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1996 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S) - Killing It Softly

Modesty is the key here as re-wing’s FD3S takes the Japanese time attack circuit by storm (and in a low-key fashion)

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Apr 22, 2011

Modesty. It’s something that reigns prevalent in Japan, and is a refreshing attribute to see for those coming from the Western world. It’s what makes the whole country and culture so attractive, as well as being the foundation of the underlying respect people have for one another. Take Yoshihiko Takeo of RE-Wing, for example. As he talks to us over the RX-7 we are here to see, he seems to almost shy away from its achievements and the fact that it looks impossibly unique in a sea of otherwise similarly modified cars. After seeing it out in full glory at time attack events and under the showlights of the Tokyo Auto Salon, it was about time to dedicate some space to it; after all, it’s not every day you get to see a street car so special it can lap the Tsukuba Circuit in 58.2 seconds! For anyone in the know that requires a very special car to achieve.

Sstp 1105 01 o+1996 mazda rx 7+front left view Photo 2/14   |   1996 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S) - Killing It Softly

RE-Wing is your typical inaka, or countryside tuning shop. It’s located out in the sticks and survives comfortably by looking after modified cars from the local area. As Takeo-san explains, it all used to be about drag racing back in the heyday of the tuning revolution, when so many shops in Japan got their start. Those days have long passed and over the years everyone has shifted towards creating great daily-driven rides with plenty of power but are still legal for use on the streets. For this reason, the FD3S that Takeo-san uses to showcase his company’s capabilities is legal enough to still wear a number plate, just, but packs enough power to show more extreme cars a thing or two.

Modesty was probably the main driving force in creating this car, and while Takeo-san may not admit it, every detail of this car is a testament to not only his capabilities as a tuner but a good dose of fine taste. Take the exterior, for example; it’s so simple that it’ll have you you scratching your head thinking, Why does it look so damn good? There are no widebody kits that completely alter the design of the car; it’s just a series of well-chosen parts, like the front MazdaSpeed bumper. It’s not a piece you often see used, probably because it was ahead of its time when it was originally released, maybe overshadowed by the much more fashionable RE-Amemiya kits. This bumper incorporates a lower lip spoiler, canards and enough openings to feed coolers with plenty of fresh air. The pop-up headlights are gone and replaced with a pair of far more eye-catching RE-Amemiya twin projector units. The hood is an original piece, designed by Takeo-san and features a large V-shaped louvered series of outlets to help keep the 13B nice and cool. For added effect, the hood hinges are spaced for that true track car feel. The profile almost looks naked, especially when compared to the wilder kits for the FDs that are out on the market. Takeo-san has kept it very simple with stock front fenders and side skirts, but to give it a more menacing stance it now employs rear fenders that are quite visibly widened. These custom molded pieces follow the lines of the stock arches and have all been professionally fabricated in steel by a body shop. An outrageously large carbon GT-wing and rear diffuser end the aesthetics there.

The lightweight 18x10" Enkei NT03+Ms, with their unmistakable webbed spokes and twin-valve system, are outfitted with Yokohama ADVAN A050 semi-slicks and filled with 100-percent nitrogen gas. Helping the body sit at just the right height for comfortable street use are the special RE-Wing adjustable Crux dampers mated to Swift springs which, judging by their 18 kg/mm rating front and rear, might not offer that smooth of a ride around town. The suspension is further stiffened with a GReddy strut bar up front and a more complex AutoExe item at the rear. Bigger 4-pot Brembo F40 calipers offer a much-improved braking system, which is also complimented by a Wilwood balance adjuster and Seido-ya high-friction brake pads. With 520 PS available at each blip of the throttle, upgrades like these are a necessity, especially since it sees so much track action.

Pop the lightweight RE-Wing hood open and the 13B sitting inside it will tell you that no corners were cut in this build. Takeo-san did all of the work himself, starting with the motor, by installing specially-made and heat-treated three-piece apex seals, along with springs made to perform with higher boost applications. The engine was then side-ported to help get the most in terms of power and response, plus it gives off that unique and menacing rotary low-rpm burble. Taking care of the force-feeding is the externally gated Trust T78-33D turbocharger breathing through a custom large diameter intake pipe and custom cold-air feed. The one-off racing titanium exhaust channels exhaust gasses all the way to the back and out from the downward curved tailpipe. All the inlet piping was fabricated in house and is of a much larger diameter than is often seen. This connects up to the one-off end tanks of a custom V-mounted intercooler, which promotes flow through the thick HPI core. The RE-Wing large diameter throttle body is the final piece of the puzzle, channeling air to the intakes where it is met with the increased flow of fuel from the four Bosch-fed SARD 1000cc injectors. Takeo-san chose to use a HKS F-Con V Pro ECU, custom-mapped to extract a healthy 520 PS and 52.8 kgm of torque. Seeing the car is set up mainly for track and fast road use rather than high speed, shorter, close-ratio Route 6 gears were installed in the transmission, with other drivetrain modifications including an OS Giken twin-plate clutch and a smoother-acting ATS carbon LSD. Not wishing to take any chances when going flat out at the time attack sessions the car often participates in, Takeo-san also fitted a very large transmission cooler, which is positioned on one side of the rear carbon diffuser so it can distribute air passing underneath the car.

Functionality rules in this interior and creature comforts have been sacrificed for a more performance-oriented ambiance, starting off with the Bride bucket seat and ATC racing steering wheel. RH9 harnesses are added for extra safety but a rollcage hasn’t been installed to help the car enter in the street classes at time attack events across the country. The RE-Wing instrumentation reads to 10,000 rpm on the rev counter and 320 km/h on the speedometer, not quite enough to show the true top speed of the car, which has been clocked at 322 km/h. A HKS Circuit Attack Timer and Blitz SBC-iD boost controller are the only additional modules used.

In many ways, cars like the RE-Wing RX-7 are inspiring to see. They don’t rely on the fame of the shop to gain respect. Instead, this FD has performed well and proven its capabilities, so Takeo-san lets these actions speak for the car, since there is nothing else that really needs to be added. Modesty, indeed, is very refreshing.

Tuning Menu
1996 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S)
Owner
Yoshihiko Takeo of Re-Wing Hometown Takamatsu, Mie-Ken Occupation Building Fast Drag and Street-Tuned Rotaries
Power 520PS at 7,000rpm; 52.8kgm at 6,500rpm

Engine RE-Wing side-ported 13B; three-piece apex seals; Trust T78-33D turbo; RE-Wing full titanium exhaust system, custom large diameter intercooler piping kit, V-mount kit, intercooler system with HPI core, larger diameter throttle-body, custom surge tank, aluminum radiator with air separator tank, oil cooler and oil catch tank; Bosch fuel pump, stainless fuel lines; SARD 1000 cc injector

Drivetrain Route 6 close-ratio transmission (first three gears only); OS Giken twin-plate clutch; ATS Carbon LSD; RE-Wing transmission cooler

Engine management HKS F-Con V Pro ECU and Circuit Attack Timer; Blitz SBC-iD boost controller

Footwork & chassis RE-Wing custom adjustable Crux dampers; Swift springs 18 kg/mm front & rear; GReddy front strut tower bar; Auto Exe rear strut tower bar

Brakes Brembo F40 4-pot calipers; Wilwood brake-balance adjuster; Seido-ya brake pads all round

Wheels & tires 18x10" Enkei NT03+M wheels, Yokohama ADVAN A050 265/35R18 tires

Exterior Mazdaspeed front bumper, RE Amemiya front headlight conversion, RE-Wing custom widened rear fenders, aero hood, carbon rear spoiler, carbon rear diffuser and graphics

Interior stripped interior, Bride Low Max racing bucket seat, RH9 5-point original racing harness, ATC steering wheel, RE-Wing meter set

WWW re-wing.co.jp; enkei.com; greddy.com; hksusa.com; more-japan.com (SARD)

By Dino Dalle Carbonare
122 Articles

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