The import drag race scene moves faster than a speeding bullet. When someone breaks a record and becomes "King," they are usually dethroned even before they can stand up to take a bow.
This has long been true in the Quick Class, where record setters are bested before the issue where we proclaim the record hits the stands. We got lucky in pegging Team Bergenholtz as the first unibody in the 9s in 1999 and calling Kenny Tran's 9.681 a unibody Honda record in the July 2000 edition.
Both of these cover cars carried blurbs identifying them as the fastest; Tran, for instance, was "The New King." But we don't make such claims too often. With so many brutally fast Quick Class cars in action, it's easy to see why fame is fleeting.
In the Pro Class, you would expect less drama-there are fewer cars. But that's not the case. So, in order to lay claim as having the quickest and fastest Pro Class compact in this issue, we covered the bases by running a feature on both the Siguel Racing RX-7 and Hoyos Racing Ford Focus. (We're nervous; the highly regarded Sakura could easily spoil these plans.) The Focus and RX-7 are two combatants that have traded punches like heavyweight boxers standing in the middle of the ring, neither giving quarter. For instance, at the Nitto Tire/IDRC Summer Slam Nationals Siguel racing broke the record by blasting a 7.440 at 179.90 mph in Day One qualifying last June 30th. Roughly17 hours later, the Hoyos-sponsored Ford Focus driven by Matt Hartford lowered the bar by running a 7.411 at 184 mph. Siguel bested that e.t. about two weeks later, blasting a 7.37 at 180 mph. Hoyos came back with a 7.386 at 189.19 mph and Siguel extended its mark to 7.33 at 179 mph. As it stands ( in mid September), the Siguel RX-7 is e.t. champ at 7.33 and the Hoyos Focus is the trap-speed champ at 189.19 mph.
Hoyos Racing Focus...
The World's Fastest Pro Class RacerIn factory form, the Ford Focus is merely an econobox hatchback that seats five and delivers great fuel economy not bewildering drag strip performance. Unlike a stock Focus, the Hoyos Racing fly yellow Focus is fast-really fast. Unlike its stock counterpart, it only seats one and it guzzles gas faster than a drunken techinical ediddor-I mean technical editor. There is no A/C; the five-point racing harness keeps you more snug than tighty-whities on a hot, humid day and the sound system consists of a 1400-hp powerplant singing at full song through a pair of big hairdryers.
Nelson Hoyos of Hoyos Racing wanted to own the fastest and quickest sport compact racer in the world and whatever Nelson wants, he gets. Many of you might be wondering who is this guy, well learn his name well because we guarantee you will be hearing more of him in the future. The purpose-built Ford Focus racer claimed the world's fastest title at the IDRC Englishtown, NJ event with a scorching 7.41 at 187 mph in the quarter, in only its third event. Pretty impressive. At that race, the Focus was trading punches with our other Titan, the Siguel Racing RX-7 that laid a 7.44 in qualifying.
Unlike most Focus' that are brought to life on the assembly line, the Hoyos Racing Focus was conceived at Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc in Fife, Washington. Since the Ford was built entirely new from the ground up the chassis was designed and constructed to surpass SFI 25-1C specifications for 7.49 or quicker race vehicles. Chrome-moly tubing was bent, cut and welded in place to Morrison's exact tolerances and specifications. Suspension components up front included Art Morrison MacPherson-style race struts combined with Koni shocks and Hyperco springs. The rear shares a similar suspension combination with Strange/Koni rear shocks and Hyperco springs. The combination allows for limitless adjustability that is crucial for repeated straight-line performance.
Motivational force comes by the way of a fully built twin-turbo V6 engine built by Keasler Racing in Maryville, Tenn. The bottom-end consists of a 4.5-liter Ford SVO V6 block stuffed with all the right components. The original 4.5-liter block was bored from 3.980 inches to 4.125 inches and the original stroke of 3.50 inches was increased to 3.52 inches via a Moldex billet crankshaft. The combo increased the displacement of the SVO block by 0.2-liters, resulting in a total displacement of 4.7-liters. Filling the large cylinder bore of the block are custom 8.5:1 compression CP forged race pistons while Total Seal rings ensure perfect sealing at extreme cylinder pressures. Oliver billet rods are in charge of pushing the pistons up and down in the cylinders. Fitted in the pushrod engine is a Crane roller cam tag-teamed with Smith pushrods. The engine now incorporates a custom dry sump oiling system fabricated by Fast Times Fabrication utilizing a Moroso pan with custom baffles and windage tray, a Moroso Stage 3 pump and trick oil reservoir.
A pair of SVO aluminum race heads reworked by McKenzie Racing & Machine in Ventura, Calif keep the boost moving into the engine. The heads received McKenzie's Competition port work, which includes full port and polish and custom blending of the valve bowls. The heads were given a precision three-angle valve job and then outfitted with Ferrea hardware, including triple heavy-duty springs, oversized titanium intake valves, super-alloy exhaust valves and titanium retainers and keepers.
Mounted onto the exhaust ports of the McKenzie heads are a pair of Kiwi Design turbo headers that channel the spent gasses to two huge Turbonetics turbochargers, capable of pressurizing ambient air to 40 psi. However the turbo twins are regulated by a pair of Turbonetics Racegate wastegates to a less astronomical 30 psi during competition. As many of you know, a hot air charge from a turbocharger has yet to realize its maximum potential. To increase efficiency, a custom-fabricated Spearco liquid-to-air intercooler has been employed. From the chiller, the pressurized air is force fed into a custom Hogan sheetmetal intake. Plumbed into the intake runners are Bosch 160 lb/hr injectors filling the combustion chambers high-octane juice. Since the Ford V6 was an odd-fire engine finding a stand-alone engine management system that worked well was not easy.
Nelson eventually chose an Electromotive TEC-III engine management system. Instead of running one Motec M48 stand-alone system, which was previously installed on the Focus, the Ford incorporates two three-cylinder TEC-III units working in conjunction with each other to deliver the power. Having had a bunch of misfire problems with the previous stand-alone unit due to the odd-fire set-up, Nelson raves about the TEC-III saying it has been the saving grace of the Focus. The Electromotive unit also kills two birds with one stone since the engine management already incorporates a distributorless ignition system with individual coil packs. The entire powerplant combination has been good enough to produce 1,400 horsepower on the engine dyno, that's some serious horsepower.
With the chassis and powerplant all sorted out it was time to put some sheep's clothing on the wolf. Composite Concepts in Rivera Beach, Florida constructed the entire carbon fiber body from plugs made from the factory sheetmetal parts. The front-end of the Focus had to be extended slightly to accommodate the chassis' longer wheelbase. The hood also incorporates custom openings so the compressor sides of the turbochargers have plenty of air to ingest. The entire carbon-fiber shell only weighs an amazing 80 pounds!
So what is next for the Focus? Well as this article was put together the Hoyos Racing Focus, piloted by Matt Hartford, bettered its time with a 7.386 at 189.19 mph at the IDRC Hurricane Nationals. And as the story goes to the presses Nelson guaranteed us that the Focus should have already bagged the world's quickest title which is held currently by Siquel Racing RX-7 (7.33 at 179 mph) to go along with their world's fastest sport compact title. We just can't wait for these two Titans to go head to head and see which one is still standing in the end.
Part 2 Quick Draw
Siguel Racing RX-7...
The World's QUICKEST Pro Class RacerTo many of us racing is just a hobby. We buy performance parts, install them on our cars and maybe test them out at the local race track. But to Jose Torres of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico it is a livelihood. Before Jose even purchases a performance component from his local parts supplier he is conceptualizing how the product will work and how much time it will shave off his e.t. After the product is installed he will check it two, three, maybe four- times over to make sure it is working properly. Finally he will take his race car to the track, making sure nothing else was changed, and test the car over and over and over again to see if the product provides the expected improvement. If it does it stays on, if it doesn't it goes in the trash bin. It is that kind of dedication that has enabled Jose to capture the world's quickest import racer title with his Siguel Racing RX-7 (7.33 @ 179 mph). As a native Puerto Rican it is no surprise that racing is in Jose's blood. In geographical size Puerto Rico is smaller than the state of Maine and barely has a population of 4 million. However the country caters two impressive race tracks that are open four days of the week year round both within a 100 miles of each other. The fact is Puerto Rico produces more Pro Class cars per capita than any other country in the world.
In Puerto Rico there are two types of racers. You're either a piston head or rotary head. You are never both. The fan base in PR is also impressive and drawn in camps of rotary followers and piston lovers. These are die hard fans that will wear a rotor around their necks with a chain and bring pistons on rods to the track to pay homage to their heroes. As a rotary head it was obvious that Jose's Pro Class racer would retain the sleek silhouette of a third-generation RX-7. The Siguel Racing RX-7 first started its way to stardom in fiberglass form as the Mazda body mold was sent to Tim Mcamis Race Cars in St. Louis, Missouri. The chassis is basically a Pro Stock chassis that was modified to work underneath the RX-7 bodylines. The rolling chassis consists of Strange Engineering struts on the four corners combined with Strange double adjustable shocks in front and Koni double adjustable shocks out back. To slow the "7" down from its 170-plus mph blasts, a drag chute is on call with the aide of four disc brakes to bring the racer to a complete halt.
One thing about being on top you do not really want anybody else to copy your combination. So on our tech sheet that Jose filled out he wrote top secret for over half the information boxes and we were not allowed to photograph the engine. What he did fill out is that the powerplant consists of a 20B rotary engine that was ported, balanced and assembled by himself at his Siguel Racing Shop. Along with the fully built powerplant Jose modified the oil pump for more pressure and modified a Moroso aluminum oil pan to fit on the 20B engine. Currently Jose's RX-7 is the leader of the pack and there are many who would like to knock him off the pedestal. W also know the turbo system incorporates a custom-fabricated stainless-steel turbo manifold that utilizes 2-inch primaries and a Burns stainless-steel collector. Although Jose did not specify if the RX-7 is using a single, twin or triple turbo set-up, our guess is a huge single turbo unit. The intake manifold has also been custom fabricated from scratch but we do not know the specifications since it has been rated classified and there are no photos of the engine. Jose did give us information that a Microtech engine management controls the 20B engine. A total of three MSD 7AL-3 ignition boxes are used to make sure that maximum power is being generated for the combustion of methanol and pressurized air.
A Tilton dual-disc clutch and Jerico five-speed air-shifted transmission handle transferring of the power from the flywheel to the Mark Williams rear end. Weld Racing Aluma Star wheels wrapped with Goodyear gumballs provide the necessary traction needed to run the quarter in a touch over seven seconds at speeds of nearly 180 mph.
Carefully crafted tin-work dominates the entire interior. Although the ride only last seven seconds providing the necessary engine vitals is very important and mounted on the custom dash incorporating a very unrace like wood grain trim is a battery of Auto Meter electronics. The driver is secured tightly in an aluminum race seat by a Simpson five-point harness system.
As this story goes to the presses, the Siguel Racing RX-7 holds the world's quickest title but the margin of retaining the title is rather slim. The hard-charging Hoyos Focus has already claimed the world's fastest title and is out for Siguel's world's quickest championship belt. The next time these two Titans clash there will be bloodshed. This rivalry is definitely one of the more exciting in all of import drag racing.