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First Gen for potential Auto X/Track Day car?

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First Gen for potential Auto X/Track Day car?

Old 12-04-13, 07:52 PM
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First Gen for potential Auto X/Track Day car?

So, I've been thinking of switching back to an RX-7 from a Miata for a bit now. I really want to go rotary, and I really want something that doesn't need a new sub frame or a lot of crazy custom work to drop a rotary in. So, it's become a debate between an FB or FC. FDs are bit too pricey for me still.

Second reason I'm looking to switch is that the Miata just doesn't offer good roll/crash protection for me. For Auto X, I'm not as worried about, but I worry about going to a track. I'm tall enough to need extensive mods to sit below a roll bar in a Miata. I've owned an SA, FB, and 3 FCs and I do sit close to the roof line, but with a lower seat installed I'd have enough clearance to be at least be able to cage it without hitting a bar or poking above it. I know I could run a taller cage in a Miata, but I like having the ability to have a roof, and I don't have space to keep a car with no top on it.

I'm just looking for some thoughts and opinions from guys who have been, or are using these cars for Auto X and track days. Really, I'll be hitting a track maybe once or twice a year if I can get a safe car built, however, I'll be running upwards of 2 to 3 Auto X events a month during the race season. We have 3 clubs close by, and I really like to get out every weekend I have free to do so.

My thoughts for a first gen would be to run 12a and focus on suspension and tires, then maybe go for a turbo swap somewhere later on. Essentially I'd run something close to an Spec 7 car for a while. Figure 12a's are cheap to maintain and in an FB, easy to replace fairly quickly after excess wiring and vacuum tubes have been stripped out.

I'm wondering if I would still be competitive running a 12a FB. I'm going out to have fun, but if I can set decent times, I'm pretty happy.

Thanks for any input you guys can give me. I'm still pretty new to Auto X, and the Miata has been easy to drive and very forgiving, but it's hard to stay away from a rotary.
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Old 12-05-13, 08:55 AM
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I'd ask abeomid he has a thread right under yours LOL , he seems to be very knowledgeable on the subject .

good luck .
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Old 12-05-13, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tem120 View Post
I'd ask abeomid he has a thread right under yours LOL , he seems to be very knowledgeable on the subject .

good luck .
Thanks a lot. I'll take a peek at it tonight when I get time.
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Old 12-05-13, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ProjectR13B View Post
I'm wondering if I would still be competitive running a 12a FB. I'm going out to have fun, but if I can set decent times, I'm pretty happy. .
competitive in what? competition implies some kind of racing, and not track days, and racing has rules, and classes and stuff.

the 12A FB was historically competitive in ITA and CSP, and its a simple car and a LOT of fun.

the FC was competitive in ITS, its not quite a simple as the FB, but its still fun
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Old 12-05-13, 09:11 PM
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In solo I think an FB could be made into a competitive car in F Prepared but CSP is play ground of the Miata in most places. They put 15x10" wheels on those things and turn really fast times.

In organized club racing, ITA is, again, a Miata class. I've gone head to head with Miatas in IT and generally I could out run them down a straight but in the twisty bits they just work better.

There is a new club racing class called Super Touring Lite (STL) and I think an FB could be allot of fun there. The rules are slanted towards FWD Mac Strut cars right now but STL does allow for some mods that you can't do in IT.

Also the FB is still a competitive car in E Production.

If you are just looking to have fun, an FB will do fine. A 12A that is keep cool will last a long time....
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Old 12-06-13, 12:25 PM
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diabolical1 <-- another great person to ask regarding the subject .
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Old 12-07-13, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
competitive in what? competition implies some kind of racing, and not track days, and racing has rules, and classes and stuff.

the 12A FB was historically competitive in ITA and CSP, and its a simple car and a LOT of fun.

the FC was competitive in ITS, its not quite a simple as the FB, but its still fun
ITA would be nice, but I doubt I'd make it to many, if any races since the closest track is about 4 hours out.

CSP would be nice. Right now I'm running C Stock and am about 5-6 seconds off the pace of the fastest Miata out there. Wouldn't mind closing that game by a couple seconds. I don't mind being slow, but I also don't want to go out and be dead last every time, not that I can see that happening.
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Old 12-07-13, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mustanghammer View Post
In solo I think an FB could be made into a competitive car in F Prepared but CSP is play ground of the Miata in most places. They put 15x10" wheels on those things and turn really fast times.

In organized club racing, ITA is, again, a Miata class. I've gone head to head with Miatas in IT and generally I could out run them down a straight but in the twisty bits they just work better.

There is a new club racing class called Super Touring Lite (STL) and I think an FB could be allot of fun there. The rules are slanted towards FWD Mac Strut cars right now but STL does allow for some mods that you can't do in IT.

Also the FB is still a competitive car in E Production.

If you are just looking to have fun, an FB will do fine. A 12A that is keep cool will last a long time....
Yeah, My fear is that I'll always be dominated by Miatas. It feels like Mazda purpose built it to Auto X sometimes. I guess a lot of that stuff will always come down to set up and driver over that actually car.

Last race a guy in a stock TII ran 10 seconds slower than a girl in an NA FC running a Megasquirt and street port on R compounds. Very different cars and very different level of driving skill though.

Good to hear from people having fun running FBs and 12a's though. That's what I was hoping to see. If I ever want more power, it's not like a TII swap is that hard to pull off.

I'm still a ways off from picking up another car, but I'm keeping my options open. Right now it's looking like an older RX-8 is around the same price as some FBs and FCs which is a little depressing. Don't know if I'd want to hassle with an 8 though. Also rather stick with a lighter car, which is another thing putting the FB in my top choices.
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Old 12-07-13, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ProjectR13B View Post
Yeah, My fear is that I'll always be dominated by Miatas. It feels like Mazda purpose built it to Auto X sometimes. I guess a lot of that stuff will always come down to set up and driver over that actually car.

Last race a guy in a stock TII ran 10 seconds slower than a girl in an NA FC running a Megasquirt and street port on R compounds. Very different cars and very different level of driving skill though.

Good to hear from people having fun running FBs and 12a's though. That's what I was hoping to see. If I ever want more power, it's not like a TII swap is that hard to pull off.

I'm still a ways off from picking up another car, but I'm keeping my options open. Right now it's looking like an older RX-8 is around the same price as some FBs and FCs which is a little depressing. Don't know if I'd want to hassle with an 8 though. Also rather stick with a lighter car, which is another thing putting the FB in my top choices.
I wouldnt' throw the 8 out the window its a very good handling car . with a bit more power then a miata LOL ,

But I think The FB is cheaper to modify , as for TII swap I think that kicks you into SM , Or SSM so probably would not be very competetive BUt would be a fun car to drive , My car is completely un competetive But I enjoy the hell out of driving it .
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Old 12-07-13, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tem120 View Post
I wouldnt' throw the 8 out the window its a very good handling car . with a bit more power then a miata LOL ,

But I think The FB is cheaper to modify , as for TII swap I think that kicks you into SM , Or SSM so probably would not be very competetive BUt would be a fun car to drive , My car is completely un competetive But I enjoy the hell out of driving it .
Yeah, I figured a a turbo swap would bump me up pretty far, it would be fun to drive though. For a while I was seriously considering a Miata with a Rotary swap, but for the price and the amount of custom modification I'd have to do, it seems like less work to just buy another 7.

I love the way the RX-8 drives, but I've only ever done dealer test drives, so it's hard to say if it would be a good match for me.

The Miata is super safe feeling to drive. It never feels like I've lost control even when it's sideways, or really even when it spins since it's so short. My SA has a similar feel from what I remember.
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Old 12-07-13, 12:08 PM
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with the 1st gen there are TONS of ways to make power, as the stock 100hp 12A is the least powerful thing mazda did.

you could do a big port, and some kind of carb+exhaust and be in the 170rwhp area, and in a light car, this is serious fun. even a mildly modded 13B out of an NA FC can be pushing 180+ rwhp. so there are plenty of choices that don't involve a turbo.

the Rx8 is interesting, Mazda didn't leave much on the table, so there isn't much you can do, although the flip side is that there isn't much you need to do, so race car prep is easy. the chassis is magic, you really only need shocks and springs, and maybe brake pads.

the engine should be rebuilt, the cat should be removed, although if you're lazy it'll remove itself. the engine has a low EGT limit, due to the side seal being IN the exhaust, so you can tune it, but there are no big gains to be had.

there is an Rx8 on the pole of the E2 class at the 25 hours of thunderhill right now, they raced the Rx8 since it came out, and they do really well at the 25
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Old 12-07-13, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
with the 1st gen there are TONS of ways to make power, as the stock 100hp 12A is the least powerful thing mazda did.

you could do a big port, and some kind of carb+exhaust and be in the 170rwhp area, and in a light car, this is serious fun. even a mildly modded 13B out of an NA FC can be pushing 180+ rwhp. so there are plenty of choices that don't involve a turbo.

the Rx8 is interesting, Mazda didn't leave much on the table, so there isn't much you can do, although the flip side is that there isn't much you need to do, so race car prep is easy. the chassis is magic, you really only need shocks and springs, and maybe brake pads.

the engine should be rebuilt, the cat should be removed, although if you're lazy it'll remove itself. the engine has a low EGT limit, due to the side seal being IN the exhaust, so you can tune it, but there are no big gains to be had.

there is an Rx8 on the pole of the E2 class at the 25 hours of thunderhill right now, they raced the Rx8 since it came out, and they do really well at the 25
Thanks man. This is some good info. I really considered building an NA 13b with a nice sized port and tune for an FB. It was my original engine of choice if I did a turbo rotary, since like you said, a light car can go a long way with that kind of power.

Really interesting stuff on the RX-8 though. I knew about the change in the exhaust ports, but not much else. It's one of those cars I've liked, but since I don't own one, I haven't looked too deeply into what kind of potential they have.
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Old 12-08-13, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ProjectR13B View Post
Thanks man. This is some good info. I really considered building an NA 13b with a nice sized port and tune for an FB. It was my original engine of choice if I did a turbo rotary, since like you said, a light car can go a long way with that kind of power.

Really interesting stuff on the RX-8 though. I knew about the change in the exhaust ports, but not much else. It's one of those cars I've liked, but since I don't own one, I haven't looked too deeply into what kind of potential they have.
I've driven an 8 once and I used to own an NB , and all I can say is the 8 is the easiest car to drive i've ever been in . so stable even beyond its limit it had great rear grip for putting hte power down . or maybe it was the lack of torque LMAO .

my miata wasnt as stable it rather liked snap over steer , I like the FD as its somewhere inbetween the 2 cars .
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Old 12-08-13, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tem120 View Post
and all I can say is the 8 is the easiest car to drive i've ever been in
it really is! the first time i drove one was at the track, i was driving it like it was a forklift with a **** on the steering wheel and it'll move around a little, but it doesn't bite, the worst it does is pause, as if to say "did you really do that?" and then it just keeps going.

it has this lack of vice, while riding nicely, and being quick too. a stock showroom Rx8 runs about the same lap times as an ITS FC
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Old 12-08-13, 11:17 PM
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Hmm. good stuff to know. I mean, I can pick up an ok RX-8 for about $4000 to $6000 around here with about 100k on them. Figure I'd delete most of the interior and AC/emissions (no smog here) and could have a decent ride with some suspension work. I guess it'll really come down to what I can find. FB also has that cool old schoolness to it now, being nearly if not at least 30 years old.
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Old 12-09-13, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ProjectR13B View Post
Hmm. good stuff to know. I mean, I can pick up an ok RX-8 for about $4000 to $6000 around here with about 100k on them. Figure I'd delete most of the interior and AC/emissions (no smog here) and could have a decent ride with some suspension work. I guess it'll really come down to what I can find. FB also has that cool old schoolness to it now, being nearly if not at least 30 years old.
8's are pretty cheap down here .

At that millage though I would check compression =/

Chassis wise I think the 8 has the advantage . plus if you only have 1 car the 8 is a better choice its a car you can daily easily.

But I'm not all to familiar with the 8 so I cant say for sure . but any car with that Millage I'd check the motor .

I've been out of it for the last few months but I thoght the 8 was pretty competetive in STX / or was it STU in auto-x and Cstock.

starting next season with the whole Street tire class . you could do nothing But get some sticky street tires and have alot of fun in stock class . and decide to go from there

Last edited by Tem120; 12-09-13 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 12-09-13, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ProjectR13B View Post
Hmm. good stuff to know. I mean, I can pick up an ok RX-8 for about $4000 to $6000 around here with about 100k on them. Figure I'd delete most of the interior and AC/emissions (no smog here) and could have a decent ride with some suspension work. I guess it'll really come down to what I can find. FB also has that cool old schoolness to it now, being nearly if not at least 30 years old.
the 8 is a modern car, the AC system is under 30lbs, and the emissions is just the air pump and cat, air pump is electric, so its like ~1lb?

the interior weighs nothing as well, and the best part is that you can remove all of it in like 20minutes, so you may as well leave it in most of the time.

Originally Posted by Tem120 View Post
8's are pretty cheap down here .

At that millage though I would check compression =/
+1. in fact if you're going to go racing you may as well just rebuild the engine before you start.
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Old 12-09-13, 03:24 PM
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^ Yeah, I'd rebuild for sure. at worst, swap in a used engine. I've got my Miata and a Mazdaspeed 3 and have no intention of getting rid of either any time soon, so this car will be strictly for race use. I still have to keep it street legal though because I'd have no way to trailer it to events.

I was considering the 8 for the fact that it is a modern car. Less likely to be rusted out, and they seem to have a decent amount of aftermarket support.
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Old 12-10-13, 08:48 AM
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well regardless of what you choose , hope you stick around and let us know what happens
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Old 12-10-13, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tem120 View Post
well regardless of what you choose , hope you stick around and let us know what happens
Will do. I'll probably cruise the RX-8 forum a bit. I don't really know as much about them. I have a pretty solid idea of what parts I'd buy for a 7 and where to get them and a round about price for them. An 8 would be a whole different beast though, and I'm not sure how tuning is on the Renesis and what can be done to make power outside of forced induction and what not.
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Old 12-10-13, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ProjectR13B View Post
Will do. I'll probably cruise the RX-8 forum a bit. I don't really know as much about them. I have a pretty solid idea of what parts I'd buy for a 7 and where to get them and a round about price for them. An 8 would be a whole different beast though, and I'm not sure how tuning is on the Renesis and what can be done to make power outside of forced induction and what not.
you can look at the 8 forum, but they don't know much more than you…

also there really isn't much you can do to gain hp without a turbo, basically the exhaust ports are the limitation, and there's no meat for porting. Mazda also put a really good intake, and decent exhaust on it, so there is like 5hp there. the stock ecu is pretty good too.

so its not like the older rotaries in the way you could change the exhaust and make 40hp.
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Old 12-11-13, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
you can look at the 8 forum, but they don't know much more than you…

also there really isn't much you can do to gain hp without a turbo, basically the exhaust ports are the limitation, and there's no meat for porting. Mazda also put a really good intake, and decent exhaust on it, so there is like 5hp there. the stock ecu is pretty good too.

so its not like the older rotaries in the way you could change the exhaust and make 40hp.
lol good to know. Since selling my RX-7s I've seen a serious lack of knowledge on some other forums outside of some of the Honda guys as weird as that is to say. Mazdaspeed 3 guys are dead set on how to tune the car and what parts to buy, and if you don't stick to that plan, it's like being a leper.

I'd be ok starting with a well tuned car. less parts to buy and solid power delivery. Then I can focus on suspension and tires
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Old 12-12-13, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ProjectR13B View Post
lol good to know. Since selling my RX-7s I've seen a serious lack of knowledge on some other forums outside of some of the Honda guys as weird as that is to say. Mazdaspeed 3 guys are dead set on how to tune the car and what parts to buy, and if you don't stick to that plan, it's like being a leper.

I'd be ok starting with a well tuned car. less parts to buy and solid power delivery. Then I can focus on suspension and tires
actually if you want the how to buy an Rx8 crib notes:

1. check the warranty history, make sure its had all the recalls, depending on the year there are a bunch of different ones, the one we're concerned with is the MSP-16, which was an ecu reflash. call Mazda, or shoot me a pm. its also nice to know if its had an engine or other work already.

2. when you're looking at the car, get a compression check, for some reason getting a 13B-MSP to run 100k miles is really hard.

3.for some reason, Rx8 owners don't keep service records, probably because they don't service the car, so unless its just been serviced, plan on a major service +coils. you will also want to clean the CAS, and reset it (ESS reset, very easy). the clutch pedal needs to be looked at, they break off, and the adjustment is usually WAY off. the rest of the car is built like a lego, so its really easy to pull stuff apart and clean/readjust as needed.

4. other odd bits that break. the shift boot tears, and it lets transmission noise through in odd gears. the taillights are full of water, the guy who designed the drain obviously didn't know about gravity, there are updated gaskets, which work.

5. also look for rust in the doors and around the rear wheel opening, there is a bulletin about this, they goofed on the seam sealer. i'm in california so i'm not sure how big of a problem this is, as bare metal doesn't rust here
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Old 12-14-13, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
actually if you want the how to buy an Rx8 crib notes:

1. check the warranty history, make sure its had all the recalls, depending on the year there are a bunch of different ones, the one we're concerned with is the MSP-16, which was an ecu reflash. call Mazda, or shoot me a pm. its also nice to know if its had an engine or other work already.

2. when you're looking at the car, get a compression check, for some reason getting a 13B-MSP to run 100k miles is really hard.

3.for some reason, Rx8 owners don't keep service records, probably because they don't service the car, so unless its just been serviced, plan on a major service +coils. you will also want to clean the CAS, and reset it (ESS reset, very easy). the clutch pedal needs to be looked at, they break off, and the adjustment is usually WAY off. the rest of the car is built like a lego, so its really easy to pull stuff apart and clean/readjust as needed.

4. other odd bits that break. the shift boot tears, and it lets transmission noise through in odd gears. the taillights are full of water, the guy who designed the drain obviously didn't know about gravity, there are updated gaskets, which work.

5. also look for rust in the doors and around the rear wheel opening, there is a bulletin about this, they goofed on the seam sealer. i'm in california so i'm not sure how big of a problem this is, as bare metal doesn't rust here
Awesome. A lot of good info here. I had considered picking one up before I decided on my speed3, but when I was reading a buyers guide, it seemed like a significant amount of upkeep for something I'd be dailying 60+ miles 5 days a week.

Some of this stuff wasn't on the guide though, like the shift boot and the clutch pedal. Also, rust can be a problem here. We don't get a lot of salt on the roads or anything, but there's a lot of brackish water and I'm near the ocean, so, rust happens, but not as much as places farther north.

It'll probably be sometime next year before I buy. I'm going to just run C stock in my Miata this season, but the earlier I decide, the more info I can gather. Rather not be surprised when something breaks.

Hopefully reliability on a Renesis won't be a problem if I get a fresh rebuild since I won't be running it more than a a few thousand miles a year, but then again, it'll be a hard few thousand.
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Old 12-15-13, 11:42 AM
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PICT8551-1 by Mahjik, on Flickr

You might send a PM to "ebb" here on the forum. He raced a RX8 (pictured above) for a few seasons and has driven my S2000 (and several race prepared Miata's). He can provide you some useful insight on some of the various vehicles although you likely aren't going to like what he has to say about his old RX8.
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