There’s an amazing amount of rotary-related goodness on YouTube, but the visual and aural stimulation in this clip is unrivaled. With full 360° field of vision, stellar resolution, and that unmistakable sound, this footage of an IMSA GTU-spec RX-7 flying around Laguna Seca is one that benefits from the biggest screens and the loudest speakers.
Its 2.6-liter 13J motor has 4 rotors, 630 horsepower, and 390 lb-ft of torque, all of which is delivered in the silky way only a large-displacement rotary can. The spaceframed, carbon panel-clad RX-7 weighs just 2,250 pounds, which make it possible to keep the wide-hipped Porsche 962s behind.
Incidentally, it’s those turbocharged Porsches which tend to set the fastest times at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and this little rotary can hang with them quite comfortably. His clean lines and control of the throttle pedal are textbook-perfect, and with a set of hefty AP Racing brakes to rely on, he doesn’t give up much in the braking zones to the ground effect cars behind.
Remember that a front-engined rotary car is going to make the cabin quite toasty—as much as 130°F on a warm Monterey afternoon. Despite the sweatlodge he’s sitting in, Jeremy Barnes doesn’t fade and clicks off a series of very quick laps in the 1:31-range, which is an impressive time for his class and the semi-casual atmosphere of the Reunion.
The physicality of the car is obvious, and the variety of perspectives available convey the sense of speed better than most YouTube videos can. If the view from the rotating camera is nauseating, there is another clip with a traditional perspective, but that doesn’t quite illustrate the challenges of driving as well as this footage does.
Be sure to click and pan around the image to see every perspective possible. If viewing on a mobile device, hold the device up and physically turn. The image with pan automatically with you.