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      01-01-2013, 06:19 PM   #1
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Thinking of '93-'95 FD RX-7 as a dedicated track car

After 2 track days and one airstrip attack (roll-on acceleration event), all done in the deserts of SoCal, my 2013 M3 is absolutely beat. I have hundreds of rock chips on the side skirts and front and rear bumper...even with using TrackTape. Plus track maintenance items (tires, rotor, pads) on the M3 is fairly costly.

I've been thinking about getting a beater track car for a while. Something cheap to mod/maintain after track usage and something I don't really car about if it gets beat to snot.

While I'd love to stick with something from BMW, I'm also looking for something small/light and while the first gen M3 would be perfect, it's a bit expensive now and not something I'd want to beat up. Perhaps a non M3 e30...like a 325is...but I've also liked the 3rd gen FD Mazda RX-7. I've joined and read a bunch about them on the RX-7 forums. Engines are notorious for blowing if even a bit of detonation. Most have been modded and are pretty beat up. But get one that's been decently cared for and minimum $ mods can make it a really fun car.

Anyone have experience with one for track use?
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      01-01-2013, 06:42 PM   #2
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No experience with the RX-7 but have you considered an e36 M3? They're a great value right now.
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      01-01-2013, 06:44 PM   #3
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^ That's what I would do and I'd stay away from the spinning triangles of death.
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      01-01-2013, 06:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Raucky2000 View Post
^ That's what I would do and I'd stay away from the spinning triangles of death.
...but they make awesome power when they are running
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      01-01-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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I had a 93 rx7 before switching to a string of 4 m3s....currently on a e90. With very simple mods (intake and exhaust) and stock suspension it was around 300hp and was faster than my e46 which had basic suspension mods (springs/shocks/sways). It wasn't a R model but since it only weighed 2800, it flew around the track with very little wear of the brakes and tires. Looking back, it was the BEST track car I've owned to date....and perhaps the most affordable. The seats were snug, the shifter is best in business and most of all, it was light and tossable.

My engine "blew" at 80k when a small radiator clamp came loose and I lost all fluids. Unfortunately, at 140mph, couldn't see the steam coming out of the hood until turn 1....and by then it was too late.

When I take the e90 to the track, I expect that the power advantage plus more updated suspension will help this car finally beat the ole 93s time at summit point. At tracks like lime rock, I would expect the rx7 to still be faster than any m3s. Feel free to PM me for any q's or details.
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      01-01-2013, 11:18 PM   #6
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Adam, you know my opinion! Get an e30 as a track toy and beat the hell out of it.
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      01-02-2013, 06:15 AM   #7
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I think your last sentence kind of sums it up. You have to be patient.

Cheap? I think the key is to get a lighter momentum type car. An E36M3 with simple weight subtraction can be very quick and won't break the bank as long as the drivetrain holds up.

Dare I say... ///Miata!
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      01-02-2013, 07:49 AM   #8
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Yeah if you want cheap then Miata is a great way to go, with lots of power transplant options to feed your need for speed. You just have to get over the fact that...you're driving a MIATA.
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      01-02-2013, 08:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mmmm3333 View Post
I had a 93 rx7 before switching to a string of 4 m3s....currently on a e90. With very simple mods (intake and exhaust) and stock suspension it was around 300hp and was faster than my e46 which had basic suspension mods (springs/shocks/sways). It wasn't a R model but since it only weighed 2800, it flew around the track with very little wear of the brakes and tires. Looking back, it was the BEST track car I've owned to date....and perhaps the most affordable. The seats were snug, the shifter is best in business and most of all, it was light and tossable.

My engine "blew" at 80k when a small radiator clamp came loose and I lost all fluids. Unfortunately, at 140mph, couldn't see the steam coming out of the hood until turn 1....and by then it was too late.

When I take the e90 to the track, I expect that the power advantage plus more updated suspension will help this car finally beat the ole 93s time at summit point. At tracks like lime rock, I would expect the rx7 to still be faster than any m3s. Feel free to PM me for any q's or details.
Awesome thanks for sharing! I figured someone here was experienced with the Gen 3 RX-7's. Finding one in decent shape will be tough...as I'm looking for something 100% stock.

I plan on only a couple mods (tires, springs and sways, brakes, intercooler, dp and ecu) after I get all the maintenance stuff taken care of first. There are plenty of good shops here in SoCal that specialized in these cars, so I'm not on my own.
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      01-02-2013, 08:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vettefish View Post
Adam, you know my opinion! Get an e30 as a track toy and beat the hell out of it.
To be honest you are the one who inspired me to get a dedicated track car, Ryan!

The M3 will still attend your Airstrip events...and I'm looking for my next mod given how you just crushed me after the install of your long tube headers

I've got a bit of time to decide on a platform so I'm going to be asking you guys for opinion on things. I really like the FD platform, but in no way am I married to that decision. Heck, even Malek has an e30 sitting in his shop but he hasn't brought it out yet as he's doing an inline 6 transplant. That may be the way to go...

See you soon.
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      01-02-2013, 11:08 AM   #11
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I'd go for a FD RX7 with a LSX swap. A local guy has one that he picked up already swapped for under $20k. Car is an absolute beast and very well sorted. Here he is at one of our track days.

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      01-02-2013, 11:19 AM   #12
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Keep it NA and the RX7 will run forever.
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      01-02-2013, 01:53 PM   #13
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I have a 2005 turbo RX8 as my track toy. I love it, but have run into a tuning issue....at 13psi I cannot get the new standalone ECU to open the SSV and allow the engine to get up to the 8500 red line (where all the power is). I'll be moving back to MI shortly and hope to have her road/track ready by June/July.





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      01-02-2013, 02:04 PM   #14
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A good set of coilovers / adjustable shocks and springs really bring the cars to life due to their light weight.




....and a full exhaust helps too




All from 1.3L of fury!!!
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      01-02-2013, 02:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apecush View Post
I'd go for a FD RX7 with a LSX swap. A local guy has one that he picked up already swapped for under $20k. Car is an absolute beast and very well sorted. Here he is at one of our track days.
A great car, but not a good option in CA due to smog issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by THE TECH View Post
Keep it NA and the RX7 will run forever.
N/A FD RX7....?


I would (and did) buy an e30/e36/S2000 before an FD RX7. I understand the allure, but simplicity is better for less headaches. Plus, picking something that a lot of people already track is great for spares, knowledge base, etc.
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      01-02-2013, 02:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I would (and did) buy an e30/e36/S2000 before an FD RX7. I understand the allure, but simplicity is better for less headaches. Plus, picking something that a lot of people already track is great for spares, knowledge base, etc.
So would you recommend a BMW of some sort over the FD?

I should have added that I don't know how to fix anything myself...always has to be done by a shop. I'm mechanically inept...can't even change a lightbulb

Perhaps I should look at someone more reliable. It's just that on paper, the FD can be fantastic when set up right with little $$.
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      01-02-2013, 02:36 PM   #17
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I vote S2000. They are light, balanced, affordable, and extremely reliable. I see too many broken down E36's at the track. RX-7's have too many issues as well. I prefer to spend my time driving and not being a mechanic in the paddock.
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      01-02-2013, 05:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longboarder View Post
So would you recommend a BMW of some sort over the FD?

I should have added that I don't know how to fix anything myself...always has to be done by a shop. I'm mechanically inept...can't even change a lightbulb

Perhaps I should look at someone more reliable. It's just that on paper, the FD can be fantastic when set up right with little $$.
S2000 is extremely reliable, easy to work on, and capable out of the box. Alignment, brake pads, fluid, tires -- and go track. Bumpsteer kit (<$200) if you have 00-03 (AP1). The stock suspension is excellent. That's less than $1000 on top of car purchase price to go tracking. They are well-made and require little maintenance/repairs. A huge community (there are events with 25-30+ S2000s in attendance...) means plentiful spares and help with driving, maintenance, upgrades, etc.

Brake pads take 5 minutes to replace and are easier than e9x. You can do it :P Same with oil, etc. Don't want to do anything? Check out prices: http://www.s2ki.com/s2000/topic/9008...enance-thread/ and compare to whatever you are paying now.

And tires? Try four 255 RS3s mounted and balanced for less than $600

Reliability is a major concern. If you don't know how to do work/troubleshooting yourself, FD is likely going to be a nightmare.

The only downside to S2000 is it will be a dramatic hp drop, but it's really only noticeable at Auto Club and Laguna. And forces you to focus on maintaining momentum.


I looked at S2000 and e36 and settled on the S2000. There are arguments for both. I suggest e30/e36 if you want to stay BMW. Personally, I think the S2000 is a better platform (better support, better suspension design, more reliable, faster out of the box, newer, etc.) and went with that.

And again, I love FDs -- they are a fantastic performance platform and I have long-contemplated buying one (either keeping 13B or goin LSx) but in the end it has always appear to be a poor choice for an "arrive and drive" track car. Which is what I want -- to be driving, not wrenching and hunting gremlins.
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      01-02-2013, 06:06 PM   #19
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Get a miata...

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      01-02-2013, 06:41 PM   #20
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^^^^^^
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      01-02-2013, 06:59 PM   #21
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I say go with the RX-7. It is a great car, super balanced and still looks great to this day. That said, they aren't "cheap" to purchase or maintain at all.

It's too bad the 2002 Spirit R models were never sold in the USA.
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      01-02-2013, 07:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantm3 View Post
I vote S2000. They are light, balanced, affordable, and extremely reliable. I see too many broken down E36's at the track. RX-7's have too many issues as well. I prefer to spend my time driving and not being a mechanic in the paddock.
My vote also is for an S2000! They are a blast to drive on the track. Only down side is aftermarket parts are not cheap...
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