Here's another incredible car I found in the Mazda Motorsports dungeon… this one pretty much blew my mind, as I've never seen this car in person before. This is the Mazda/Racing Beat FD3S RX7 that set a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Historic!
This FD was originally built in 1991 by Takayuki Oku and Jim Mederer of Racing Beat in Anaheim California, and was driven by Jim Mederer. There was a video special on the History Channel that included video footage of Jim Mederer talking about his experiences at Bonneville, which includes special footage of this FD in 1992.
This car is nicknamed "Back in Black," because it was originally painted white, and was completely rebuilt after Racing Beat's first attempt at making a land speed record with the white painted FD, where the car went airborne and FLIPPED OVER at 240mph while attempting the record run. You absolutely MUST watch the video footage of it… it's insane!!! (I included the link at the bottom of this story, no need to Google it)
After rebuilding the car (and probably quite a few chiropractor visits for Jim Mederer), Racing Beat was ready to return to Bonneville, but unfortunately, rain forced cancellation of the land speed events in 1993 and 1994. The Racing Beat crew returned to Bonneville in 1995, with this same exact FD3S, but this time with a new aero adjustments, a new name and new look. They were "Back in Black." If you watch the video, it's really cool to see that the "push car" that they're using to help get the "Back in Black" land speed record FD3S up to speed is also an FD3S!!! What an awesome sight!
With Back in Black, Racing Beat and their FD3S boosted the land speed record up to 241mph, with a successful run their second time out at Bonneville with the car.
Here's the front of the FD… although, with the shape of the nose, with the blue racing stripes, and the round cutouts in the bumper, I think it kind of looks like a Dodge Viper in this photo. Aw man… I think FDs look 200% sexier than Dodge Vipers. Check out the "47th Bonneville Challenge" sticker on the windshield. I think that's so cool. What a historic, groundbreaking car. Notice that the car is on a dolly, so the Mazda R&D folks can move the car around more easily! Smart! (Hm, I think I need to make one of these dollies for one of my cars…)
The real sexiness though, isn't on the surface. Underneath the racing stripes sits a fully built up 3-rotor Mazda engine that produces 900 horsepower. Yup, nine hundred.
Inside the car, I was impressed by things like the super high rollcage (added protection for rollovers!), the rivet-laden transmission tunnel, and aluminum floorboards. Check out the dry carbon dashboard with custom fitted gauges as well! Super cool!
Another small, but interesting detail… I thought it was cool that Racing Beat built the car with so much continuity of design, with their signature red and blue stripes from the outside continuing inside the car on the doorpanels and seats.
Super smooth, low and aerodynamic is the key here. Notice that the mirrors have been removed, and the wheels are inset into the fenders and smooth to prevent wind resistance. Oh, and did anyone notice? The hood and fenders are one big removable piece.
This dry carbon rear lip wing provides more downforce and stability on the car's rear end, giving it more traction when it's doing 220mph! Aesthetically, I also think the it was very cool to include their crew names on the back window; a racing team is just that – a team. Without the help and support of the crew, it's unlikely that they could have performed as well as they did at Bonneville.
Those wheels look similar to Mooneyes "Moon Discs" to me! I like how they've custom painted the aluminum discs and put Racing Beat logos on them. Extremely cool.
I do think it's interesting though, that the wheel size chosen by the Racing Beat team looks smaller than what I thought they might use to achieve a land speed record. Wouldn't bigger wheels be more stable at high speed? I'll have to ask them one day, if we ever have the chance to meet.