One of the more iconic machines to emerge from IMSA’s GTO class, this RX-7 brings fans back to an era where big power and relatively simplistic technology went hand-in-hand. A short wheelbase and more power than a McLaren F1 meant Mazda’s little monster was not a forgiving car to drive, especially with that compact motor giving it a very exacting handling balance. When the car was warmed and the snarling 13J motor ready to unleash all of its shrieking bees from underneath the hood, that knife-edge handling could be used to close huge gaps from corner entry to exit.
It might not have as much power as some of its contemporary GTP prototypes, but the 2.6-liter engine provided more than enough poke for the inconspicuous-looking GT car. Dubbed the 13J, the four-rotor engine was good for 9,000+ rpms back when it would trade paint with the Mustangs and Oldsmobiles of the day. At the top of its rev range, the motor chucked out 640 horsepower and 390 lb/ft of torque – enough to make any driver tread somewhat carefully on the loud pedal.
Brakes – massive AP Racing vented units – required a heavy push, as did most of the other inputs. It’s a violent, demanding, man’s car that would not reward silly, ham-fisted driving, as seen with the sudden snaps from the rear and kickback from the steering. A weight which provoked the ire of competitors back in its heyday came from a spaceframe wrapped in carbon fiber body panels; totaling around 2,250 pounds. With that much power and a shrieking soundtrack to accompany the machine, it’s hard to argue with the appeal of a car like this – especially when it’s seemingly on the verge of a spin the whole time.