Jeff Cashmore's Spec RX7 Racing Page
This page last updated on 10/22/03
Update: I sold the car after the 2000 season when I got married
For the WAI home page click here.
- So you want to go road racing on a budget, huh? You don't want to
be out-spent, you don't fit into Formula Vee's and Vintage racing
doesn't call out to you? Then Spec RX7 may be just the ticket. SCCA's
Milwaukee region ran it as an ITA sub-class in 1999 and the Cendiv
Regional Championship Series will support it in 2000. We had 4 cars
running in the Milw/Chicago area and at last count there were a half
dozen new cars being built. We're using the same highly successful
rules that the Southern Pacific/Rocky Mountain/Northeast Divisions are
The Souther Pacific Spec RX7 rules are now online.
The idea is to find an inexpensive used 1981-1985 Mazda RX7 ($1-2500)
and install a 'kit' (springs, cage, etc.) that you can buy ($1400-2000)
locally from any number of dealers, such as A&M Motorsports - Mike
Alexander 847-746-8466, National Auto Transport - Mark Greenisen
414-335-6666, and Pegasus Auto Racing
Supplies - Bob Clark 800-688-6946. Don't be fooled by the term 'cheap
racing'. There's no such thing. After you've spent $5000 on the car,
tires are about $100 apiece, entry fees are $150-200, brake pads are
$120 a set, etc. For those of us driving our street legal cars to the
track beware, stuff happens. Brake calipers fail, accidents, etc. But
if you wrap it around a tree it's not $20,000 for another car. Besides,
you could easily spend $5,000 on a go-kart package. If you truly want
cheap racing in a 'real car' then try Autocrossing.
- Spec Rx7 is not to be confused with the NASA PRO 7 class. We did get the class added to the American Road Race of Chamipions at Road Atlanta for the year 2000.
Jeff's 1983 Mazda RX7 GSL
The National SCCA web site has info on Club Racing.
Rocky Mountain Spec Rx7 info
MARRS Spec Rx7 page
Bruce Crawford's page. Bruce used to compete out east in the MARRS series
Pictures/Info from Jeff's 4/3/99 IRP drivers school
Pictures/Info from Jeff's first race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI
Pictures/Info from Jeff's Grattan, MI double regional
Pictures & video from the 8/1/99 Cat National road race
Pictures from the 5/14/00 Susie Bonneau regional
- You want more info/pictures?
- You're still interested? Here's a list of things to do...
1. Read the licensing guide, join the SCCA, fill out the license application and medical form (you have to see your doctor, yuck!) and sign up for a drivers school.
2. I highly recommend attending a few Solo II/Autocross events to
inexpensively learn about car control. For more info see the Milwaukee Region page and the WAI pages here and here.
3. Buy a car! See Trader Online or the Parts Trader.
The most important thing to look for is rust. From the interior, pull
off the leather-like coverings on top of the rear wheel wells. This is
the most likely rust spot, right where you want to mount the roll cage!
Don't be afraid of cars with 150k miles on them. That's why we're using
Rotaries, because they last. Most leak a little oil from the side motor
housings. Unfortunately, you can either live with it or rebuild the
motor for about $1500. If anyone knows of a local rotary rebuilder,
please let me know. You don't need a Limited Slip Differential, but if
you want one and you don't buy a GSL, you can buy used GSL rear ends
for $200-$500 and bolt them on. You'll now have rear disk brakes too.
For more info on brakes see the brake link.
4. Buy the 'kit'. See the phone numbers above. Mike and Mark will also
install the kit for you (for a nominal fee, of course. $400 in Mike's
case.). It's nice to get your annual tech inspection done before the
drivers school. I had too many last minute details to take care of,
such as taping up the turn signals (use clear box tape) and drilling
the holes in cage to check it's thickness, (read your GCR!).
Technically, you don't need the suspension pieces, only the safety
items to be legal for the class. Diamond
Industries (414-744-2010) in Milwaukee is selling a 15 lb, 13x7 inch,
4x110mm bolt pattern, 4 inch backspace, steel rim for only $59.
- 5. Join the Mazda Motorsports program at 800-435-2508. You'll get a
price break on parts when mail ordering from their catalog.
- 6. Look at the Cendiv schedule
and decide how many events you want to attend. Remember, Improved
Touring is a Regional only class (no Runoffs for you, rice boy!). Road
America and Blackhawk Farms are only an hour away from Milwaukee. You
can also Autocross your Spec RX7 in the CSP class or run with Midwestern Council for more seat time.
7. Call CUT/Vilven tire (217-583-3244) or the Tire Rack
to order some Toyo tires at a little over $100 apiece. I did 6 events
on one set of tires and they still have one more left in them. Don't
bother shaving them and disregard the L/R markings (left/right) on the
sidewalls, it doesn't matter which side of the car you put them on.
Also, after the tread is half gone you can remount them 'inside out'.
The rears will wear evenly but the fronts wear the outside more on our
camber challenged cars. Most folks start at 29 lbs cold and let them
work up to 31-32. Add a little more if it's wet out.
8. Call Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies (800-688-6946), IO Port Racing, or Racer Wholesale to buy a SA-95 helmet, suit, gloves, etc.
9. Go sponsorship hunting to help out your tire budget and order up
some graphics. GCR section 12.5 applies along with an additional #7.
ie: our class designation will be ITA7. This will make it easy to
travel to regions that don't support the sub-class yet.
10. Have fun racing!!
- Frequently Asked Questions
- "Why can't we use 1979-1980 models?" The 79-80 cars are a
little different than the later 1st gens. Besides the bumpers, gearing,
motor side housings, etc. the biggest difference is that they used a
thermal reactor instead of a catalytic converter. No other Spec Rx7
group in the country allows them either. This was published in the Aug
97 Sportscar article on Spec Rx7's.
- "Can I adjust my steering wheel/pedals?" I've talked with the
west coast guys and they interpret the rules to allow any steeing
wheel/hub combo and aftermarket pedals or shift knob. These are
considered 'comfort and convienence' items but may be technically
- "Can I use the lighter rotors and flywheel together?" No. Any
year motor can be used in any year body but everything in the motor has
to be from the same year, this includes the flywheel. The 81-82 rotors
are slightly lighter but it used the slightly heavier flywheel. The
83-85 rotors where slightly heavier but it used a slightly lighter
flywheel. You can't just bolt up the lighter flywheel to the earlier
motor anyway, there's a modification you need. Transmissions are not
considered part of the motor, so any year tranny can be used with any
- "What's a lollipop?" It's a tool that's used to check the
legality of exhaust ports on a rotary motor. I saw it used at this
years ARRC and it works as advertised. After pulling off the exhaust
manifold you push it into the exhaust port. If it passes into the rotor
housing, the port has been enlarged and it's illegal. That or the rotor
housing is from an earlier RX2 or RX3 motor which are NOT legal for
Spec 7 use. These came with larger exhaust ports and Mazda Motorsports
still sells them. You can identify them by looking at the top of the
housing, drivers side just behind the distributor. The MAZDA logo is in
caps with a slight slant. The legal 12a housings are in lowercase with
no slant. More info to follow.
- "Do I need the earlier oil cooler?" No. The 81-82 cars had a
slightly smaller radiator with a large oil cooler underneath it. The
83-85 cars have a larger radiator and the oil cooler is underneath the
oil filter. The guys are running both setups successfully out in the
Arizona heat so I don't think it matters which one you have.
- "Why can't we use radios/data acquisition systems?" Because
they cost too much. I believe the theory is that they don't provide
enough bang for the buck. The class concept is based on "cheaper is
better". After you've got $5000 into the car another $1500 just for
radios is a lot of money. The majority of the target audience are
newbies and would rather spend it on tires, brake pads, entry fees,
etc. I've heard the radio/safety argument, but if it held that much
water, radios would be manditory in all cars. There is a definate
advantage to having radios for starts, calling out lap times, race
strategy, etc. Why else would you want one in the first place? The rule
does allow the use of a single in-car stop watch and/or video camera.
Again, please remember that none of the other divisions allow radios
and that the rules will be reviewed at the end of the year.
- "Why are we using this rules package anyway?" Because it works!
Just look at the size of the fields the other groups have. We're not
reinventing the wheel here. The formula works, and as the saying goes,
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it". For instance, the group in Texas is
the only group allowing headers. Now they can't use those cars in
neighboring divisions or in the future at the American Road Race of
Champions. The same would go for fuel cells & 'Nascar style' door
bars. If you insist on spending more money to race, I'd suggest moving
on up to the ITA or EP groups.
- "I'm still not sure I can afford it, how can I cut my costs
some more?" One idea is to find a partner and share the car/costs. With
a little bit of travel, most folks have the potential of a dozen events
to choose from but can only afford to make half of them (if that many).
It's possible to share the car building costs with someone else (you
still need your own personal gear, maybe tires/rims/brake pads) and
have a better car. Car storage and tow vehicle details would have to be
worked out along with a crash damage/repair arrangement but it could
- "Is there any way to make some money back on my 'investment'?"
Besides renting your car out at about $800 a race, Toyo offers tire
contingency's. I've heard that Carbotech is offering a discount on Hawk
brake pads if you run their sticker but I can't find any details yet.
- If you have questions about anything else please e-mail me or come on down to the Competition/Board meetings. The schedule for which is up on the Milwaukee Region home page.
MARRS Rx7 mailing list, east coast Spec 7 email list info. There's also a west coast list, send mail to email@example.com.
Mazda USA home page
History of the Wankel Rotary motor.
History of the RX7
1st gen facts 1979-1985
Early model differences
1st gen FAQ
1st gen Tech articles Starting your flooded Rotary, etc.
Steering Box replacement tips
Felix's place He truly is 'Mr. Mazda', great links section.
Rotary Performance Bret de Pedro's shop builds Spec 7's in West Virginia.
Mazdatrix CA parts dealer and more. Nice FAQ too.
Lockwood Performance sells used 1st gen parts, located in Michigan
Mazda Auto Dismantler Cali parts dealer and more.
Car Part finder
Sun Auto Used parts/engines from PA
American Road Race of Champions info on the ARRC.
www.improvedtouring.com All sorts of IT info.
NASA home page, SCCA like group
Ground Control sells parts for Rx7's
Diamond racing wheels are located in Milwaukee, WI
Revolution wheels for sale here.
Simpson race helmet info.
Texas Spec Rx7 info
Spec7.org discussion pages
Road America track web site - Elkart Lake, WI
Blackhawk Farms track web site - Beloit, WI
SCCA Central Division web site, track info, etc.
More racing links off the WAI homepage
Rotary web rings Lot's of links
More RX7 links than you could ever hope for.
- More helpful Mazda RX7 links
- I hope you found this page helpful. If you did, feel free to
buy me a beer when you see me. Better yet, buy a corner worker a beer
and say it's from the Spec RX7 group!
You can reach me by e-mail here in freezing cold Milwaukee, WI
total visitors since this page was created on 3/8/98