only of the sale of the race cars but will also offer trackside assistance.

With the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT clients can compete in national and international race events such as the European FIA GT Championship or the American LeMans Series in the United States.

Vehicles for customers are available since early 2004.

Ferrari FXX

The FXX is the most advanced GT ever created at Maranello and its mission is to involve Ferrari’s most valued Clients as genuine Prancing Horse Test Drivers in their own right. The wealth of data and experience gathered in the course of this very special programme will be exceptionally important. In fact, the feedback from these highly skilled, non-professional Client Test Drivers will be compared and supplemented with suggestions from Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Ferrari’s professional in-house Test Drivers.

Every Client who signs up for the FXX project by purchasing one of the estimated 20 or so cars being built, will actually be joining Team Ferrari, and will have his driving experiences at the wheel of this new car monitored directly by the Prancing Horse’s technicians and specialists.

The FXX has not been homologated for road use and thus will not be a competition model. It will be used exclusively on the track as part of a specific ongoing research and development programme featuring this first ever group of Client Test Drivers.

The FXX is powered by an imposing 6,262 cc V12 engine that can punch out over 800 bhp at 8,500 rpm. Its gearbox is the result of the transfer of F1 strategies, delivering gear change times of under 100 ms. This is almost as fast as the F1 single-seaters, themselves the absolute pinnacle of current technological achievement.

After a careful client order selection process, the first FXXs will be delivered by the end of this year. The initial testing of the definitive car is currently taking place at Fiorano. The FXX and the relative package cost a total of 1,500,000 euro (excluding taxes) (approx. $1,790,000) and applications to join the programme are being evaluated by a special in-house committee.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Concept

The Camaro convertible concept, wrapped in Hugger Orange pearl tri-coat paint with twin gunmetal gray sport stripes, is based on the original Camaro concept, with only minor changes required to accommodate the convertible body style.

“The best follow-up to last year’s award-winning Camaro concept is a Camaro convertible,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, global design. “The Camaro convertible concept instantly evokes an emotional response – it’s a vehicle that you want to make room for in your garage.”

Chevrolet already has announced production plans for the Camaro, which will go on sale in 2009. A production convertible model will be added later that year.

Genuine Camaro Spirit

Like the Camaro concept vehicle, the Camaro convertible concept blends a dramatic, forward-looking design that is mindful of the brand’s storied heritage. That design includes classic long hood/short deck proportions and a wide, wheels-at-the-corners stance that gives the vehicle the look of hugging corners even when stationary.

The Camaro convertible concept is motivated by a torquey V-8 engine that rightly sends power to the rear wheels via a manual transmission. It also features a four-wheel independent suspension system and four-wheel disc brakes.

The Camaro convertible concept’s Hugger Orange pearl tri-coat color is a contemporary update of the classic hue, which was originally offered in 1969. It is complemented with twin gunmetal gray sport stripes. The modern interpretation of the classic color and its dark accent stripes simultaneously reflect the Camaro’s heritage and deliver a deep, lustrous and thoroughly contemporary appearance.

Inspired Cockpit

Inside, the Camaro convertible features a simple yet purposeful interior that reflects design elements inspired by the muscle car era, including the first-generation Camaro. A new, light-and-dark color scheme enhances the airy feel of the convertible, particularly when the top is lowered.

The seats’ fronts feature platinum-tone leather surrounding suede-like Alcantara inserts, with black, sculpted seatbacks. As with the Camaro coupe concept, the convertible concept features an instrument panel inspired by first-generation Camaros, including an intricate “round-gauges-in-square-holes” design. The gauges have a deep, three-dimensional appearance, with white faces and red pointers.

A “spine” motif runs through the center of the vehicle and on the seatbacks, including a prominent center console that stretches to the rear seat. The spine reinforces the symmetry of the Camaro convertible, as well as its precision.

An Attainable Icon

The original Camaro was introduced to the Baby Boomer generation, a large group of young, individualistic and mobile Americans that drove fundamental changes in the auto industry. The new Camaro concepts draw on their namesakes’ heritage, but also the global, youthful influences of the 21 st century. These influences are seen in the Camaro convertible concept’s bold proportions, tailored wheel-to-body relationship and detailed interior – including the multi-dimensional instruments. It’s a design that resonates with a generation of younger car buyers influenced by highly stylized “tuner” cars and import sports cars.

“Youthful buyers want a car that makes a statement in its design as much as its performance,” said Brian Smith, exterior designer. “The new Camaro concepts bridge heritage with contemporary style, with a design that is simultaneously admired among import-influenced youth and traditional enthusiasts.”

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 by GeigerCars

GeigerCars now offers a sporty tuning program for the top-of-the-line model of the American sports car. The STAGE 1 performance kit that enables a power increase from standard 512 bhp 542 bhp will be available soon. The tune-up contains a free-flow intake air guiding with sport air filter, special exhaust manifolds, steel bed catalysts, four large chrome exhaust tips and a special mapping for the ECU. The engine tuning makes the Corvette Z06 even more agile and doesn’t only convince with quicker revving up but also with higher road performance: The sprint time from 0 – 62 mph is reduced to about 3.7 seconds, maximum speed is increased to about 203 mph.

Many other special customizing components for the fastest production Corvette ever are already available. The designers of Europe’s leading company when it comes to modifications for American cars, developed a front spoiler edge to fit on the standard apron. The bodystyling part doesn’t only make the front view more aggressive, it also reduces the lift on the front axle. Its aerodynamic counterpiece is a diffuser to fit on the rear apron.

In order to safely control this outstanding road performance of the tuned Z06, offers a high performance brake system. also offers suspension tuning for the new sports car. They designed a custom spring strut sport suspension, which replaces the standard transverse springs to achieve an even more dynamic handling.

To perfectly fill the existing space inside the wider Z06 wheel houses,'s technicians developed an equally spectacular and exclusive wheel/tire combination. The multipiece chrome wheels were designed in the dimensions 10.5Jx19 at the front with 285/30 ZR19 tires and 13Jx20 at the rear with 345/25 ZR20 tires.'s set of wheels with tires costs $12,000.

Of course also offers exclusive interior appointments for the cockpit. They offer anything from carbon-fiber panels up to the masterly handcrafted full leather trim in every color and design.

Dodge Challenger Concept, 2006

In creating the new Dodge Challenger concept car the designers at Chrysler Group’s West Coast Pacifica Studio knew they had a rich heritage to draw upon. They also knew they had an obligation to get it right.

Designing the New Dodge Challenger. Being key to the image, getting the right proportions was critical. The Challenger concept sits on a 116-inch wheelbase, six inches longer than the original. But its width is two inches greater, giving the concept car a squat, tougher, more purposeful persona.

The signature side view accent line is higher up on the body, running horizontal through the fender and door and kicking up just forward of the rear wheel.

In section the upper and lower body surfaces intersect and fall away along this line, which has just a whisper of the original car’s coved surfacing.

The five-spoke chrome wheels, 20-inch front and 21-inch rear, are set flush with the bodyside, giving the car the powerful muscular stance of a prizefighter eager to challenge the world. Wheel openings are drawn tightly against the tires, with the rearward edges trailing off. To emphasize the iconic muscularity, the designers added plan view “hip” to the rear quarters.

One of the key characteristics of the original car the designers wanted to retain was the exceptionally wide look of both the front and back ends. To achieve this the designers increased both the front and rear tracks to 64 and 65 inches respectively, wider than the LX, wider even than the 1970 model. To realize the long horizontal hood the designers deemed essential, the front overhang was also increased.

Bumpers are clean (no guards), body-color and flush with the body. “This is something we would have loved to do on the original Challenger,” said Jeff Godshall, who was a young designer in the Dodge Exterior studio when the first Challenger was created, “but the technology just wasn’t there. With the Challenger concept, however, the Pacifica Studio designers are able to realize what we wanted in our perfect world.”

The hood reprises the original Challenger “performance hood” and its twin diagonal scoops, now with functional butterfly-valve intakes. Designed to showcase the modern techniques used in fabricating the car, what look like painted racing stripes are actually the exposed carbon fiber of the hood material.

The Challenger concept is a genuine four-passenger car. Compared to the original, the greenhouse is longer, the windshield and backlite faster, and the side glass narrower. All glass is set flush with the body without moldings, another touch the original designers could only wish for. The car is a genuine two-door hardtop - no B-pillar - with the belt line ramping up assertively at the quarter window just forward of the wide C-pillar.

Exterior details one might expect, like a racing-type gas cap, hood tie-down pins, louvered backlite and bold bodyside striping, didn’t make the “cut,” the designers feeling such assorted bits would detract from the purity of the monochromatic body form. But tucked reassuringly under the rear bumper are the “gotta have” twin-rectangle pipes of the dual exhausts.

The Interior. In contrast to the bright Orange Pearl exterior, the interior is a no-nonsense, “let’s-get-in-and-go” black relieved by satin silver accents and narrow orange bands on the seat backs. “Though the 1970 model was looked to for inspiration, we wanted to capture the memory of that car, but expressed in more contemporary surfaces, materials and textures,” said Alan Barrington, principal interior designer. As with the original car, the instrumental panel pad sits high, intersected on the driver’s side by a sculpted trapezoidal cluster containing three circular in-line analog gauge openings.

“We designed the in-your-face gauge holes to appear as if you are looking down into the engine cylinders with the head off,” relates Barrington. These are flanked outboard by a larger circular “gauge” that is actually a computer, allowing the driver to determine top overall speed, quarter-mile time and speed, and top speed for each of the gears.

With its thick, easy-grip rim, circular hub and pierced silver spokes, the leather-wrapped steering wheel evokes the original car’s “Tuff” wheel, as does the steering column “ribbing.” The floor console, its center surface tipped toward the driver, is fitted with a proper “pistol grip” shifter shaped just right to master the quick, crisp shifts possible with the six-speed manual “tranny.”

Inasmuch as the original Challenger was the first car to have injection-molded door trim panels (now common practice), the doors received special attention.

“We imagined that the door panel was a billet of aluminum covered with a dark rubberized material,” Barrington relates. “Then we cut into it to create a silver trapezoidal cove for the armrest.”

Although the flat-section bucket seats of the original Challenger didn’t offer much support for aggressive driving, the front seats in the Challenger concept car boast hefty bolsters much like those found on Dodge’s famed SRT series cars. The trim covers’ horizontal pleats or “fales” provide just a hint of that “70’s” look.

Rethought, reworked and redesigned, the Challenger concept car offers iconic a HEMI-powered performance coupe derived from a classic American muscle car.

Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, 2003

Dodge has delivered the next chapter in the Dodge Viper racing legacy: the new Viper Competition Coupe. "We knew when we introduced the Dodge Viper GTS-R race car that it was ambitious, yet extremely logical," said John Fernandez, Director, Dodge Motorsports Operations. "We set out to develop a history and tradition for the ultimate American sports car - and the Dodge performance icon - that would cast a halo over every racing endeavor, and every car and truck we built.

"The Dodge Viper has exceeded our highest goals for what an American sports car should be. And now, as loyal Dodge owners receive their versions of the third chapter in the car's history - the 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10 - we can't lose sight of the heritage that Viper has built. And with that, we've developed a new generation of the Dodge Viper racing car - the Viper Competition Coupe."

With a coupe-shaped carbon/Kevlar body based largely on the Dodge Viper GTS/R concept car shown at the 2000 North American International Auto Show, and a track-ready chassis based on the new 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10 convertible, the Viper Competition Coupe should emerge as a serious competitor from the first lap.

Dodge expects to build about 60 cars in the first year, but have the ability to expand production as demand grows. Plans include technical support for competitors at all major events.

The Viper Competition Coupe makes extensive use of production pieces to keep the estimated retail price slightly more than $100,000. With 520 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, the Viper Competition Coupe will deliver racers an extremely high level of performance for the price.

A full complement of racing enhancements, including cage, window net, fire-suppression system, six-point restraints, racing slicks, differential cooler and ducted brakes ensure that the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe is track-ready as delivered. The Viper Competition Coupe cannot be titled for highway use.

The Viper Competition Coupe's sleek concept car shape retains the 2003 Viper SRT-10 convertible's windshield, and as a result, affords the driver two inches of additional headroom as compared to the GTS/R concept car.

Among those events in which the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe is eligible to compete are:

  • Skip Thomas Viper Racing League - The Viper Competition Coupe will have its own class and be the primary wheel-to-wheel event at the Viper Days weekends
  • Grand American Cup - The Viper Competition Coupe will be eligible to compete (when homologated) in the Grand Sports Class with the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911
  • Speedvision World Challenge - The Viper Competition Coupe will be eligible to compete (when homologated) in these American Le Mans Series support races

The Competition Coupe's predecessor - called the Dodge Viper GTS-R and based on the 1996 Dodge Viper GTS Coupe - passes on one of the most distinguished pedigrees in the modern history of endurance racing. The Viper GTS-R earned five international GT championships including the 1999 and 2000 American Le Mans Series GTS class titles and the 1997-1999 FIA GT Championships. The Viper finished 1-2 in the GTS class in three consecutive years -1998-2000 - and notched an amazing overall win at the 2000 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the first for an American production-based car.

The Dodge Viper race car began life in the GT1 class in 1996. The escalating costs persuaded the manufacturer to switch to the GT2 class for the 1997 season. The Viper's production volumes (approximately 2,000 annually) qualified it for the category and it embarked on a racing program that was to earn it a reputation as the most successful American production-based racing car of all time.

As Dodge began to focus more of its engineering resources on development of the next Viper - the 2003 Viper SRT-10 - it was announced in December 2000 that Dodge would take a hiatus from its factory support for Viper endurance racing.

There are no plans at this time to homologate the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe for American Le Mans Series or 24 Hours of Le Mans racing.

Dodge Viper SRT10, 2008

The new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 boasts more of what performance aficionados crave: kick-in-the-pants, throw-back-in-the-seat power, combined with benchmark braking, world-class ride and handling, a race-inspired interior and bold exterior styling. While every SRT vehicle offers balanced and overall performance, the heart and soul of the new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 for sure is its standout powertrain. For 2008, SRT ups the ante with a new, 8.4-liter aluminum V-10 engine that produces an astounding 600 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque.

Standout Powertrain
Working with specialists from McLaren Performance Technologies and Ricardo, Inc., SRT engineers began by following the racer’s basic formula for more power: bigger displacement, more efficient breathing and higher engine speed.

The new Dodge Viper SRT10’s deep-skirted V-10 aluminum engine block was revised for a 1-millimeter larger bore, raising the displacement to 8.4 liters from 8.3 liters. The two-piece intake manifold combines a cast aluminum lower with smooth runners for better air flow, bolted to a die-cast aluminum upper plenum. A revised air-cleaner box with a low-restriction filter sends air through a dual electronic throttle control into the intake module.

Spent gases exit through tubular air-gap headers, which not only improve exhaust flow, but also ensure quick catalyst light-off for improved emission control. The headers’ stamped stainless-steel outer shell acts as a thermal heat shield for the individual stainless-steel runners that contribute to better flow separation and exhaust tuning.

World-class Ride and Handling
The ride and handling of the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 is defined by a race-bred, fully independent, four-wheel suspension featuring lightweight, high-performance aluminum control arms and knuckles, damped by lightweight coil-over shock absorbers.

Where the power goes right to the road, SRT engineers retained the tried-and-true Dana M44-4 rear axle and outfitted it with a new GKN Visco-Lok speed-sensing limited-slip differential for improved traction.

The Dodge Viper SRT10 rides on polished, forged aluminum, 18 x 10-inch front and 19 x 13-inch rear wheels now available in three styles: the five-spoke, the H-spoke and the all-new Razor wheel with five U-shaped spokes. The wheels are clad in Michelin® Pilot® Sport PS2 tires. The four-groove tread-design tires provide maximum grip, reduced road noise and superior handling in both wet and dry conditions.

Bold Exterior Styling
The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 remains available in two body styles – Roadster and Coupe. Both feature a dramatic new hood with a larger, more efficient hood scoop for air induction and larger, functional hood louvers to facilitate a greater cooling effect for the more powerful 8.4-liter, 600-horsepower V-10 engine underneath.

The Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe’s hard top with its “double bubble” styling makes it even more torsionally stiff than the Roadster. The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe offers increased downforce and high-speed stability with its sloping roofline and deck-lid spoiler. Plus, the Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe has an additional 6.25 cubic feet of trunk space than the Viper SRT10 Roadster, for a total of 14.65 cubic feet. The roof and headliner structure offer more room to accommodate a safety cage, while maintaining as much headroom as possible.

Race-inspired Interior Design
The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 cockpit retains its characteristic red push-button starter and performance-oriented, highly functional instrument panel with center-mounted tachometer and 220-mph speedometer. The new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 will arrive in Dodge showrooms in North America this summer with a new level of customization options, including five new exterior colors, four new interior color combinations and a new wheel design.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Grenade USA's 2004 Mazda RX-8

Naturally then, besides some driver skill (actually, quite a bit), a proper drift machine, which happens to match most of the characteristics of a good (RWD) sports car, is a must for proper sideways driving. Enter Mazda. With legendary sports cars like the Mazda Miata MX-5 and the Mazda RX-7 in its stable, Mazdas have been popular choices for Japanese drifters since the beginning. And now, even the four-seat, four-door Mazda RX-8 sports car is about to take the international drift stage. This month's Meet The Tuner feature, the Grenade Mazda RX-8, is slated for competition in the top North American drift series, Formula D, at the beginning of the 2006 season. A brainchild of Ken Kinoshita, a former Mazda motorsports manager who is currently an executive with The Great Co. (the Japanese parent company of Grenade USA- an aftermarket performance company that's currently making a U.S. entrance), the Mazda RX-8 won't be making headlines or carving wicked arcs just on its own merits - a legendary surname will be occupying the driver's seat when the RX-8 burns its first set of rubber.

Rod Millen is a name that few enthusiasts are not familiar with. The brother of another racing legend, Steve Millen, Rod created his legend in a 30+ year career in motorsports filled with rally, road, and off-road racing titles on two continents. The native Kiwi first got the racing bug in the 1970s and earned three consecutive New Zealand rally championships before he came to the U.S. to challenge America's best. While he may be best known for his record climbs up 14,110 ft. high Pikes Peak in 1,000 hp cars (he still owns the absolute fastest Pikes Peak climb record of 10 minutes, 4 seconds), Millen has also built a relationship with Mazda fans that goes back to his earliest U.S. rally days. In the late 70s, Millen campaigned factory-backed first generation Mazda RX-7s in rally competition to great success. Kinoshita made the easy connection to reunite Mazda and Millen when his drift project was born. While the fact that a rally legend such as Millen entering top drifting competition behind the wheel of a Mazda RX-8 is enough to stoke white hot fires in the hearts of any Mazda fan, when you throw into the mix the not so coincidental fact that Rod's son, Rhys Millen, is the current Formula Drift series champion, you have the makings of a spectacular and unique rivalry set to take place only a few months from now. Of course despite the all star cast of the Grenade Mazda RX-8 drift team, the car itself deserves its own spot light.

The RX-8 started out just as any ordinary production line RX-8. Shipped to RMR (Rhys Millen Racing) Products, the Renesis-powered sports car was stripped to bare metal promptly. RMR crafted a special cage that had dual roles of protection and chassis stiffening to meet the demands of top drift competition. Of all the pieces of the original well-appointed RX-8 interior, only the factory shift knob, e-brake handle, and dash (only the top portion) is reused. Even factory gauges are deleted in favor of a lighter, single Autometer Phantom tachometer. A pair of Sparco Pro 2000 competition seats and safety harnesses was added along with other matching Sparco driving accessories, including the steering wheel and pedal set. To contrast the almost plain, all business interior, the exterior of the Grenade Mazda RX-8 is used to showcase some of the latest, expressive Grenade performance products. The Grenade 4-piece body kit adds an aggressive edge to the RX-8's new-age shape and the resulting attitude adjustment is perfect for filling competitor's mirrors during tandem drifting runs. A Grenade carbon fiber hood also lends its help in creating the new image and also aids in ventilating the engine bay through several artfully crafted vents and scoops. A drift-spec adjustable carbon fiber rear spoiler sits high on the RX-8's trunklid and helps in creating downforce vital in high-speed drift control. Bronze GT-spec Grenade 18" six-spoke wheels wrapped with Yokohama 255/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) rubber fill the carved wheel wells of the RX-8 and complete the exterior transformation.

While a factory spec RX-8 is probably driftable as is, competing against racers with 500-600 hp entries requires an equal attitude adjustment in the RX-8's hood compartment. To answer the challenge, Great shipped a fully-built turbocharged 13B (1.3 L two rotor) rotary engine from its Yokohama, Japan facility. The 13B is boosted with a huge HKS GT3040 turbine to make 400 hp - which combined with its light weight and inherently balanced structure, will be more than enough to compete with even higher horsepower competitors. The turbo system rids itself of extra boost between shifts through a SARD J Type wastegate mounted on a Great Co. exhaust manifold. Charge air is cooled via a horizontally mounted Blitz Type C intercooler and is then mixed with fuel courtesy of four SARD 850CC fuel injectors. Everything is then placed under the watchful electronic eye of an APEX-I Power FC engine management system. The job of managing physical power transmission though is relegated between an Ogura clutch, a stock Mazda 5-spd transmission, and a stock Mazda diff modified with a KAAZ limited slip differential. Beefing up the power train of a drift car without modifications to the suspension is akin to strapping a rocket pack to an ice skater, so Japanese suspension expert JIC Magic was enlisted to provide a custom solution. The JIC coilovers are mated with equally exquisite JIC lower tie bars, trailing arms and suspension rods for a fully adjustable suspension ready to meet the unique demands of any drift course.

To gauge an idea of the expected impact this RX-8 will make in the drift scene, you only have to note that the Grenade RX-8 has already been featured in Drifting Magazine and RX-7 Magazine and honored at events like the annual SevenStock gathering before it has even turned a wheel in competition. With Rod Millen in the driver's seat, an RMR-prepped chassis, and backing from Mazda, Yokohama, and JIC, the Grenade Mazda RX-8 is one drift-spec Mazda that is ready to, well… explode onto the drift scene.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mazda RX-8 by SpeedSource

The Mazda RX-8 has already received numerous accolades from the automotive press since its introduction three years ago. Most of the time, drivers and writers are enamored with the keen handling offered by the car's perfect 50/50 weight distribution. It's this even spread of weight that makes the car easy to drive fast and predictable when it's being pushed - even when a little bit too hard.

The perfect weight distribution is a boon on the street but it's even more beneficial on the racetrack; the great handling characteristics that perfect weight distribution helps impart is one of the reasons why the Mazda RX-8 seen here won back to back Grand-Am Cup championships. More impressively though, the No. 67 SpeedSource Engineering Mazda RX-8, with drivers Sylvain Tremblay and David Haskell behind the wheel, captured the ST Category title in its debut season in 2004 and then repeated the feat in 2005 in the face of even stiffer competition.

Of course, a great car is only half of the equation of any successful racing operation. The other fifty percent is a combination of proper preparation, teamwork, race strategy, and ultimately - the driver behind the wheel. SpeedSource Engineering had all these bases covered in their championship campaigns.

Established in 1995 by a man that has had racing in his blood since the day he won his first race at age 16, SpeedSource Engineering offers race-prepped cars and custom fabrication to any team in need.

It wasn't long before owner Sylvain Tremblay wanted back on the track. His opportunity came in the form of a Mazda RX-7 twin turbo (FD3S) prepped, of course, by his own SpeedSource Engineering. He quickly went on to nail two wins in the IMSA Endurance Championship and place 2nd in the driver championship. The RX-7s were finally retired after netting SpeedSource the team championship in 1998, and the company once again turned its attention to building race cars.

Fast-forward three years to 2001. SpeedSource added another successful chapter to its racing endeavors with a Porsche-based program comprised of Porsche Boxsters and 911s that delivers multiple championships. Despite their winning ways, Sylvain and SpeedSource never lost their affinity for racing fast and reliable rotary-powered Mazdas.

So, when the all-new Renesis-powered Mazda RX-8 was introduced in 2004, SpeedSource wasted little time in signing up as one of first professional Mazda RX-8-based teams. It came right from the factory with a 9000-rpm rotary engine and a remarkably stiff chassis that would need little modification before hitting the track. The obvious similarities between the SpeedSource RX-8 and a roadgoing RX-8 are evidence of the relatively easy process takes place to transform a factory-spec Mazda RX-8 to the Grand-Am competition-spec SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 highlighted in this month's Meet The Tuners feature.

First, the right RX-8 is necessary. To SpeedSource, that means a car without a sunroof and with a six-speed transmission. The sunroof that came on most RX-8's sold for street use adds extra weight exactly where it hurts the most - the highest point possible. And the six-speed transmission is a no-brainer for race use (if you can guess the one team that's tried an automatic in Grand Am, you get extra points).

The car is immediately stripped of all comfort and luxury features, along with anything else that isn't absolutely necessary to lap the race track. Kiss that six-disc goodbye along with all the cool rotor-themed details as well, because they'll be replaced with a rough carbon fiber board that houses essential switches and controls. Next, a roll cage with enough bracing to build two jungle gyms is welded into the car with additional bracing and supports. Finally, the relaxing factory air conditioning is replaced with a three-nozzle, 10lb. fire suppression system.

The RX-8's elaborate instrument panel is replaced with a simple Motec Digital Dash with built-in lap timer. Crowning the new, purpose built instrumentation are Motec's sequential shift lights. The heavy, airbag-equipped Mazda steering wheel is replaced with a suede unit courtesy of Sparco, which is a better match for racing gloves. The comfortable bucket seats are also ditched in favor of a singular Sparco EVO race seat, which is welded into place to match the driver's height and reinforced with a 3" x 4" steel plate back brace. While we're on the topic of Sparco, we should mention that it's their 3-inch, six-point racing harnesses that replace the stock seatbelts.

The cage is designed to work around the interior compartment - maximizing the driver's operating area while still providing a substantial safety cage to reduce the dangers of door to door competition. The intricate network of tubing even cuts a path through the space door panels would occupy in your RX-8; like everything else, the doors are lightened through stripping and cutting to a basic shell and skin structure. It's safe to say that the drivers of these cars are in a cozy little cocoon of safety when SpeedSource's work is done. After driver safety is addressed, the entire interior is painted to match the lightweight, one-stage paint found on the exterior of the car.

Outside, things may look roughly like your roadgoing RX-8, but looks are deceiving. A subtle MAZDASPEED fascia (the car uses same MAZDASPEED accessory pieces available to all RX-8 owners at Mazda dealerships) lowers the front air dam enough to provide more air into the hot engine bay. Out back, a MAZDASPEED wing and rear valance create downforce while matching MAZDASPEED sideskirts ensure lateral turbulence is kept to a minimum.

You'll probably also notice the aggressive stance of the racecar - it rides quite a bit lower than stock, thanks to a custom built suspension from Dynamic Suspension. Behind the Racing Hart wheels sit very capable factory stock brakes, equipped with competition-type Hawk brake pads.

Perhaps the most surprising fact to some race fans is that the engine is essentially stock, except being balanced and blueprinted. While Grand-Am rules don't allow extensive modification of the engine, the high-performance-from-the-factory nature of the Renesis rotary engine makes it an obvious track candidate. The short list of modifications in the engine bay includes a Motec engine management system, a SpeedSource cold air intake, and a racing radiator.

There are many other details in preparing a factory RX-8 into the championship-winning No. 67 car seen here, but the aforementioned changes represent the bulk of the process. Besides netting drivers Tremblay and Haskell the ST driver's championship in 2004 and 2005, the No. 67 SpeedSource RX-8, with support of several other identically prepared RX-8s campaigned by the team, delivered the Team championship to SpeedSource and the manufacturer's cup to Mazda in 2005 - more accolades to an already impressive list.

Mazda RX-7 by Calvin Wan

If the name Calvin Wan sounds familiar, it should. Calvin Wan is well known to the growing number of motorsports fans who have become drift fanatics. As a driver for Falken Tires’ professional drift team, he drifts the company’s GReddy twin-turbo’d Infiniti in the Formula D North American drifting championship and Falken Drift Showoff events – and even competes in international D1 Grand Prix drift competition on occasion. In July of 2005, Wan became the first driver to drift a Japanese nameplate into Formula D’s winner’s circle. But while his company car is an Infiniti, his personal weapon of choice is a Mazda RX-7.

In fact, Wan first appeared on the national map in a red, FD generation Mazda RX-7 at the 2003 D1 U.S. vs. Japan driver’s search – the first major drifting event in the U.S. He heavily damaged his RX-7 during qualifying, but still managed to impress a lot of people that day – including Falken Tires brass, who soon signed the Northern California resident to a team contract. While the new position thrust him into an international spotlight, it hasn’t changed Wan’s proclivity towards rotary powered sliders.

“I am very fond of Mazdas and the FD3S,” says Wan. “I believe it is one of the greatest sports cars ever built. I have been to many Sevenstock events at Mazda’s headquarters in Irvine, California. I am particularly interested in the new RX-7 that they are coming out with in the near future.”

There’s no better proof than the subject of our Meet The Tuners feature that you see here - Wan’s personal snow white FD3S Mazda RX-7, which replaces his red FD and has just finished its multi-year transformation from stocker to shocker. Starting its transformation from the depths of despair, Wan’s turbocharged and tuned RX-7 has relied on hand-me-downs and spares parts to attain its dressed-to-thrill looks and dizzying performance.

“I bought the chassis through Rotary Reliability and Racing in Southern California,” says Wan. “It was a beat-up parts car and I dreamed of turning it into a top level drift/time attack car. The lion’s share of credit goes to Henry Chung of Motorsport Dynamics - he handled all the mechanical wrenching, from the meticulous seam welding of the body to the installation of all the hard parts. Apexi USA supplied an old, discontinued AX75F82 turbo kit and the R-Magic Saito Roll Cage from their U.S. D1 drift car. The motor, drivetrain and suspension came off of my previous red D1 FD.”

The Apexi AX75-series turbos, still mainstays in the Apexi lineup, are designed for single turbo applications and rely on ARICK assisted ball bearing center sections to improve responsiveness and generous compressor A/Rs to deliver big power. The unit on Wan’s car with an 82-spec cold side is rated at 550 to 650 horsepower, which kicks the back around quite nicely when the boost hits. The rotary runs a very hip Rotary Extreme V-mount intercooler/radiator set-up that positions the chiller in a top-mount looking location forward of the engine. The radiator is laid out to make a V configuration and allow air from the nose to dissipate heat from both exchangers. The piping is a Rotary Extreme affair using a GReddy elbow as ‘point-A.’ Tuning is addressed with an Apex Power FC and AVC-R/ The Power FC is a piggyback ECU that allows tuning of ignition timing maps, fuel duty cycle, and air flow meter simulation among others. The AVC-R is Apexi’s tried-and-proven boost controller. The fuel system has been fortified with an Apexi BNR33 pump, Aeromotive regulator and upgraded 850cc primary and 1300cc secondary injectors expertly flow-matched by RC Engineering. Finally, the driveline has been taken to task with an Exedy clutch set, KAAZ two-way, clutch type differential, Mazdaspeed bushings and a RE Amemiya D1-spec shifter.

Footwork consists of Apexi N1 Pro coilovers, the all important Super Now steering adaptors that give more turn-in to keep pace with quick drift transitions, Rotary Extreme arms and ST Suspension roll bars. The Mazda rolls 18-inch Gram Lights aluminum and Falken Azenis RT-615 rubber. Up front, 18x9 wheels are joined by 235/40 tires while out back 18x10 rims and 275/35 tires are tortured as they are heavily hazed during serious sideways maneuvers.

Today the FD looks like no other parts car we can think of. Almaden Collision worked the magic in the body tuning department by massaging the panels and installing a jaw-dropping Final Konnexion body kit. The Mazda also sports aggressive Final Konnexion front and rear fascias and side skirts augmented by a Rotary Extreme rear wing and N1-spec carbon hood. Finishing touches include a Motorsport Dynamics front splitter, C-west canards and Feed headlight ducts.

“We got the chassis finished for SEMA 2004 and displayed at the Star Shield Armor booth," says Wan. “The car was fully completed and ran for the first time during the Inaugural San Jose Grand Prix Formula D Drifting Demonstration. Since then it is has been dual-purpose car for both time attack racing and drifting. It got second place in the Super Street Time Attack in the Drift Class and first place during the Nitro 2 Go – Rim of the World Drifting Invitational. It has been to numerous car shows - from HIN to Import Showoff to SF and San Jose International Auto Shows to the Exedy Globalparts Corporation booth in SEMA 2005.”

“More recently,” Wan continues, “I have been participating in a lot of events and shows with the car. I just finished participating in a cover story shootout comparison for Sport Compact Car magazine. The shootout went very well - my FD3S won most of the evaluations.”

“I am also signed up for the 2006 San Jose Grand Prix drift demo. I am helping promote the race during the Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift premier at a downtown San Jose theater. Then, during the actual Grand Prix, I will be pulling gs in the drifting demo during the full weekend of the race at the end of July. Me and that RX-7…we keep pretty busy.”

Wan’s RX-7 and its highly boosted rotary powerplant are a hard act to follow, but they serve as a great idea factory for aspiring FD enthusiasts out there…so go forth and ‘Zoom, Zoom’ to your own tune.