One of the stranger combinations of go-fast parts out there, this machine is half-Mazda, half-Nissan, and the combination performs incredibly. Always known as a brilliant handler, the third-generation RX-7 is no stranger to the racetrack, but it isn’t often seen spinning all four tires on a loose surface! Its four wheel-drive system, borrowed from a Nissan Skyline GT-R, gives it stellar traction out of almost every corner.
The tuned SR20DET under the hood might rub some purists the wrong way, but after watching the way this car launches, it’s hard to deny the engine’s outrageous thrust. In every closely stacked gear, the car rears up on its haunches as it charges forward, it’s engine’s growl punctuated by the dolphin calls of the wastegate. However, the RX-7 is a cornering machine first and foremost, and the way its driver, Harry Arola, balances the throttle and steering through corners is impressive, and a little odd.
Hustling into each corner from the start, Arola stretches a commanding lead by hucking the car in, managing the understeer and eventually sliding all four wheels at the corner exit. The RX-7’s short wheelbase makes it snappy, and a laggy turbocharger only contributes to the challenge of balancing this Frankenstein. However, Arola looks unfazed, countersteering masterfully with one hand as he keeps the car in its narrow powerband with the other.
Perhaps most impressive is his left foot-braking in the higher speed corners, in which he carefully modulates the brake pedal and the throttle simultaneously to keep speed up while shifting the weight over the front axle to initiate a fast drift. The whole process is busy and stressful to watch, which makes it all the more visually stunning. With a hodgepodge of interesting parts, this Mazda pays testimony to the notion that, whatever the discipline, the FD3S is a nigh-unbeatable competitor.