The planets aligned for John Livingston in 1994 when he bought this Mazda RX-7 R2 brand spankin' new off the dealer lot. The red Mazda served as a faithful daily driver for several years when Livingston elected to enhance his driving experience. "A decision was made to upgrade the car to the highest possible power and best possible handling, consistent with the requirement to be smog legal and reliable enough to use as a daily driver," says Livingston.
It was at this fork in the road that things went awry. "The project lasted for almost five years and two vendors' services were used, both which turned out to be unsatisfactory (and those vendors are not listed here)." Heck, we would have called them out for sure.
The project got back on track when Tri-Point Engineering and XS Engineering were put on point. Tri-Point was in charge of the footwork and XS was assigned the task of rebuilding and tuning the 13B-REW power plant.
XS undertook the buildup by droppin' a XSE street port on the Wankel. The XS team then clearanced and re-balanced the rotors and added Atkins 3 mm apex seals into the mix. Under the boost banner, XS trashed the sequential twin-turbo setup for a single-turbo system featuring an XS Engineering Powertune T04S/T04E hybrid turbo. The turbo sports a 0.70 A/R on the compressor side and a 1.00 A/R on the turbine side. This provides a responsive boost curve tailor-made for a high revving rotary engine. The remainder of the turbo system consists of a three-inch downpipe, ASP intercooler, HKS wastegate, HKS SSQV blow-off valve and an HKS EVC boost controller.
Rotaries hate detonation. Consequently, fuel enrichment is a key factory in the reliability quotient of most boosted 13Bs. To this end, XS swapped fuel pumps to a JDM-spec Mazda Cosmo pump rated at a healthy 280 gph and installed 550cc primary injectors and 1,300cc secondary injectors.
On the spark side, also critical in defending against detonation, XS wired up one of its proven PowerPack ignition boxes. The PowerPack is joined by Magnecor cables and HKS Iridium spark plugs. An APEXi Power FC with FC Commander is in charge of calibrating the engine.
On the XS Engineering Dynojet the 13B pumped out 414 whp and 312 lb-ft of torque running through a Tri-Point Engineering cat and Racing Beat single-tip exhaust system with all the appropriate emissions equipment functioning. The Mazda has passed a California smog test in this configuration.
This is the point in our story where we transition to Tri-Point Engineering. It all starts in the tranny, of all places, where an 8.5-pound Super Light flywheel is tag teamed with an ACT HD series street/strip clutch. However, Tri-Point's biggest impact can be seen in its trick tubular torsion bar and modular sway bar with adjustable end links front end setup. The superior geometry provided by this balanced group of components gives the Mazda an aggressive disposition without the harsh ride characteristics usually associated with said disposition.
Also part of this balanced attack is the rear tubular adjustable sway bar setup. Tri-Point custom suspension bushings with aluminum sleeves are used all around while cushioning is provided by double-adjustable JZR race coil-overs with remote reservoirs and Eibach springs.
The ever-vital contact patch is provided by Pirelli P-Zero rubber (265/35-18 fr, 295/30-18 rear) wrapped around Forgeline aluminum wheels (18x9 fr, 18x10.5 rear). Michael J.'s Body Shop of San Jose, Calif., performed a slight flare on the rear wheel wells to accommodate the meaty Pirellis.
"I cannot emphasize enough what a pleasure this car is to drive," says Livingston. "Gobs of power, outlandish handling and a high degree of reliability. About the only thing we are considering for the future is a front brake upgrade with an AP Racing package."