Comparing the RX-8 to the legendary RX-7 is likened to comparing Megan Fox with Jamie Foxx. It's enough to make Nads' back hair turn even whiter. It was some marketing guy's "great" idea turned rotary purist's worst nightmare. The lack of a turbocharger on the Renesis engine equates to a SLOW 8. You may want to think twice about using that word around Dave Gibson of Speed Machine Performance, though. The 619 wheel hp and 530 lb-ft of torque at 26psi he helped to produce out of the Falken Mazda RX-8 is anything but slow.
Based in Vista, CA, Speed Machine focuses on building nearly-invincible rotary motors. Drift fans may also know that this RX-8 isn't the first time Gibson and Falken have crossed paths. They began their motorsports partnership with the last-generation RX-7, driven by Tony Angelo-built from scratch in less than 12 days-and the 8 is the natural progression of the rotary project. While the 7 was already rock solid, Dave and the crew felt the project didn't have the time they would have liked to devote. Falken's main man, Nick Fousekis, is infinitely confident in Gibson's abilities: "I knew Dave was going to do it. Aside from hiccups in first year builds, I know that it's only a matter of time before [the RX-8] is a contender and really hard to beat. It's just getting over that hurdle."
Work on the 8 began in late '06, with preparation of the engine and chassis. While Dave worked on the 13B and his team did their magic on the chassis, parts that would eventually make their way onto the RX-8 started to trickle in and litter the shop. And by parts, we mean two of everything, literally. Falken and Speed Machine took no chances and spared no expense to make this car as competitive as possible. We'll put it into perspective for you: If someone walked in off the street and asked Speed Machine to build this same exact RX-8, it'd cost in excess of $250,000. That's not a number we came up through arcane magic; that's a number quoted from Dave. A quarter million dollars, more than the combined salary of the entire Super Street staff over the course of 10 years. Just the amount of Wiggins clamps on the car cost in the range of a few grand.
Six digits was enough to build the sickest, wildest, meanest, most powerful twin-turbo 13B we've ever experienced, outputting roughly 476 horses per liter. Speed Machine accomplished this incredible feat with a 13B, but not the usual kind you'd expect. Dave sourced a JDM Cosmo rotary, chosen for its improved breathing potential. The motor was torn apart only to be streetported, cryo-treated and designed to produce instant response, the widest powerband and most power possible out of a twin-turbo two-rotor.
But power alone won't make much of a drift car; all those ponies need to reach the turf. That's why the Cosmo motor was mated to a cryo-treated RX-7 transmission with the pricy OS Giken gear set. It may be rough at times, but the FD tranny is nearly bulletproof and capable of handling the 600+ hp. The gear seat isn't the only thing from OS Giken either; the twin-plate clutch and two-way locking differential are both OS, too. Nearly every stock suspension part was also removed with aftermarket parts like Tein MonoFlex coilovers, Speed Machine fully-adjustable rear arms, a modified and spaced steering rack and a fully-custom modified Mazdaspeed Power Plant Frame. Dave won't even let us see the latter; it's just that good.
After hearing Dave talk about the 8 for only a few minutes, it's immediately apparent he's proud of the work done. He just knows how much he and his team killed themselves to finish the car. If Dr. Felix were still alive, he would adjust his glasses and marvel at how much Speed Machine squeezed out of the rotary. And he'd probably say something like, "Dieses ist die Scheisse!"
Anatomy of a Falken Driver
DOB: April 16, 1971
City: Takarazuka, Hyogo prefecture, Japan
Affiliations: Garage-S, Falken, OS Giken, Your Mom
Born in the Hyogo prefecture in the spring of '71, Seigo Yamamoto started his driving career even before he could drink; well, at least legally, anyway. Although Yamamoto is known for drifting his Chaser in both D1 and Formula D, he also focuses a great deal of energy on Garage-S back in Japan.
Seigo was being supported by Falken Japan before his switch to the West. Nick Fousekis was at the helm of the original Falken drift program. "When we started getting into it in 2003, it was simple to work with him and Koguchi. Those were the first two pro-drivers from Japan, going as far back as the first Drift Showoff with him in '03. Since then, he's been a staple in the drifting program. He has proven to be a great driver, a great person with a great personality, and we're proud to have him as part of the Falken Family. Extending NTB. "
This practically makes Seigo the Grandfather of American Drifting. And why not? Fans can see how genuine the dude is. He goes out of his way to let American fans know he's part of our scene and not a Japanese transplant who crosses the pond just to compete and forget about us.
Owner Falken Tire Corp.
Hometown Fontana, CA
Daily Grind Burning Falken RT 615's
Under The Hood 13B-RE Cosmo engine, Speed Machine streetport; NRS 2mm Ceramic Seals; Ianetti apex seal springs, Balanced assembly, High flow e-shaft oil jets, tear dropped oil ports; FD3S RX-7 Rotors; Mazdaspeed Race windowed bearings and Oil Pressure Regulator, Speed Machine twin turbo tubular manifold, 2 Garrett GT28rs turbochargers, 2 Turbosmart 48mm Pro Gates, twin BDL throttle body intake manifold, swirl pot relocated alternator, surge tank, 4-inch stainless exhaust w/burns stainless 4-inch race muffler; Blitz GT-R Intercooler with Speed Machine end tanks v-mounted with Ron Davis modified dual core radiator; 2 Turbosmart RacePort blow-off valves, NGK 11.5 heat range plugs; Wiggins clamps (every connection), 1/2-inch aluminum hard fuel lines from trunk to engine bay, 1/2-inch aluminum hard lines in trunk, XRP HS79 fuel hoses on the motor; Aeromotive dual A1000 main pumps, Tsunami feed pump, Aeromotive dual a1000 -10an regulators; Safecraft three-nozzle halon fire suppression, fuel safe 12-gallon fuel cell, all aluminum is polished in the engine area; RC Engineering 550cc and 1000cc injectors, heatshield products turbo blankets, downpipe wrap, hose wrap, firewall
Brains Haltech E11v2 ECU, Haltech Wideband O2 kit, AIM Sports digital dash, Turbosmart E-Boost2, Tein Dual EDFC
Drivetrain FD RX-7 tranny with OS Giken gear set, twin disk clutch, 2-way diff
Stiff Stuff Tein MonoFlex coilovers, Fully adjustable rear arm setup, steering rack modified and spaced; Modified Mazdaspeed Power Plant Frame
Stoppers Project 4-pot 4-pad front brake setup, Dual handbrakes (right side is for slow speed or while shifting, and left, side is for high speed since the driver is used to RHD cars); Wilwood dual master cylinder pedal assembly
Rollers SSR MS1 18X10 (+6 fronts) and 18X10.5 (+5 rears); 235/40R18 (front) Falken Azenis RT615, 265/35R18 (rear)
Outside Mazdaspeed body kit; GT300 wing with extension; Percy's Speedglass side and rear windows; IPF 4300K HID kit (low beam and high beam); Sparco latches; Fiberglass doors and hood, vinyl wrap at modern image; vinyl graphics done at Graphics by Jarvis
Inside Speed Machine six-point rollcage tig welded
Ice um, how about the sound of a twin turbo 13B
Props Matt Moreland, John Russakoff (Whiteboy John), Josh Stockinger at Speed Machine Performance, National Tire and Battery, Mazda North America, Matt Wright at Haltech, Nic Cooper and David Marriott at Turbosmart, Steve Heye and Bruce Heye at Heatshield Products, Tein, SSR, Sparco, Nick at BDL Industries, NRS, SpeedGlass, Edo Ichikawa (awwa, awwa, awwa) Mickey Andrade, Nick Fousekis at Falken Tire Corp.; graphics by Jarvis
Connect falkentire.com; mackinindustries.com (Project ); mazdaspeed.com; morejapan.com (SSR); sparco.com; speedmachineperformance.com; tein.com; turbosmart.com; wilwood.com