The Bergenholtz Brothers - Ron and Ed - have made quite a name for themselves over the years. From the early days of Ed street racing with his infamous CR-X that the two eventually turned into a FWD single-digit speedster (which was also introduced into the NHRA Museum this past winter), then campaigning a Mazda 6, it's safe to say they know a thing or two about living life one quarter mile at a time. They not only learned how to get down the track quickly, but they figured out how to do it right: by designing the FWD wheelie bar, the invention that put them on the map and is still employed by drag racers today. Ron, known particularly for his attention to extreme detail, used to dominate the show circuit with a cleaner-than-clean DA Integra back when hiding wires and the word "JDM" was virtually unknown; now he's turned his obsessive car building technique to a new direction, drifting and time attack, and what he's thought up for their new Mazda RX-8 could very well set the wheels in motion for yet another innovative way to build race cars in a totally different light. Let's see what madness Ron has brewing in his head now.
Bergenholtz Racing has always been a fan of drifting since the very beginnings of its introduction at the Irwindale Speedway. We always enjoyed the entertainment value and had the utmost respect for the skill of the drivers. We knew we wanted to get involved somehow, and we knew we wanted to do it in a big way. In 2007, we were able to get involved with our long-time sponsor, A'PEXi. We were able to engineer a great program right from the start using their Mazda RX-7 and were also able to enlist the professional services of 2004 D1 Champion Ryuji Miki. We learned so much in '07 and '08 about drifting from both an event perspective as well as an engineering car setup perspective. Sooner or later we knew we'd have to build our own Bergenholtz drift car and build something that would make a major impact in the way it's constructed as well as having great visual/audible impact - you know, build something crazy that nobody in the drift community has ever seen. In those two years of using the A'PEXi RX-7, we knew improvements could be made on a performance level and service level for the mechanics. We decided our research could be put to use by building the latest in Mazda's RX series, the RX-8.
All Bergenholtz racecars we have built in the past always had the best and we weren't about to stop here with our own Mazda RX-8. Every step of the process required a lot of engineering and we wanted to make sure we produced a drift car that was perfect in every way possible. If we took time to think through every meticulous part on the car, we would never have to redo the car. It was a nightmare. I was facing time constraints and at the same time making sure we did a good job. The saying goes: "There's always time to do the job twice but never enough time to do it right the first time." There wasn't one day that went by where I wanted to take a short cut in doing something and ended up taking the long road to do it right. On top of that I wanted every piece to look cool. If it looked like I took a shortcut, I knew there'd be people who'd talk shit. We performed most of the work at Steen Chassis with the help of Gary Steen, who's just as obsessed as I am in doing an excellent job because this RX-8 would represent our work. Both of us agreed that we do not produce shit for work. We both went nuts. We decided to start at the rear of the car and work our way towards the front.