In the pursuit of ultimate tractability and balance, Brett Killip removed the force-fed 13B-REW from his Mazda RX-7 and stuck a normally-aspirated version in its place. Providing the spectators at the Leadfoot Festival with an otherwordly shriek, this peripheral port 13B screams to a stratospheric 10,000 rpm, offers a broad and usable powerband, and pops sizeable fireballs out of the tailpipe. In short, it’s a delight to see, hear, and, based on how well it steers, drive.
Already a scalpel from the factory, the FD3S’ sublime balance is further improved by Koni shocks and the omission of the heavy turbochargers and the associated parts sitting just over the front wheels—lightweight Enkei RPF1s in this case. In fact, the twenty-year-old car is so quick it’s still a regular contender in New Zealand’s SS2000 series, in which it’s won thirteen races in the last decade, and stands as the current lap record holder at all of the SS2000’s featured tracks on the North Island. Not too shabby for a former road car running just three-hundred horsepower.
However, as the car weighs in at a mere at 2,600 pounds, that respectable but not intimidating amount of horsepower goes a long way. Strung together by a six-speed sequential from Elite Racing Transmissions, the car never seems to fall out of the powerband. Best of all, the car makes good use of every horsepower available; great traction prevents inefficient wheelspin. While its stats might not impress the jaded auto junkies, it’s the way it drags performance out of all the relevant areas without any fuss that makes this sonorous FD3S the hillclimbing gem it is.