1999 FD3S SP (1).
Article from Fast Fours and Rotaries. Volume 8 #8. Dec '95.
Road vrs Race versions.

 At Eastern Creek with Mazda's carbon fibre winged RX-7 SP road registered street and race cars.

There's a saying in sport that only winners are remembered-no-one takes notice of who comes second. But when John Nowe crossed the Eastern Creek start/finish line for the 409th time in a little over 12 hours and two minutes, it not only enforced Mazda's dominance of the fifth annual 12 hour endurance event, it hammered down for the third successive year Mazda Motorsport Australia's superiority over its main rivals Porsche. For the 1995 12 hour, two major changes were obvious: theswitch from Mt Panorama to Eastern Creek; and the addition of limited-production homologation models-BMW's M3-R pulled out of the race several weeks befor it even started due to suspected lack of speed :) ;Volvo had its T5-Rs with its high-profile driver pairings, Mazda it's reworked and highly successful RX-7 to SP specifiations, while Porsche replaced it's underpowered four-cylinder 968 CS dog with the (bearly) road-registerable race car, the 3.8-litre 911 RS CS. Winning the GT-Production championship in the hands of Jim Richards, Porsche had possibly its best (only :) ) chance at turning the tables and beating the Mazda Motorsport team. Everything was looking good at the 12 Hour- Porsches set the fastest times throughout practice and like Mazda in '94, was sitting on the first three positions of the grid-it was looking like the German manufacturer finaly had the edge on the Mazdas.
But history shows it wasn't to be (HA ha). Allan Horsley and hie Tripple M Mazda Motorsport team master-minded the victory in an event which has become Mazda's biggest triumph and Porsche's greatest frustration. In three attempts, Porsche has crossed the finish line behind an RX-7. Maybe next year's entry should be called the Porsche 911 Bridesmaid…


But what actually goes into a 12 Hour  champion? And what makes an SP?
At the venue of its  victory, Garry Waldon, the winning number seven Triple M RX-7 SP and  a red road going SP made their way to Eastern Creek for evaluation.
Since its introduction in 1992, the series 6 RX-7 proved a highly competitive car not only here in Australia, but in the USA and throughout the world. Since the  elimination of the rotary in Group A racing in 1984, Mazda Australia had only production car racing to expose its 13B turbo rotary-engined cars to the racetracks of Australia.  The twin-turbo RX-7 made its 12 Hour debut in 1992 in the hands of Charlie O'Brien, Mark Gibbs and the late Gregg Hansford, who drove it to victory.
In 1995, the RX-7 SP was born. Something impressive about the RX-7 SP is how quickly and efficiently it was developed - local development and production of the parts obviously helped. With the introduction of 1995's new regulations, according to Mazda's PR Steve Rowland 'in February the SP was still an idea in Allan's (Horsley's) head'. Three months and apparently less than $ 10,000 in total development costs later, Horsley and head spanner Daniel Deckers rolled the RX-7 SP out of its Kingsgrove workshop - a potential GT-P and 12 Hour winner.

The list of exact changes made to convert a standard Australian-spec twin-turbo RX-7 to 'SP' specs numbers 60. Most notable is the front nose cone which has a greatly increased air intake (necessitating the extra strength of the carbon fibre) and rear spoiler; both made from carbon fibre, they produce noticeably more downforce with the obvious lighter-than-plastic weight advantage. 'We tested the rear spoiler in three different guises out here (Eastern Creek),' informed Garry Waldon: no spoiler at all, the factory spoiler and the high mount version - which won favour. 'The small standard spoiler proved it was faster around Eastern Creek than no spoiler at all but the high-mount was around six-to-seven-tenths quicker again.' The notorious Turn One sweeper is where the rear spoiler benefits most, raising the car's corner speed 5km/h 'You can really feel the increased downforce around here," added Waldon who hustled through the sweeper during the race consistently over 200 km/h.
More carbon fibre is used under the lightweight and vented aluminum bonnet: the Mazda-motif air-box with ram-air ducting and pipework and, most notably visible from under the rear, the huge carbon-fibre fuel tank which boosts fuel capacity (and the distance between fuel stops) from 76 to 110 litres. The SP also gets stainless steel heat-shielding between the fuel tank and the revised from the turbo free-flowing exhaust system.
Fuel tank capacity, in the 12 Hour, proved to be a contributing factor to the SP's success with longer track sessions. Horsley's wild card was his well-publicized 'cool fuel'. Stored in large alloy tanks at the track, the 100 octane unleaded was chilled with dry ice to a temperature of around 5 deg C. When the 110 or so litres of fuel was dumped in at each stop, the almost freezing fuel lowered combustion temperatures noticeably for the entire session - a vital parameter with heat-stressed rotaries and turbos ensuring thermal loading was kept as low as possible.
Being essentially production cars, probably the biggest modification  to the car is the fueling system which can swallow around 110 litres in less than 20 seconds. Note the gearbox and diff temp gauges, which can be monitored at a glance during pit stops, and the perspex shielding partitioning the cabin.
Mazda's other trump card was its brake pad consumption. Normally the forte of the smaller and lighter cars, the Mazda SP's larger diameter and thickness rotor and larger four-spot front calipers miraculously made it through the 12 hours of punishment on one single set of Endless brake pads. According to Horsley, at the end of the race the pads were removed and "still had 'enough' meat on them". Improving the power-to-weight ratio was a prime concern with the SP. Weight was further reduced with a pair of Recaro's SP-A seats weighing in at 2.5 kg each!


Its kilowatt output went from 176kW for the standard RX-7, to 204kW for the SP, and around 240kW for the race car. The big additions came from the exhaust system and the three times more efficient than standard air-to-air intercooler - turbo modification extended to only minor seal changes. The road car puts out a whopping 357Nm of torque (versus the standard car's 294) and it's immediately noticeable on the road. The days of rotaries having no torque are long gone - fifth gear at 60km/h pulls similarly to an average family sedan in second.
To take full advantage of the improved power output, the diff ratio was changed from a 4.1 to a  4.3 aiding acceleration while still stretching the car's top speed I 0 km/h beyond the standard car to 260 km/h.
Power windows and mirrors, electrically-operated sunroof, cruise control, CD player, ABS,  driver's side airbag and optional air conditioning.
All things, Mazda proudly proclaims, the Porsche 91 1 RS CS is missing and all things (apart from the air-bag and A/C) were taken along for the 12 hour ride. The Porsches also miss out on a rear seat, carpet and hoodlining, although at 1270kg, it would need to. The RX-7 SP tips the scales at 1218kg, another 92kg lighter than the standard model.
Wheel size on the SP has been increased one-inch in diameter to 17 front and rear while the tyres have also grown to 235/45 front and 255/40 rear - not to mention the proudly-Australian kangaroo centre caps.
Sales of the 25 SPs spiked in the few days after the 12 Hour, with all 25 being snapped up quick smart, prompting Mazda to produce another 10.

The 204 kW Mazda has proven it can match the 221 kW Porsche 91 1 RS CS on the track and priced at just over $100,000, the 35 models are arguably a much better value for money proposition in the salesroom than the 12 $220,000 Porsches which made it to Australia.
Sifting with Waldon for a few laps in the winning number seven car was something which will be firmly implanted in my memory for some time. The mix of the highly underrated Waldon and the RX-7 is a combination which has been hard to beat in the last few years. Familiarity with the twin-turbo RX-7 over the years allows Garry to push hard safely lap after lap - a talent mperative for long-distance racing.
Mazda's 12 Hour driver line-up was the envy of the field: the twice 12 Hour winner Garry Waldon, young gun Mark Skaife, current Touring Car Champ John Bowe and the no- introduction-needed Dick Johnson. Combined with the RX-7 SP, Johnson and Bowe produced possibly Mazda Motorsports most rewarding victory to date.
And if you ever want to find out who finished second in the 12 Hour in '93, '94 and '95, Mazda Motorsport will be only too happy to tell you!
Article from Fast Fours and Rotaries. Volume 8 #8. Dec '95.
Eastern Creek 12 Hour race.

Rotaries triumph in Australia's most prestigious production car race.

Eastern Creek, 27th August 1995; Mazda's RX-7 SP shunned its critics by claiming victory in the race they said should have been Porsche's. For the first year, Porsche, Mazda and Volvo fronted their homologation specials, purpose built for production car endurance races. Allan Horsley drove the final nail into Fitzgerald's Porsche coffin by beating its highly acclaimed 911 RSCSs in his 12 Hour-unconquered RX-7s.

The second factory RX-7 SP was badly damaged on Saturday afternoon in a practice session, when back-up driver Allan Grice lost control at more than 160km/h exiting Corporate Hill. The caramazingly lined up for the start at 6:00am with the Mazda Motorsport team working non-stop throughout the night.
Mazda's qualifying and pre-race preparation was marred by an accident involving the black number nine RX-7 SP of Mark Skaife and Garry Waldon. Back up driver Allan Grice lost control of the car at more than 160km/h exiting the left-hander around Corporate Hill in practice on Saturday when he misjudged the braking point. The Mazda was badly damaged on the right hand side and had many wondering if it would front for the start at 6.OO AM Sunday morning. The Mazda Motorsport team began work on the car late Saturday afternoon topping off the repair job with sponsors' stickers less than half an hour before the start of the 12 hour enduro.
Porsche took pole position honours with a 1:39.45 lap time from Peter Fitzgerald in the first of the 911 RSCSs. But Mazda was not far behind with a credible 1:40.46 posted by Mark Skaife in the second of the factory RX-7 SPs. Porsches dominated the first three grid positions followed by the three RX-7 SPs. The surprise of the field was the remarkably quick PRB Clubman which qualified eighth with a 1:47.21 just ahead of the Subaru WRX of John Bourke and the 850 T-5R Volvo of Peter Brock and Tony Scott. Highest qualified Class B competitor was Murray Carter's Mazda 626 with a 1:52.6858. The customarily closely competed Class A was dominated by Suzuki Swift GTis and Toyota Corolla GTis with the lone Suzuki Baleno more than six seconds off the pace of the 12 Hour-proven Swift GTis.  Only two cars were entered in Class V, the Falcon XR6 of Cowley/Park/Longhurst and the Falcon EB SS of Burton/Vorst/Laughton.
Alan Jones and Terry Bosnjak were entered in the third RX-7 SP. With limited technical assistance and parts from Mazda, the 'semi-works' number 8 car unfortunately retired on lap 94 with electrical problems. Befor the problems, however, the car was running strongly, at one stage leading the race for one lap on lap 48.
Come race morning, the Fitzgerald/Richards 91 1 RSCS darted away from the line followed by the other two 91 1 s. The three RX-7s were hot on their tails, though, with the Johnson/Bowe car working its way through the field to have its first stint in the lead on lap 15. Tyres were of critical importance on the renowned Eastern Creek track.  And the recent track re-surfacing ensured teams were playing somewhat of a lottery when it came to tyre choice and pit stops. The fantastic duel which had developed between the Johnson/Bowe RX-7 SP and the Fitzgerald/Richards Porsche 911 RSCS was marred by an incident involving the pace car (or Safety Car is it is now known).  The situation arose when the pace car entered the track, following an instruction by the Clerk of the Course, behind the leading RX-7 of Johnson/Bowe allowing it to complete another lap at race speeds. Porsche claimed that 'under racing convention' the pace car should enter the track ahead of the leading car. Fitzgerald Racing later protested the incident due to the closeness of the finish, but Mazda's victory was later confirmed following a CAMS hearing.
Back in the pack, Mark Brame in the RPM Swift was storming from 2 1st on the grid towards his fifth victory in Class A. Moving up to sixth outright for almost an hour, Brame set the a new lap record in the first session of 1:54.7289. Twenty-year old Queenslander Darren Palmer took over the wheel with Brame talking him through every corner. Running on BF Goodrich production car tyres was causing enough sloshing around in the oil sump for the little Suzi to puff black smoke out the exhaust around tight right handers due to oil surge. In the shrewdness we've become accustomed to from Brame he held a brave face when questioned during the race but later conceded to being 'quite concerned over the oil loss.
As well as yet another high point in Suzuki's Australian endurance racing history, the Eastern Creek 12 Hour also claimed its first Suzuki GTi victim in the race's history to either mechanical failure or accidents. Kevin Ledger's blue ex-Mark Brame 12 Hour winning GTi threw a rod in the engine in only the third hour. And the only Suzuki Baleno entered in the race broke one of the standard steel wheels around Corporate Hill; a disappointing entrance to motor sport for Suzuki's latest release onto the Aussie market (look out for the Baleno GTX, though, which is destined for similar success to the Swift GTI in motorsport worldwide).
Another immaculately executed pit-stop for the race winning number 7 RX-7 SP of Dick Johnson and John Bowe. Car 7 made only 7 pit-stops and crossed the finish line (after 409 laps or 1607 km) on the same set of brake pads it started with.
The Eastern Creek 12 Hour also marked the first time a Class B car (1851cc-2600cc) has beaten the leading Class A car (0- 1 850cc), Mark Brame's Swift GTI in every case.
Also succumbing to the rigours of the Eastern Creek layout was the 533kg PRB Clubman driven by John Ribeiro and Peter Dane on its 12 Hour debut. After only two laps the Clubman was experiencing compression loss from the 1.6 litre 4A-GE twin-cam Toyota engine. The entire engine was replaced and the PRB rejoined the race just before 9am to again strike further problems only half an hour later in form of throttle sensor problems.
It ended up winning its class ahead of the Toyota MR2 of Alexander/Rush/Bates which retired with engine problems and wheel stud failures.
The brakes on Bourke's WRX were finding the going tough ultimately costing the Subaru valuable time. But it was the pair of factory 850 Volvo T5-Rs that were in the wars with a seal in the power-steering overheating and blowing due to the positioning of the massive front air-dam. Both cars finished but well down in the placings. Meanwhile, the second Subaru WRX of Liz and Greg Hurst/Andrew Leithhead was building up a commanding class lead finally finishing in an impressive sixth place outright, seven laps ahead of the Bourke WRX, The Johnson/Bowe RX-7 lead for the majority of the remainder of the race ahead of the Fitzgerald/Richards Porsche finally finishing the race 1 min2Osec in front. Third place, and four laps down on the leader, went to the Andrew Miedecke/Mork Noske Porsche 911 RSCS ahead of the Skaife/Waldon RX-7 SP which looked like claiming third place until brake problems resulted in an unscheduled pit stop only 15 minutes from the finish.

There was a Honda NSX. It placed 5th!  eh.
The Multi coloured FD #812.
"This was origonaly the first mazda motor sport BP sponsered car.
This very car was driven by the late Vaugn Guthry and Skippy Parsons to an outrite placing in 1998 but at post event inspection was found not to comply with the air filter rule.
This year (1999) Richard Francke and myself ran fourth in my 1995 fds3 sp1. (we missed out on third by 12 seconds)
Best FD3S site.
Garry Scott SDT Motorsport."
Link to SP2 page.