FD3S RX-7 Shines at Motor Games
In addition to the one-make race, time attacks and demo runs at this year’s MOTOR GAMES’ Fuji round, the main event was an official round of Formula Drift, which is currently growing in popularity in the United States. Within this, several FD3S RX-7s competed. Having got wind that New Zealand showman, Mad Mike, had come out to Japan for this event, the MZRacing crew headed out to Fuji but when we got there we found him not in his racing suit but sporting casual clothes. As soon as we caught his eye his face darkened with disappointment and he related, “I came to Japan a week ago to make adjustments to the 4-rotor RX-7 and put a lot of time into it but it’s a brand new car and some troubles occurred that we couldn’t easily fix. Due to that, things really just didn’t go well in yesterday’s qualifying.” In other words he didn’t make it through qualifying. For this reason we were left concentrating all our support on the RE Amemiya Racing RX-7, which we’ve become familiar with through the D1 Grand Prix. Driver Masao Suenaga passed through the previous day’s qualifying in 13th and was looking strong.
On Sunday the 5th, RX-7s, RX-8s and other non-RE Mazda vehicles, from mainly the Kanto and Tokai regions, congregated at Fuji Speedway. With this event being held so close to the RX-7 Day (July 7th), the C Paddock was designated as the MAZDA Festa venue. All the gathered participants initially lined up on the circuit and with the RE Amemiya Racing’s time attack machine, the “RX-7 Hurricane,” taking the lead, the procession performed 3 parade laps. Running on this extensive international racing course must have been exhilarating. Following this, commemorative photographs were taken on the home straight and then the event’s venue shifted onto the specified parking area in C paddock.
From this point on the Formula Drift final race began. Suenaga skillfully manipulated his 600hp RX-7, widely known as a “handling machine,” and eased his way into the final rounds. Especially in the “tsuiso” (chasing) runs, he displayed powerful performances, which saw the nose of his machine right on the tail of his rival’s cars. At this point it seemed that as long as he could maintain this momentum he would easily secure a podium finish. However, in the semifinals he would be going up against the winning contender, the R35 GT-R driven by Masato Kawabata. Suenaga put up a good fight against the GT-R beast but in the end was outdone and eliminated. Having finished in 4th Suenaga commented, “Going up against the GT-R, which was just on a roll, the team put some very aggressive settings into our machine, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough and I was eliminated. Still, I’m satisfied with the performance that I gave today and I think the large number of RX-7 fans who came out enjoyed the show. I want to send out a big thank you to all those who came out to cheer us on.”
Photo by MZRacing