When it comes to finding cool car builds, my favorite place to start is just asking around, everyone it seems has a friend or work colleague tinkering away on something. This time around when I was told of a 2JZ powered RX8 drift car I was immediately interested. There are always lots of Silvia/Skyline drift builds in the works, but rarely is there some unique project that pricks my interest, this one however certainly did. Honestly, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find something as unique and impressive as this 2JZ powered Mazda RX-8 out of Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs.
Owner James began his affair with the RX-8 some time ago, starting off as a daily/ weekend track car. It did a few time attack days, street drifting (naughty ha-ha) and mountain runs and It was always super reliable car, eventually the drift bug bit hard and James was looking for a full-time drift car and the Mazda went up for sale.
Months past and plenty of tire kickers later, James decided to be different and build the RX8 instead. At the time 3 years ago it was the only 2JZ RX8 drift build in Australia, working as an apprentice electrician at the time it was a long process, a 2-year build in fact to get the car where it is today.
As you can see the vehicle has had quite extensive modifications, starting with the outside the Mazda is fitted with a factory series one kit and a RocketVanya Wide Body kit sourced from Russia. The kit adds 30mm to the front and 50mm to the rear.
To fill those massive wide-bodied guards a set of Enkei RPF1s in 18X9.5 + 15 wrapped in Federal RSR-R tyres to comply with VicDrift regulations. Hidden behind the wheels the RX8 is still running a mostly standard brake system. The lines have been changed to braided and using just an upgraded pad and disc combo a Tonnka hydro hand brake has been used also. Attached to the wheels giving the car its aggressive lowered stance is a set of BCBR Coil overs (F: 10kg R: 6kg) with all the angle made possible via a Built2Apex formula Drift Angle kit. In the rear Japspeed Camber arms, Traction arms have been used and the standard rear sway bar remains.
As you’d expect the interior has gone under similar surgery. It has been stripped considerably, with the front door trims and dash the only items remaining. The dash has been modified for the 6-pt CAMs approved cage and to mount the Haltech IQ3 Display a custom centre switch pack was made and fitted also. James is held in place by a Sparco race seat, while is hands are wrapped around a Nardi 330mm wheel.
Under the bonnet is where all the interest really lies since a 2JZ turbo powering this machine. The engine seems rather tame in comparison to the rest of the car, with a 1JZ intake, 1000cc BPP injectors and Supra coil packs. On the hot side a Tonnka T3 turbo manifold is used and a GT3576r bolted to it, a turbosmart 44mm external wastegate has been used with a full 3” stainless exhaust system which see’s the RX8 putting out a little over 300kws, tuned with a Haltech P2000.
As you’d imagine there was a fair amount of customization to get the engine into the car as with any build such as this custom becomes an all too common word. Custom engine mounts were used fitted with BMW bushes to seat the engine in its place, A gearbox mount was made to suit the 350z transmission with is OSGiken clutch. A tail-shaft was then made to fit and the standard RX8 diff welded.
With the engine in place and ready to crank the fuel system was assembled in the boot. A 40l race tank and 10l surge tank have been used along with twin Bosch 040 fuel pumps to feed the engine E85 and keep the car humming.
AS you’d expect it hasn’t been easy for James building the car, with the diff mount braking three times. One of those caused a fairly sizable amount of damage as it pulled out the tailshaft, taking out the fuel lines and the gear shifter along with it. But as so often is the case after all the hard work, the rewards come. “it felts so amazing and rewarding to finally not only drive the car, but DRIFT IT at a DCA event at Mt. Gambier back in 2016. After extensive testing in the off season the RX8 feels amazing, in its first year of competitive drifting we are currently 12th overall in the Victorian drift championship and that podium is looking closer every round!!!”
From all of us at AutoRefuge we wish you the best of luck!
James would like to thank the following individuals and business’ which have helped him:
A big thanks to my parents, the boys Nathan, Bobi, Paul & Chu for all the late nights and banter, Ender from JDM Industries and of course My Sponsors – Ironsons Homes, Built2Apex, RocketVanya & Antler Adventures.