Driving Enthusiast, Historic, Inspiration, Motor Racing, Racing, Track Driving, Video

Charge Mazda 787B

Yup, its the classic Group C Charge Mazda 787B that we want to share. You’re probably wondering what the difference is between the 787 and 787B. Well it comes down to this: the 787B has an ECU to controlld the action of the telescopic intake for the rotary engine – how cool is that?!

However we are not focusing on how cool this car looks, but rather how GREAT it sounds! This year at the 2014 Spa Classic we found a lad who strapped a GoPro to the inside of the Mazda 787B that he was racing. Enjoy the great video demonstrating how difficult it is to pilot one of these types of cars around the famed Spa Francorchamp Circuit.

Here are some additional sounds of the race winning Mazda 787B, that was restored, and driven in demonstration laps at the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans

Analysis, Automotive, Car Parts, Cars, Driving Enthusiast

Track Day Prep – Brake Pads

Okay – some people said the blog isn’t personal enough. Or question whether I am qualified to question automobiles and race cars. Well…. I have finally decided to share more about my fleet here at Sunday Drive.

What better way to introduce to the car than through some upgrades. First up are some general maintenance items necessary for a recent track day. The ’94 Mazda RX-7 (touring model) in my fleet was running on EBC yellows on all four corners. The yellows worked well, but they lacked the initial bite when out on the street. Last year’s two day track event in November left the front pads with about 1/3rd meat. Overall they are a great pad, but at times on track left me wishing for more feedback. Considering the car was built in the 90’s pedal feel is hard to come by – it just was not at the top of the list. For those that do own a RX-7 FD, you can upgrade your master cylinder to a 929 cylinder which will allow for a little more feedback, since it’s larger and you can modulate the pressure.

Back to the upgrades. Understand though – I believe the true driving experience is driving your car from the street to the track and back home again. It’s a full weekend of getting in touch with the car, as you really get to explore the limits of grip and risk.

To help with the street compliance I decided to run the EBC blue stuff.  Nearly the same compound as yellow stuff, but with a focus on strong initial bite. After slotting these lovely pads in the car, I can surely say it was a true upgrade. Kind in mind, the car is roughly 2810 lbs. with a half take of gas and a spare tire in the trunk. The cold initial bite of the pads out on street are definitely enough to get the tires to squeak. These pads do not necessarily help with the pedal feel, but they inspire confidence when needing to brake.

EBC Brake 1 EBC Brake 2 EBC Brake 3

Automotive, Cars, Driving Enthusiast

Rotary Power

IMG_0096 1994_mazda_rx-7_2_dr_turbo_hatchback-pic-8393138134168043057 Mazda did something that no one in the world would have thought possible – mass produce a rotary engine. Well they did it, and over the years with progress the team at Mazda put together a car to fight head-on with Porsche. The last US version available was the third generation RX-7 FD3S selling from 1992 to 1995. The car was introduced at a time when gas prices were pushing higher and most households were closing their wallets to low MPG cars. In the end,  maybe what the RX-7 is best known for is its greatest downfall – the rotary engine. Everything about this car is wonderful, except that little hot spinning ticking time bomb that struggled to keep up with efficient piston motors.

The car setup is perfectly neutral with a 50:50 distribution that handles each driver input with ease. The steering wheel is much larger than what most drivers are used to, but it allows for precise steering. It’s so large that heel-toe is nearly impossible since the driver’s thigh will be obstructed by the 6 o’clock area of the steering wheel. It’s nimble 2,800 lb frame is the prime reason this car was called a giant killer. Pair this car against any opponent and the odds were this car would leave it in the corners around the track – think Porsche again. They made the recipe for a great car easy – take the 2,800 pound body and pair it with Mazda’s 1.3 liter engine (13B-REW)  which comes equipped with twin sequential turbo chargers that serves  252 ponies with 217 lb-ft of torque. In the end you get a machine that flies through all RPMs and even provides strong low-end torque. When we say flies – it redlines around 7,000 RPMs, while max power is produced at 6,500 RPMs.  Just don’t try to work on the car alone. The engine bay was crammed to the fenders with a rats nest of tubing and pipes.


However the car  does come with a learning curve. The unique operating procedure of the sequential turbos would leave some unknowing drivers spinning in their pants as there is a dip in power as the turbos shift from the primary to the secondary around 4K – 4.5K RPMs, causing a kick from the secondary turbo lag. A decent tune would usually eliminate this issue. Another area that made this car so great was the cockpit. That’s exactly how it feels. It’s not as if the driver gets into the car to drive it, but rather straps the car onto his/her back and blasts off. The tight cockpit has all buttons within arms reach and only provides the pilot with the necessary read outs. Everything else was discarded, including cup holders, making longer road trips a death trap if you choose to eat or drink while driving.

DSC_0862 1994_mazda_rx-7_2_dr_turbo_hatchback-pic-399150680757110612 1994_mazda_rx-7_2_dr_turbo_hatchback-pic-8626376238925858274

This car was designed to be a grand tourer in the USA, pairing the driver with the road. But if it was necessary to listen to music, fear not – the Bose Wave system was created especially for this car to help amplify the sound waves throughout the tiny cabin from the back of the trunk. Fuel capacity offers the driver 20 U.S. gallons of petrol – yes, it holds 20 gallons of fuel, which is pretty much unheard of these days.

1994_mazda_rx-7_2_dr_turbo_hatchback-pic-6983621276374351035 DSC_1074 tech2

However with every great story comes a tragic ending. The RX-7 FD was soon forgotten as a road warrior due to it’s fickle engine life. The little wankel engine worked itself to death and at 60,000 miles the engine would more than likely blow up (basically the seals within the engine would give). This catastrophic failure would cost the owner a pretty penny in repairs if not caught soon enough. These cars have since become more affordable, but it does come with a warning. The owner of this vehicle will be forever in fear of an explosion that will bring the car to a halt requiring a messy clean up. But for those brief moments of driving on the twisty roads this car is nothing but pure driving bliss.


Automotive, Cars, Driving Enthusiast, Video

Track Day Action

There’s nothing better than getting your car from the street to the track. Race tracks in the US are something like Pokemon characters – you want to drive them all. On top of that, you can buy a little sticker to declare your conquest. The only downside of a race track is one’s  ability to drive flat out or ten tenths. There are instances that will remind you of how quickly everything can end if you’re not on top of it.

Here are some in-car footage of the 2012 two day session which allowed us to drive on NJMP Lightning and Thunderbolt tracks.

Video 1 – In car footage of Thunderbolt

Video 2 – Chase car of RX-7 at Thunderbolt

But the danger always looms. In the last video you will see what happens when a slight miss-shift can do to a car. The rear locked shifting from fourth to third and then the car kicked out quickly.

Video 3 – Spin out