If proof was needed that Mazda needs to revive the RX-7, then here it is – the 1995 Series VI/FD RX-7 SP race car that once wore Triple M livery and was driven to victory at the ’95 Eastern Creek 12-hour by JB and Dick.
This review was first published in MOTOR magazine's February 2009 issue.
It isn’t too heavily modified, but with a full roll cage, no airbag, race seats and a fire-breathing exhaust, it isn’t road-registered, either. Some early morning track time at Wakefield Park beckoned.
It’s been several years since the RX-7’s 235/45ZR17 Bridgestone semi-slicks have been even remotely warm, so my first half-dozen laps concentrate on getting heat into the tyres while not punting the car into a wall, or the kitty litter. But once they start to stick, the fun begins.
Again, it’s the superb balance of this RX-7’s chassis that makes it so entertaining to throw around. I’ve been warned that this wicked-up SP wearing old tyres might be like driving on ice, but she’s actually pretty sticky, until I try and squeeze on some twin-turbo thrust exiting Wakefield Park’s hairpin, and discover that when this RX-7’s arse lets go, it does so instantly.
A little more restraint with my right foot, however, and it’s surprising how effortless – yet still challenging, and hopelessly addictive – the greatest of all RX-7s is. It’s twin-turbo 13B-REW provides an instant contrast to the naturally aspirated pair we’ve driven to the track.
This modified example (with an estimated 240kW, up from the standard SP’s 204) is pretty laggy at low revs and isn’t anywhere near as tractable as either the RX-8’s Renesis or the Cosmo’s 10A, but its mid-range is monumental, and the back-slamming grunt on tap from 4800rpm to the 7500rpm cut-out is sensational.
It’s a reminder of just how suited Mazda’s rotary is to forced induction, and to racetrack applications. And why we’d love to see another RX-7.
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Fast Facts - 1995 Mazda RX-7 SP
ENGINE: 1308cc 2-rotor, twin-turbo rotary
POWER: 240kW (estimated)
TORQUE: 450Nm (estimated)
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
1995 Eastern Creek 12-hour production-car race (driven by Dick Johnson and John Bowe)
LIKE: Reminds you just how right and how great the last RX-7 was
DISLIKE: Its racetrack nous and turbo stonk might not be carried on