Builds>> Rx-7 Time Attack Build Progress Feb 2011

I know, I know, it's been WAY too long since I've updated on my project, but lots has been going on. Not as much as I hoped, but at least it's moving forward. More on this lovely picture in a few moments. 

My last update was summer of last year, and a lot has happened since then; I built a deck on my house, broke my foot, travelled half-way around the world, got a metal shard stuck in my pupil, got some stitches, and played a &*$%load of simracing. Combined with all of the above, work on our latest NFS project has been intense and extremely busy, but also really rewarding. I'm more excited about the game we're working on now than any Need For Speed I've worked on in the past. And in my free time, I was able to get some work done on the FC!

I've been busy researching and collecting the components that will help me go fast, or at least help me avoid hitting any large stationary objects. Check out the coilovers I recieved a couple of weeks ago from Pettit Racing down in Florida. These are one of, if not the first set of Pettit Trak-Pro Competition Series for an FC they've released. Externally adjustable, with 15kg/mm springs front, and 12kg/mm in the rear, pretty stiff, but with the helper springs the small high frequency bumps shouldn't upset the car too much while controlling roll very nicely. 

I've always had trouble finding the optimal seating position in production vehicles, being 6'3"ish with longer legs and apparently a shorter torso, I always find either my legs are cramped or the steering wheel is too far away to get any decent leverage. I needed a steering wheel with a lot of dish, or I'd have to come up with a custom steering linkage which is just too much of a PITA at this point. So I picked up a Momo Mod 8 with a 90mm dish, the suede is a nice touch too.  

Onto the seat dilemma. I looked for months for a seat that would fit me well with no luck. I borrowed a Sparco Rev from a friend to get the seat mounting finished, but even without the base seat pad I was sitting too high, the harness ports were way too low, and could be a safety issue if there ever was an incident.

Obviously our cat liked it. Trouble is, a few seat manufacturers make seats for big guys, but they are generally for guys who are tall and wide, not guys like me who are tall and narrower. 

Alas, I found my perfect match. Sabelt makes a seat that is much taller than anything else I tried out, and is a perfect size for tall guys under 220lbs, if you're having trouble finding a suitable seat, try this one out! I brought the seat home and put it in the car with my steering wheel in place, good fore/aft, good left/right, head hits the roll cage, without a helmet, without any roll bar padding, huge problem. The FC isn't a big car to start with, but there had to be a better way to do this. 

I called up my buddy Dave who works with sheet metal for a living, asked if he could build me a box to drop the seat down a couple of inches. He showed up at my place with this perfectly sized box for the FC. We cut the floor out of the car and welded it in place in a few hours and re-tested the seat fit, just about right. I modified the OMP seat brackets slightly, and canted the seat back a few degrees, which gave me the perfect fit. 

Check out all the head room now, and I can get even lower by thinning out the seat pad if I need to. Being 100% comfortable in this car now, is such a relief, I can't stress how important that is in a track/race car. The best mod I ever made on my FFR Cobra was replacing the stock seat with a proper bucket and getting the seating position right. 

You can see the drop-box installed here. I've started painting the car, but have only gotten as far as to put a few coats of primer on the underside. It's amazing how toxic an entire house can get from just a little epoxy paint! My dogs were going nuts, so I think I will have to wait until everyone is out of the house to do any more painting, either that, or buy my dogs and the cat some respirators. 

One of my favorite parts of the build so far, the wheels! I picked up a set of 17×8.5" BBS RS's from VR Wheels in Cali, who import wheels from Japan. The wheels were in decent shape but needed some TLC, not to mention 8.5" just isn't wide enough for this car! I picked up a set of 3.5" replacement lips for the wheels and decided I would refinish them as well.

To take the multi-peice wheels apart, you'd think you would just have to remove all of the hardware and pry them apart, but no such luck. They are sealed up with black RTV which is hi-temp silicone, it holds extremely well! So I shoved them in the oven and baked them til they were nice and crispy…

…and carried the hot wheel down to the basement and hammered the lips and centers out with a rubber mallet! You'll notice the toilet in my makeshift workshop, it was late, and that was the quietest room in the house I swear!

Once I had the wheels apart I cleaned up the barrels, and centers, and then re-sprayed the wheel centers with metallic wheel paint, classy!

Dave came by again to help re-assemble the wheels and do some other work, 3 peice wheels with big lips are a LOT easier to assemble when you have a set of hands on each side of the wheel! Check out that LIP!! I know the RS's are a bit trendy right now, and not a pure race wheel, but I have always loved deep dish meshies! And at about 20lbs for a 17×11.5" wheel? Hard to beat those specs for the price.

I picked up a set of racing mirrors off E-Bay,  and during that time my little girl was wanting to help out with the project, so I told her she could paint the mirrors any color she chose if she did it herself. I took her down to the local auto parts store and bought some rattle can paint of her choice, and you'll never guess what color a little 7 year old girl picked… hot pink!

I helped her mask off the mirrors, gave her a respirator, and let her go to town! I think she did an awesome job, now I just need to do a bit of wet sanding and polishing on them. She's put her 'touch' on a couple other parts of the car too, including some glittery butterfly stickers on the roll cage.

The steering rack I had came out of the '90 coupe I bought for parts, this particular model was a power steering unit with a 17:1 ratio, whereas some of the other models had either a 20:1 ratio, or a 14.x:1 ratio. The 17:1 would be just right, remembering the 15:1 manual rack in my Cobra took a bit too much effort out on the track to make quick inputs, and the 20:1 would be just too slow.

Since it was a power rack, and I wanted to run manual for better feel and the reduction of weight from all the ancillaries, I needed to convert it to a manual rack. In the Mazda/Koyo rack's there is just one seal that causes a de-powered rack to push air in and out and increase steering effort. Disassemble the rack, cut off the metal seal with a cut-off wheel, clean, re-grease, and re-assemble! I won't be doing any enduro's or 24 hour races in this car, so I'm not too concerned about the extra effort, steering feel is worth the work out. 

I talked to a fellow race/builder on RX7 Club, JGrewe, who helped recommend the sizes of master cylinders I would need to run if I wanted to run the stock FC brakes with a dual MC adjustable setup. I picked up a couple Wilwood MC's along with thier balance bar and remote cable adjuster, 0.700" front and 0.625" in the rear which should provide a good starting point to dial in my brake bias. 

Wilwood recommends that you run a pedal ratio of 6:1 with manual brakes for appropriate brake pedal pressure, since my FC had power brakes from the factory, this would require a bit of work. The stock pedal is set up at around 4.9:1, so I moved the fulcrum a quarter of an inch closer to the pivot to get right to 6:1.

Dave slaved away cleaning up the pedal box so that both MC's could be mounted correctly. 

Time to drill out the new holes for the new dual MC setup, and re-weld the bushings on the rear to make sure everything is mounted up nice and solidly. 

To complete the brake package I also aquired a set of AWR brake discs. These are made for the E-Production race cars, but until I can afford a pricey big brake kit, these will be a great upgrade to the stock solid rotors. The aluminum hats reduce un-sprung weight, and rotating mass. I rebuilt the hubs, cleaned up and painted the spindles, and re-packed the bearings so I'd be ready to bolt these on the car.

I also picked up a set of longer ARP wheel studs which come in handy for longer lug nuts, with more threads exposed which should give just a little extra measure of safety. Have you ever seen the video of the RX-7 whose lug nuts weren't fully seated? 

AWR also sells a brake duct kit that bolts nicely to the front of the FC, just need to settle on which pad's I should run. 

Lots of other updates, but this post is already too long. Expect more soon!  

- Carl Jarrett



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I'm so glad this is an FC and not an FD. Best of luck on the project. I look forward to seeing the progress!


so what, if its a FD chassis. wtf does it matter to you?


Nice! What setup is that for NFS?


Is that seat the Taurus L or Taurus XL? I'm looking for a better fitting seat for my s14. I'm 6'1" 185lbs so I know what you mean about no room in these small cars.


Looks great so far. Cam's coilovers look super nice...


Very very nice build, I just wish i had the funds to build my FC in this fasion. Good-luck, and hopefully you'll be killin all the FD's out on the track ;)


Thae cat is sofa king sweet!


LOL, from the looks of that shopping bag, I shop at the same 'local' parts store whether I'm in Kamloops or Calgary. I have the same Bandit-Edition Husky toolchest, too!


Wicked Post


Not sure where AWR sources their rotors or if they make 'em themselves, but look up AWR Racing and give them a shout.

The cat is a Bengal, and she's super rad.

Thanks for all the nice comments guys, keep em coming!


Where did you get your rim shells from?


Looking good man. We are gearing up to start work on our FC TA car Version 2.0, Looks like all is well i had been wondering how you were doing.

WOW 15k 12k?!! order yourself up some additional springs m8 because im certain with how light your car is going to be....some tracks are going to be really rough rides.

ALSO do you have anything to adjust the bump steer or the rear camber? Super now bumpsteer correctors with AWR Camber links are the way to go. have been very reliable peices. MMR makes a set of rear camber links but i have seen them fail more than once...... AND in addition, AWR toe control links are great and we are running the AWR pieces right now. Also on your big brake dilliema...why not do the EVO 8/9 brake setup? I have the parts set aside right now to upgrade the FC with some DBA 2 peice rotors and aluminum hats. It turns out to be a cheaper conversion than paying for a big brake with a set of calipers of same part number! here are 2 links for ya

Well take care! looking ever so wonderful!


Spectacular job on those rims. Could coice of colour for the wheel nuts as well!!

Interesting method of plonking the car on its side :)


Hey Carl, do you know who makes the AWR rotors? I'm thinking of buying a set of front and rear FC TII calipers and was wondering if there are any good upgrades available.


love the mirrors!


Love the update. Was wondering what happened to this project. Dig that your daughter wants to help daddy and has added her own pink mods. Keep the updates coming, even if they're small!


Looks good! I wish I would have gotten a box made up to drop the seat down in my skyline before buying another car. Props on the build! Any pics of the box mounted? I'm interested about how it all fit together.



i can really appreciate you letting your girl have some part in the build.

never neglect your love ones!!


thats iracing on the screen there, not nfs


It's a regular Taurus, if you check their website the XL is the same height but wider than the regular Taurus.

Its a Playseat Evo and the GT3 RS wheel from Fanatec with the Clubsport pedals. Those pedals dropped my lap times at least half a second in iRacing!


Awesome build going on! Its good to see you working out the details like that, seat placement is huge. What kind of cat is that? It looks like it has spots


Awesome I used to own a track FC and it was a blast though i primarilly used it to learn how to drift in.. RE'S Rule.. I hope your project goes very well and i cant wait to see the finished product keep us posted... GOOD LUCK


Great build and thank you for the update, but I have 2 very very important questions:


2. SIM SETUP!!! WTF is that wheel and pedal set?? Pedals look like you took them right out of a race car!


where did you source the wheel barrels for the BBS RS??



Good prices and good service, I'm glad I bought them there.


What is the exact name for the metallic wheel paint? Thanks!


waiting for this update.. nice to see the 'ladies' getting involved! good use of an oven too - gotta love that living room set-up for the Need for Speed time!


Nice stuff! I was waiting for an update on this project for a long time already.

Keep it up!


Great post. I'm 6'4 and find Recaro SPA/SPG to be a perfect fit with harness holes at the correct height. Might be useful for anyone out there in the same predicament. I also found Racetech seats to be very good for us tall guys too.


All that talk of NFS and what sim do you have up and running? None other then iRacing...


Are those coilovers being publicly sold yet? last i check they only sold fd coils?


nice build....i cant wait for when my little girl is old enough to help me with my projects


"alas" is definitely not the right word to use there.


i feel your pain but its worse sense im 6'5 (skinny) and i drive a 06 350z. i love my car but def need a after market seat ASAP. it would then be perfect for me


Just a bit of terminology refinement. The springs you named as "helper" springs are actually called "tender" springs. Tender springs have a higher spring rate than helper springs, (think 200lb/in vs 10lb/in)

A helper spring is intended to prevent the main coil from flopping around when the shock is extended (ie the car is jacked up in the air) and is meant to be fully compressed when the car is at static height.

A tender spring is supposed to give the more progressive feel you described.


I love the fact that your little girl helped. I have a one year old and I hope one day she gets interested enough to work on my car with me. This is probably my favorite build I've seen on Speedhunters to date. Keep up the good work and post some pics of the power plant.


Glad to see a real build on a realistic timeline and budget! All the super-budget builds finished overnight were getting depressing.


Re: Seats for tall guys that aren't heavy... I use a Sparco Evo 2 Plus and it fits me quite well. It is very comfortable on the street, could be a *hair* tighter in the upper leg/thigh area for the track, but really no complaint. 6'4" at 190-195lbs here.


I remember Alex telling me about this a while back when you guys were at Blackbox, looks like some awesome progress. Will be a nice track beast for sure, do you plan on hitting any other tracks outside Mission? If you haven't picked up fenders yet, Ronin Speedworks came out with some MEAN FC aero, Joel, Mike and Steve make top notch stuff. I will be getting some custom parts from them myself.

I'm well into my FD street/track attack build, though not quite as all out as you but this will be year 6 bringing everything together hopefully. Its nice to know of another quality local track build in progress, and another RX-7 as well! I will be awesome to see you out on the track with this thing all completed!


Great build, love how the family is helping out.

What wheel nuts are those? they look very trick.


Is that an Ashera cat??? pricey


love the first shot, IRACING v8 supercar at sebring!

love it. im off to do some laps!


nice!! keep it up dude! =] hope to get my FC ready for track someday.