When your RX-7 weighs a mere 2,100 pounds, 330 horsepower goes a long way. When accompanied with fireballs and rotary noises, Aidan Barret’s Group C-inspired RX-7 proves that a comparatively underpowered racing car can put on a better show than hillclimbers boasting twice as much grunt.
Perhaps the world’s gone a bit crazy when 330 horsepower doesn’t sound impressive, but when 700-horsepower M3s and V10-powered Huracans are topping the hillclimb time sheets, a car with a mildly-tuned 1.3-liter engine can’t expect to turn many heads. Or can it?
Well, the fiberglass fender flares and prominent ducktail spoiler do give this diminutive Mazda a more alluring shape, and the 4-piston Wilwood brakes lurking underneath the 15×9.5 FR15 wheels suggest this car means business. It has the specific dimensions and athletic stance befitting a genuine racing car.
Thanks to lightweight doors, a stripped interior, and polycarbonate windows, it tips the scales at just 2,072 pounds. With such a svelte figure, the Green Brothers-built 13B — upgraded with a peripheral port and a Link Fury engine-management system — is more than punchy enough to fire this wedge-shaped rocket down the road.
Its square shape and Bilstein coilovers give it kart-like agility, but it comes at a price. Barret has to have his wits about him if he doesn’t want to wrap it around a tree. He nearly does just that at 1:35 — though his quick hands save him. Clearly, this nervous RX-7 doesn’t suffer fools, nor does it look too happy to settle over crests and cambers. For pushing such an unforgiving car as hard as he has over these bumpy roads, Barret deserves a tip of the hat.
Maybe courting danger is worth the reward, or maybe there’s something in the water, but the guys who thread vintage racing cars between the trees at the Leadfoot Festival don’t seem to mind risking their skins. Whatever the reason, the committed driving here more than makes up for the sub-par video quality.