If anyone ever told you that building a race car is easy, they were lying. Big time. If it were easy, everyone would be out there in a competitive car, shredding asphalt and never thinking twice about things like reliability. After all, racing is all about balance balance between the car and driver ability, between the track conditions and the car’s setup, and finding a balance between power and reliability. When the car in question is a notoriously, how shall we say, finicky platform, having a reliable setup is most definitely not a task without trial and error. Brad White knows this story all too well, having owned this FD3S RX-7 since the day it was stock.
The FD has always been the car I wanted, ever since it first came out, White recalls. I had a previous generation RX-7 that I did a bunch of stuff to and then I had a Nissan 300ZX, which was another car where the mod list was pretty extensive, but it was pretty much set up for club racing events, car shows and stuff like that. All that was well and good, but the desire for a nice clean FD was always there in Brad’s mind, a fact that his wife was acutely aware of. Incidentally, when Mrs. White heard that a friend of a friend had a FD that wasn’t running, she took the liberty of setting Brad up to buy the car in a roundabout sort of way. It went from asking if I can help get the car running, to Brad can buy it if he’s interested,’ and my wife said I would all of this happened without me really knowing! Brad remembers with a laugh. I went to check out the car, and all it needed was basically a jump start. I drove it around a little bit and bought it very soon afterward.
Brad’s intentions started off modestly, keeping the FD as a street-legal car for a short while. Soon, though, the tuning bug bit him and the tinkering commenced. Once the first motor went, the second wasn’t far behind. It wasn’t until the third (and current) motor that Brad decided to really dive in head first and transform his FD into a track-only car. The intention at first was to create a weekend’ kind of race car, but now it’s a full-bore, track-only car. It’s illegal now to drive on the streets, but that’s OK. It’s too much of a hassle to drive a car like this on the streets in California, Brad says.
Not being able to drive your baby on the streets might sound like a horrible state of affairs for some of us, but when asked if he regrets the decision, Brad is adamant that he doesn’t. The hassles of the highway patrol, always looking over your shoulder the car is so stinking loud, I was constantly worried about getting a ticket on the streets. Now I don’t have to worry about it at all. I get to drive the car as hard as I want to on track, in a safe and controlled environment.
It’s not all fun and games, though. Brad has a funny story about how he still gets hassled even when towing the car. We were on our way to a car show in Los Angeles last December, towing the car as we should. On the way down, we got pulled over in the truck for speeding and allegedly towing in the wrong lane; I was like, You’ve got to be kidding me,’ Brad laughs. After explaining that I was just passing a slower-moving semi truck, they still gave me a ticket. It’s funny, I get pulled over more towing the car than when I was driving it! Of course, the cops see something cool on a trailer, they want to pull you over and check it out I have to be twice as careful now.
All said and done, with all the hassles aside, Brad is a very happy man, and he’s got quite a laundry list of events for the upcoming 2011 season. I’m completely happy with where the car is at now, he says. My wife is on board and totally involved with the car, which is great, White says. If only we could all be so lucky, right? The dynamic duo of Mr. and Mrs. White have some serious intentions for the FD this season as well. The plan is to enter and compete in the Speed Ventures SV time attack series, a season of eight events spanning February to November, running on several major tracks in California and Nevada. It’s great how this has turned into a thing that my wife and I can do together. With the help of our sponsors, we can take the car around to different tracks and compete make a nice weekend trip out of it. Brad says.
Sounds like a great plan, and the car is set up perfectly to last for an entire season of racing. With the latest motor, everything has run quite well and reliably so far. Opting to do everything right has meant that Brad gets to worry about his driving (not the car), and that’s the real goal at the end of the day. I want to concentrate on improving my driving skill this year. I have quite a bit of seat time, but I have a lot to work on still, White says modestly. I plan to run an entire season of events this year, so that’s plenty of time for me to get dialed in, enjoy the car as is and not have too many problems. The car needs the driver mod’ more than anything!
And that is just fine by us. If we were all natural-born racing drivers, the world would be a much more boring place. There’s a lot to be said for learning your own car the hard way, and we have a lot of respect for Brad by committing to do just that. We can’t wait to see how the Whites and their RX-7 fare out on track this season.
Specs & Details
'93 Mazda RX-7
Engine Mazda 13B-REW rotary
Engine Modifications CXracing T66 T4 turbo 0.70 a/r compressor housing, 0.66 a/r turbine housing; GReddy 50mm racing wastegate, SUS tubular manifold, 3" downpipe, E-01 profec boost controller, throttle body elbow, pulleys; HKS 50mm racing blow-off valve; CXracing V-mount intercooler, dual 25-row oil coolers, thermostat outlet tank, fuel surge tank; Fluidyne aluminium radiator; AEM water/meth injection kit, UEGO wideband O2 sensor; RC Engineering 1,300cc secondary injectors, 550cc primary injectors; Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator; Walbro 255-lph hp in-tank fuel pump (feeds surge tank), 255-lph hp inline fuel pump (feeds fuel rails); K&N billit fuel filter; Jegs oil catch can; Carbing cooling panel; NGK BUR9EQ plugs; Accel 8mm plug wires; custom 3" exhaust; engine torque brace
Engine Management A’PEXi Power FC standalone ECU w/ commander tuned by JRX Rotary
Drivetrain Exedy Stage 1 race clutch
Suspension Tokico HTS adjustable dampers; TEIN S.Tech springs; Racing Beat sway bars (f/r), sway bar brace; TCSportline strut tower braces (f/r); Megan Racing trailing arms
Interior Autopower 6-point rollcage; MOMO Monte Carlo steering wheel, steering wheel adaptor; GReddy shift knob; MemoryFab S-58 carbon-fiber race seats, low profile sliders; 5-point harnesses
Exterior Final Konnexcion front facia; Vertex side skirts; RE-Amemiya projector lights, taillight covers, rear diffuser; Origin ’99 spec front marker lights; Karmotion carbon-fiber hood, carbon-fiber hatch; APR carbon-fiber wing, carbon-fiber mirrors; Carbon Creations carbon-fiber canards; Rennen Metal tow hooks; ShineAutoProject undertray, custom hood vent, rear fender flares, center diverter, Kevlar vortex generators
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Work VSXX wheels 17x8.5" (f) & 17x9.5" (r); Nitto NT-01 tires 235/40ZR17 (f) & 275/40ZR17 (r); Mazda 4-piston calipers; Brembo slotted rotors (f/r); EBC green stuff brake pads; Ate Super Blue racing brake fluid; Alcon caliper temp gauges
Sponsors Tokico Gas Shocks; CX Racing; Nitto Tires; VIP Energy Drinks; Smartwax; Momentum GT; WOT Performance
Thanks To My wife Alicia for all her support and patience, my kids Skyler & Sierra, David from Tokico, Von at MonentumGT, Harry from Nitto, Kevin from CXracing, Juni from JRX Rotary, Jeff & David from SmartWAX, Ken at VIP Energy Drinks, Francis from Autostream, Pete Andreas w/ WOT Performance, Ted Shimizu, Jason Eshelman, Jason Magill, Scott Borg, Mike Palmer & Mitch Howard for all their help over the course of the buildI plan to run an entire season of events this year, so that’s plenty of time for me to get dialed in and enjoy the car as is.