TORCHLIGHT | Lorenzo Bayuga’s FC RX7

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In the United States, and especially in drifting, a lot of the JDM cars have had engine transplants. S-bodies rolling with 2JZ’s or most likely a LS V8 of one kind or another. The rotary engine is often talked about as a weak engine and liable to breaking so more than often they get swapped for something that is deemed more reliable. I can recall Mike Fitzgerald was going to SR his RX7 and when he decided to stay with the glorious rotary engine you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief across Irish drifting. When I approached Lorenzo I had almost taken for granted that this would be a LS swap but thankfully it’s running what it should be running; a wankel with a blower!

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I love how low Lorenzo’s car is and to think this is a street legal drift car too which incidentally is the best thing about it in my opinion. Lorenzo even has his skid lid sitting in the back and I can’t help but think that secretly he dons his helmet and driving gloves for those late night drives. I know I probably would!

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The car isn’t the prettiest of FC’s with battle scares all over the BN Sports Replica kit but I don’t think that takes away from the car at all. If for one moment we could think of the car as a human it’s probably living the YOLO life and not many cars live that life. Most cars only see the streets, whereas this baby sees it all; streets and track.

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The car is lowered on KYB AGX 16-way coilovers and runs RacingBeat/Mazdatrix sway bars. The car looks so right on the freeway especially when it’s following you. The aggressive stance of the car and the purposeful look from the bodykit means the car can look very imposing. Almost shouting “Out of my way, B*tches!”

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As I mentioned at the start of the article this FC is indeed still with it’s rotary heart and this 13BT is actually a JDM engine that has been transplanted into the car. The engine has a RacingBeat full turboback, short ram intake, RisingRPM block off kit and a 3 row Aluminum radiator. The transmission has had an ACT Stage 2 clutch fitted along with a lightened flywheel.

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Lorenzo reckons it produces roughly 200bhp which seems paltry in comparison to say the likes of a FormulaD car or indeed a lot of amateur drift cars that are running well over twice this power. To be honest I was yet again surprised to hear about a drift car in America with such “low” BHP but it is like Lorenzo says “I want to be able to learn to drift with a low amount of power because it means that I really have to drive it hard”. This of course makes perfect sense as when, and if he upgrades he will be comfortable with the extra power and that is what it is all about – the comfort level. Being on the ragged edge with 200bhp will work much better than everything being a blur at 400bhp.

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The best feature on a FC is the door lines – hands down my favourite door on a car. That kink just looks so cool

The wheels are shod in Kumho AST 215/40’s on all four corners of the Rex. These particular wheels are based on a Mustang design from the 90’s called the “SC”. Lorenzo’s versions are 17×10 (et +20) SC Reps.

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Push to Start

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Classic Rod – modified cars at least 20 years old carry this plate in Nevada. That’s for all you non-Nevadians

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Nardi Wheel with Momo hub and a NRG quick release

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Helmet and Fire extinguisher – always ready to go “skid racing”
 

You have to love the 80’s interiors especially the FC RX7’s dashboard, or at least I do. Now cast your eyes past the horrible blue colour and over to the lines. The top of the center console being a sea of straight angular lines and then the curved and rounded dash looking straight up to the driver. Modern interiors are often too busy for my liking, sometimes I just want functionality and that’s what you get with the Japanese interior. The Bride Zeta III seats are awesome holding you in place whether your drifting on the track or on the streets ;).

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The Nevada weather and scenery is awesome

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All work and no play make for a boring shoot – Lorenzo getting some air for fun

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Seeing cars like Lorenzo’s FC RX7 is making it very difficult for me to choose what car I want to settle with. I have to remember that I am pushing on now with my white hair and I am constantly reminded by my wife that I am no longer a kid, even if I do act like one! One part of me is saying “Now you know you need to be sensible… Audi A4 Avant” the other part is saying “How is this even a question? Get a street legal, slammed drift weapon….NOOOOWWWWW!” Thanks Lorenzo, thanks a bunch!
 
Words & Photos: Patrick McCullagh
 

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