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Mazda RX-8 - Mazda Stealthy And Healthy - Sick Swap-Three-Rotor RX-8

Acosta Motorsports Drops A Muscular 20B In The RX-8's Sleek Framework

Al Mamoon
Feb 1, 2005
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
Turp_0502_01z_mazda_rx8+front_right Photo 1/1   |   Mazda RX-8 - Mazda Stealthy And Healthy - Sick Swap-Three-Rotor RX-8

This pristine sleeper is all about what's new and what's best in the realm of Mazdadom. The "what's new" side of the equation is the seductive RX-8. What's best is Mazda's three-rotor 20B engine. Marcos Acosta and Acosta Motorsports are known for their mastery of the rotary engine. The company's MX-3 drag racer is a familiar site at East Coast dragstrips. So it was natural that he marry these entities into a harmonious union of style and power.

The 20B is the big block of Mazda rotary engines, displacing 2.0-liters, and in recent years the three-rotor has become a popular transplant for diabolical RX-7 owners. Marcos performed a race port to the 20B, added extra down pins in the rotors, and upgraded apex seals to better absorb the abuse of big boost. A T76 turbo generates the pressure and pushes it through an Acosta-built, Garrett-core FMIC and beefy 3.5-inch piping. A TiAL 50mm wastegate corrals the boost, limiting max pressure to 25 psi. The intake manifold is a custom made 321 stainless-steel creation fabricated by Acosta Motorsports.

The big block's fueling requirement are met with 1600cc injectors, twin Bosch 255-lph pumps and an Aeromotive regulator. Marcos wired up and power-tuned a MicroTech LTX-12 engine management system to oversee the high-revving 20B. The LTX-12 uses two input triggers that can be ordered for Hall effect, magnetic or optical configuration. The unit can control six injectors (six cylinder or 3-rotor engine) in fully sequential mode and 12 injectors in batch-fire/wasted spark mode. Marcos set up his MicroTech in fully sequential trim and employs a MicroTech LTX-8 ignition box and MSD Blaster SS coils to deliver the spark.

True racers like Marcos know that generating power is only half of the equation; you gotta be able to put that power to the pavement. Marcos used some of his drag race trickery inside the factory gearbox. He also added an RPS carbon/carbon clutch, fabricated a custom differential, and upgraded to Acosta MS Stage 3 axles to ensure the Mazda is ready for a heavy right foot.

Footwork consists of JIC coil-overs and Racing Brake slotted rotors all around. Hankook performance tires wrapped around 19-inch PIAA Super Rozza wheels provide the coupe's contact patch.

The Mazda's stealthy aura is most evident in the cockpit and on the body, where modifications are understated. Inside, Rafi Custom Interiors of Patterson, N.J., reworked the door panels and stock seats in a black/silver carbon-fiber scheme.

On the body, Acosta Motorsports created a ram air bumper cover with the induction hole surrounded by a rotor-shaped opening. This cool touch and the intimidating front-mount intercooler serve as warnings. But even these hints do not fully prepare challengers for what lies beneath.

"We wanted to build a project car that put our name back on the radar," says Marcos Acosta. "The RX-8 was the perfect car but we wanted to do something that would drive people crazy. What's crazier than a 20B three-rotor? We wanted the conversion to look completely factory and we have retained the stock air conditioning, cruise control, traction control and so on. We have worked very hard on this project and addressed every aspect of the driving experience. This car can be driven by anybody and when asked it really goes."

The high level of artistry in this sleeper RX-8 surely helps put Acosta Motorsports back on the radar, but with such a vast power potential it's Johnny Law's radar we'd be worried about.


TiAL Sport
Owasso, MI 48867
RPS Performance Products
Chatsworth, CA 91311
PIAA Corporation
Beaverton, OR 97006
By Al Mamoon
28 Articles



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