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Mazda RX8 Track Car, "The Kraken"

Mazda RX8 Track Car, "The Kraken"

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Discussion

DMN

2,123 posts

63 months

Thursday 7th July 2016
quotequote all
Very nice RX7 and a good update. It was this thread that made me take the plunge into RX8 land, so please keep it coming.

Robbins

94 posts

61 months

Thursday 7th July 2016
quotequote all
Great write up, really interesting insight into track adventures with an RX8! I think I'd go down the same route if I were to hit the track.

Regarding the FD - lovely! Though IMO (coming from my own FD owning experience) the RX8 wheels really don't suit it - it needs some nice 17"s! I actually quite like the look of stock 16"s too so that's personal preference I guess.

Mark Benson

4,561 posts

193 months

Thursday 7th July 2016
quotequote all
A good read, always liked the RX8 but other cars seem to have been higher up the list.

I saw you on the Donington day in March (with a bunch of other RX8s) and was going to pop down and get a passenger ride from one of you but we were busy testing our own car (grey Boxter race car) and then fixing it (handbrake mechanism disintegrated) and I never got round to it. I'm still to have a go in one.

Also, in the Anglesey picture is my old race car in the background (blue Ginetta), I sold it earlier this year as it wasn't getting used but I'd entertained ideas about putting an RX8 engine and gearbox into it, 240bhp and a good few kgs lighter would have been fun I reckon.

StreetDragster

Original Poster:

1,012 posts

142 months

Thursday 7th July 2016
quotequote all
Thanks chaps

Ah yes I remember the boxster, bad luck with the hand brake

Thanks
Matt

otolith

34,495 posts

128 months

Friday 8th July 2016
quotequote all
I've fancied an FD RX-7 since reading the first review in CAR when they came out, but never got round to it. Prettiest car to come out of Japan, too, in my opinion. I did scratch the rotary itch with an RX-8, though. Marmite cars, but I loved mine.
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seefarr

442 posts

110 months

Friday 8th July 2016
quotequote all
Very cool car.

A bridge-ported Renesis must be a pretty rare thing - is it still the same housings or does it use 13B parts? Any chance of a brap-brap video?

So many questions!

otolith

34,495 posts

128 months

Friday 8th July 2016
quotequote all
Is it markedly more accelerative than a standard car now?

StreetDragster

Original Poster:

1,012 posts

142 months

Friday 8th July 2016
quotequote all
More cars seem to be getting Bridgeported nowadays.

They don't brap though as the side ported rx8 engine doesn't have the overlap that the 13b rx7 engine has. Idle is different, and 'near brap'.

Not sure I could comment on the difference tbh as mine has different final drive, flywheel, and I also changed the tyre profiles at the same time, but it does go better than before.

Thanks for all comments

Matt

StreetDragster

Original Poster:

1,012 posts

142 months

Wednesday 5th October 2016
quotequote all
Update time.

Well the last time I updated this post it was a few weeks before our trip to Europe.

My RX7 was in at WGT having a few issues sorted out, and my RX8 needed some tweaks to the lower end of the mapping. The logical thing to do was to drive down in the RX8 and swap into the RX7 for the drive back and pick up the RX8 whenever it was finished.

I finished work early on a Thursday and started to drive down to WGT, however on the motorway smoke started to come from the dashboard air vents.
Pull over, engine off and inspect with no obvious issues found. Bit more driving and the smokes back, pull over, engine on this time, no obvious issues.
Then a series of tests were performed on the road to figure out what this smoke was, turns out that it wasn’t smoke, it was related to the air conditioning system, suspected to be R134A leaking as air conditioning performance was reducing despite the new condenser the car had when the engine was installed.
This presented an issue, every time we have been to Europe about this sort of time of year it’s been really warm and the a/c has been a life saver. However, aside from some catastrophic leak in the engine bay, the only place the a/c and the heater blower system merge is the evaporator, and that requires the dash off, big job.
It stood to reason that I probably had a hairline crack or pinhole in the evaporator, or a leaking O-ring somewhere. No obvious leaks, and it holds pressure with the engine off, with the engine on (and the a/c compressor compressing) there is a small enough leak to get visible vapour, but it’s not big enough to rapidly drain the system of refrigerant.

The question was, did I have enough time to get the car back from WGT (mapping fixed or not), remove the dashboard, replace the evaporator, refit the dashboard, and get the A/C charged before we leave? I also had another (immobilised) car up for sale that at some point I would need to move, and the dashboard less RX8 would be blocking it in. The Noble needed an MOT, and my trusty diesel Signum did too. In fact the only car that didn’t need some spanner time would be the RX7 which became my daily driver for the short term.
My wife and daughter would not cope well with the heat in Europe, so I decided to try and go for it anyway.


Allan gave me a lift down to WGT the following weekend to collect the car in his lovely Jaguar XJR supercharged V8, not a bad way to get around. The RX8 map hadn’t been tweaked so will have to go back at some point for that, bugger, it’s a 3 hour round trip to collect/drop off.
Once the car was back I performed a number of other tests which made me question whether it was R134A leaking. For a start it sometimes took about 15 mins of driving with the air con on to show itself, which I didn’t think would happen with a crack/hole, it should leak straight away. The ‘smoke’ also cycled, even with the a/c selected fully on (i.e compressor running all the time) it came and went on a rhythmic cycle.
Rather than replace a part, including removing the dashboard when it may be perfectly fine, I opted to have the a/c system drained down and vacuum checked to confirm there is an issue. Got to the garage and a quick look over with a UV torch pointed to a leaking O-ring on the condenser, easy fix, and a pin hole from a stone, not so easily fixed. Time now not being on my side, I left it with them for them to replace the condenser and leak check the a/c system, which appeared to solve the problem, although I have no idea how you get the symptom of misting from the air vents from a slowly degasing a/c condenser. On the plus side though, the dash didn’t need to come off.

I then turned my attention to getting the car ready for the holiday, sohn tank topped up, fuel tank topped up, pre-mix bottles filled, in car DVD for my daughter fitted, tools and things in the boot fitted etc.
One of the last things I did was booked the car in for tracking and alignment again, this time returning it to stock settings, as to not wear the inside edges of the tyres with its normal, more camber track focused setup. I also checked and topped up the tyre pressures so we were all set to go.

The time came and I loaded up the car, the folding buggy and travel cot wouldn’t easily fit in the RX8 with all the other stuff so Allan took that in his Jaguar, everything else fitted in the RX8, and the back seat was left moderately clear also which was good. Daughter was setup in the rear, in her rear facing car seat with a dvd player on the rear headrest, nice and cosy with Peppa Pig in da house.

Over to Preston to rendezvous with the team for breakfast at Huntley’s near Samlesbury, all present and correct, cup of tea, sausage sandwich and we were on our way over to Harrogate. Cars are the Kraken RX8, the Hadouken RX8 (now camo-less), a Jaguar XJR, a Mercedes C50 AMG and a VW Golf Mk4 R32.



At Harrogate it was lunch at the Yorkshire meatball company and then a wander round the lovely town, then onto the M1/M62 to Hull. Managed some entertaining pops, bangs and flames out of the Kraken on the way down, one of them under a motorway bridge which was exceptionally loud, love it.

Checked in for the ferry and joined a typically English queue, it took forever to finally get on the ship but eventually we were called to board. This was my first real concern of the trip, on the 2015 Europe trip the Kraken grounded out badly in Rotterdam and is was difficult to get on the ferry, so I was concerned this would happen this time. Thankfully the ferry we were using on the Hull/Zeebrugge route was a rear loading ferry, which the Kraken managed to make it up the ramps onto the lower car deck without any issues, phew!



Many nautical references, food, beer and wine consumed that evening as we sailed across to the continent. My daughter did really well, staying up much later than her usual bed time without getting too cranky, I took her to the cabin for sleep around 10pm.

Morning comes and it’s off the ship and down onto the roads heading towards Bruges, quick fuel stop and then headed to the central car park in the Bruges centre. We have used this car park in previous years without issue, but we got there a little later in the day than normal to find it full, dammit. Quick drive around to the other car parks but there is a market on in Bruges square and most routes to the car parks seem to go through it, we are navigating on sat nav only without local knowledge of the layout when the market is on, nightmare. The group scatters and finds parking wherever we can, the Merc and the Kraken ending up on street parking, next to machines that only take coin cash, of which we have very little of. We had to return to them later on to put more money on, but decided to get them in the original centre car park as it wasn’t as busy as before, great idea, but the underside of the Kraken scraped on one of the ramps into the underground car park, this upset me greatly.




Regroup in the centre square near the Belfrei for lunch, then it starts raining, we were planning on cycling around the city but not in that weather, onto the beer museum to kill some time. For me, it was a dull ‘lazy ‘museum, they hand you an iPad and headphones and push you into a room with some barcodes to scan, we cut through the majority of it and waited in the bar whilst the rest finished in the exhibit room.



After some shopping it was then load up and hit the road, heading for our hotel stop which is near the Charleroi airport. Meal, beers and general socialising that night, very good.



Next morning it was up and breakfast in the hotel, and then onto the roads south, we stopped on the way at a lovely bar just on the outskirts of Belgium for a ‘decant’ and hydrate before heading into France. Lovely weather made for a pleasant drive down to the WW1 monument in Verdun, completed the tour there and then headed up to the memorial with the grave fields, sobering to visit but a lovely tribute.



After lunch it was then onto our hotel stop in Meisenthal France, traveling through bhé, for a funny sign photo as per usual.

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Hotel was lovely, except it was a Sunday and the bar and restaurant was closed, so we walked the 2 miles into town to visit the only open bar/restaurant. Good night had by all, the group split at one point, half going back for drinks on the veranda, the other half stopping in the bar for more socialising with the locals. Some funny stories made that night. We saw a group of vintage tractors having a bit of a cruise together down the street, maybe they had been to a tractor meet, strange stuff happens in France.




Breakfast, checkout, then over to Stuttgart, Germany. On the way the Kraken, the most fuel inefficient of the group had a fuel emergency and had to pitch off the Autobahn for a fill up. The rest of the group that remained on the Autobahn hit traffic and the other RX8 then needed fuel and a long convoluted trip to a petrol station then started from the next junction, with the Kraken over taking them on the timeline. Team Kraken arrived at Stuttgart’s Wilhelma zoo 90 minutes before everyone else.



Zoo was good, weather again lovely, sunny and hot. Excellent afternoon and saw some good attractions and interesting animals. The Wilhelma zoo is famous for its ape exhibit which was pretty good.




Following the zoo it was across town in terrible traffic to our hotel in downtown Stuttgart, at one point a 70kph road suddenly went 50kph in a bend and then back up to 70kph immediately after it, I didn’t see this transition whilst trying to also navigate and got flashed by a speed camera, dammit. Hotel parking then became an issue yet again and took a good half an hour to resolve, note to self, much more Euro-coinage is required when traveling and its worth paying extra for hotels with dedicated parking. Walk round to a local restaurant for meals and drinks for the evening, very good once again.

Next day, an easy run to the Speyer technic museum, this place I would definitely recommend. In the 2015 trip we went to the sister museum in Sinsheim and it didn’t disappoint, neither did the Speyer one. Saw a Russian Buran space shuttle, had a group selfie on the wing of a 747 150ft up in the air, stood on the fire plate of a huge steam train, went below decks in a submarine and stood on the cargo door of an Antonov.





Then of course, there were the jumping boat kid’s ride which we commandeered for 20 minutes, awesome.



From Speyer, it was up to everyone’s favourite place, the Nurburgring for a 4 night stay in the self-catering accommodation in the Lindner Drees ferienpark which we have stayed at before and know them to be excellent. We generally travel in big groups, and here you can hire two three-bedroom semi-detached houses which have internal doors to open them up to be big single houses, south facing patios and balconies and excellent services. Of course we went via Worms for another comedy sign photo. However, this is the part that didn’t go smoothly.



After a quick refreshment stop at services in Mosel, the group set off, Kraken leading, and after a while it was clear no one was behind us. Phone call later and the Jaguar had a serious problem and limped off the motorway. As we had an 11 month old with us, the group decided that we should press on to the chalets and set them up with the basics for the night and breakfast the following day. A few hours later the other three cars turned up, the Jaguar being still at the roadside.



The rear left wheel bearing had catastrophically failed, European breakdown cover which was in place had been called, but numerous admin errors and miscommunications caused huge delays and issues. Eventually the car was recovered to a UK prestige vehicle ‘specialist’, and the Kraken collected the occupants from Koblenz train station and shuttled them up to the chalets around midnight, knackered.
The next three days were easy going for the most part, we visited Adenau town, some of the Nordschleife spectator points whilst the Porsche driving training academy was on, did some go-kart driving at the GP complex, visited Nurberg castle, the Eiffleburg radio telescope, and generally chilled out, well, most of us did.






Allan and his Mrs had to deal with the dead Jaguar, and the European recovery provider. They were just the first stage in a long line of different language speaking departments and companies that need to get things actioned in order for things to happen, and it should have been out of Allan’s hands, but things did not go that way and he spent nearly an hour each day on the phone to the various companies. Some days he would get conflicting information, some days lies, some days nothing at all, incredibly stressful.

We got some laps in of the Nurburgring GP circuit, and it’s an excellent track to visit and I’d like to go back at some point for a proper full day track day. It was wet, and already being one car down we took it easy, but still enjoyed ourselves, but it was clear that something wasn’t right with the Kraken’s alignment/suspension. On power it would pull to left, on deceleration it would pull to the right, so on hard gear changes the front of the car would dramatically lurch right as you went through the gears, which was pretty unnerving.

Oil pressure, water temperature and oil temperature were all well under control, but gearbox oil temps were well into the 105 degrees after just a few laps on the GP circuit (90 degrees when cruising on the motorway!), a cooler of some description is definitely a consideration for the future. For information, it has Redline MT90 in it, 2 litres of it (1.75 litres is the standard level), and this is the second gearbox which has had high oil temp issues, I’ve mentioned before that I think the RX8 has an undocumented issue with gearbox oil temperatures, possibly due to the engines high rpm’s.

We also did a Nordschleife lap, again in the rain, but after a spillage of someone else’s cars fluids on the track caused ‘Armco face’ for both the Kraken and the Merc (and at least 4 other cars) we backed right out and simply drove round the track at pace, but not ‘on it’. Nice photos captured though none the less. The track was closed by the time we came back in to clean up the surface, we didn’t get back out on it after that.




No trip to the ring is complete without a visit to the Pistonklause for steak, you can leave your messages on the wall, we had one in 2012, which we extended when we returned in 2015, and we extended again with our 2016 visit. Quite a time piece for me, as it had markings of my stag do, the wet the baby’s head trip, and then I was there again, with my daughter.




At the end of our holiday it was time to pack up the chalets and head back, the Jaguar’s status was still unknown at this point, and hire car considerations were as frustrating to organise as the Jags repair was, ultimately we ended up shoe horning Allan and his Mrs, and there stuff, amongst the 4 other cars.

Relaxed drive back to Zeebrugge with a few rest stops here and there, onto the ferry with more concern than before, the car now had more weight in it, and we were being called onto the upper car deck, with an even steeper ramp, but it got up no problem thankfully.
More food and beers that night as we waved goodbye to the continent, on the rear sundeck we met up with a biker chap called Bob who was shuttling his bike back from a Euro road trip after his Mrs had a heart attack and was flown back, top chap and nice to talk to, his Mrs appeared to be recovering well.



Typical English lengthy depart as per normal, with stereotypical French/Belgian queue cutters, McD’s in Hull before heading home to unpack and start depression, gutted.

The Kraken did well, it completed nearly 1200 miles, with wife and 11 month old, and luggage, tools and entertainment, with the only causality being the fuel consumption and the exhaust baffles. It some point my excessive enjoyment of its flames, pops and bangs had caused some baffles to be shaken loose inside the rear box, whoops.
The foot well on the driver’s side, near the clutch foot rest gets hot on long drives with the racing beat manifold, so another consideration for the future would be to heat shield that area (manifold is already wrapped).
Roll on the next trip one.


Once back, the Kraken had its tracking readjusted, this time to 1 degree negative camber at the front and 2 degrees at the rear, which is the minimum it can have with the OEM camber bolts and its current ride height. Ideally I want 1 degree negative all round, so I’ll get some adjustable lateral links and toe arms when they come in stock.

This did not cure its weird handling trait that it picked up, to recap it would drive perfectly fine on normal driving, but hard acceleration it would pull left and hard declaration it would pull right.
The entire suspension and power train was then inspected with deep scrutiny to find a bush, ball joint, wheel bearing, diff mount, subframe mount, or something that was causing this issue, no results found. One thing did play on my mind though, for this trip it had Bridgestone Potenza’s on, RE040’s on the FL, FR, and RL and RE050 on the RR all with similar tread depths and pressures.

I was changing these tyres anyway to some wet weather tyres (Uniroyal Rainsport 3’s) as more track days for our group are being planned in the cooler wetter months so changed them earlier than planned and boom, the problem went away. I have no idea how a slightly different tyre on an axle could cause those symptoms, must be some small variation in sidewall strength or something, very odd, but glad it’s cured.

Following the stone in the air con condenser incident, Lockwood black grills where purchased and fitted. Euro plates where purchased and fitted at the same time, so that ‘GB’ stickers are not needed when it’s on the continent.



And to finish off a shield was made for the engine to keep the water out of the vents when parked, not that I think it requires one. I thought up all sorts of elaborate methods of making an easily removable shield when I had a brain wave. A big sheet of rubber was cut and fitted; it rests on top of the battery box, the air box and the engine cover, and is easily removed when on track, simple.




Rear brake pads were low again, so another set of EBC Red Stuffs were fitted.

The next track day was at Blyton Park in September, this time both the Noble and the Kraken in attendance. I wanted to put the Noble on at least one track day to see its capabilities, and give me some more confidence in pushing it on the road.

It was absolutely howling it down with rain in the morning of the day, standing water and large flooded apexes all over the place. The Noble was on road-spec Michelin Pilot Super Sports and the Kraken was on its Yokohama Neova semi slicks, weather reports up until the day pointed to dry weather hence the selection of the dry tyres.

I was actually driving the Noble all day that day with Allan having the Kraken all day.

The Noble did well, the tyres being very good, much better than expected in putting down the power in those damp conditions. It was my first introduction into the benefits of aero, the faster you went, the more planted it felt. The Kraken also did a lot better than expected, the semi slicks providing quite a lot of grip in the flooded conditions. However spins that day were rife from all the track day attendees, a lot of cars struggling with grip.
Thankfully in the afternoon it stopped raining and dried up a bit allowed more pace to be wound on. The Noble popped a boost pipe off just before the end of the day, so I fixed that and then didn’t bother going out for the last half an hour. The Mazda did well all day with no issues or breakdowns.







Highlighted again though was the gearbox oil temp issue, engine oil didn’t go over the 85 degrees, coolant again steady at 85-90 degrees, gearbox oil temps up to the 115-120 degrees.

Next steps for the Kraken are-
Racing Beat Single Exit exhaust & Racing Beat dual silenced decat & decibel bung for low db days if required.
Gearbox oil cooler and pump in the space previously occupied by the dual exit exhaust
5.375 rear diff and polyurethane diff mounts
Adjustable rear toe control and lateral arms so adjustability lower than 2 degrees negative
Mitsubishi Evo 6 Recaro bucket seats on Corbeau/Recaro hybrid seat rails
4 point harnesses and custom mounting hardware on C-pillars
Replace the fittings for the sight glass on the SOHN tank due to perish/leaking
…and the return of the awesomeness gauge.

Thanks
Matt


Edited by StreetDragster on Sunday 9th July 09:46

darkyoung1000

1,124 posts

120 months

Thursday 6th October 2016
quotequote all
Fantastic stuff, I've really enjoyed reading about the amount of work that's gone into The Kraken (and the other RX8s).
Thanks for writing it all up!
Cheers,
Tom

Al Murphy

247 posts

83 months

Friday 7th October 2016
quotequote all
Yay, jumping boats!! Don’t forget your 1 Euro coins, you’re going to need them at the Sinsheim and Speyer museums.

Boo, broken Jaguar. Stupid broken wheel bearing, but it could have been worse I guess.

I got a couple of blurry camera phone pictures of the French tractors, here’s a jolly French man on his tractor.



A group shot of the cars, minus Hadouken as he got prime parking outside the hotel



When the epically useless breakdown company finally sorted the recovery it was a lovely man from the ADAC who picked us up and took the ‘Yagwar’ to Koblenz for assessment



And when it came home, 7 weeks later thanks to the above mentioned incredibly rubbish service it was a wheel bearing that had collapsed and a man size torque wrench was required to fit a new hub nut upon reassembly.




Al

wc98

4,142 posts

64 months

Friday 7th October 2016
quotequote all
tremendous thread , thanks for posting.my brother had an rx8 for a while, i was very impressed with just how much fun it was to drive. i don't know if you have tried it previously but one method for keeping the headlights looking decent after a cut and polish seems to be lacquering them .has worked so far on an mr2 my father has had refurbed.

StreetDragster

Original Poster:

1,012 posts

142 months

Friday 7th October 2016
quotequote all
Might try that next time, i went for the replacement parts approach in the end.

Thanks

Matt

StreetDragster

Original Poster:

1,012 posts

142 months

Tuesday 7th March
quotequote all
Update time
Sorry about this, this is a big update spanning many months

A long drive down to Snetterton for a day on the 200 circuit occurred in October. Good day, challenging track and pretty decent weather.
The Kraken had no issues and got loads of laps in all day. The only minor point was gearbox oil again; alarm set at 120 degrees meant we sometimes had to come in earlier than we wanted to.
The Hadouken lunched its brake pads, and effectively only went out on track in the morning, emergency trip out to the not-so-local Euro car parts for onsite replacements of the pads was required.
The KaBoom2 had its share of problems, all related to electricity. No signs of anything wrong with the battery but come the morning of the track day it wouldn’t start. Got it off the back of the truck it arrived on and attempted numerous jump starts but the jump leads were not up to the task. In the end a bump start got it going and it was fine all day.
However the truck it came on then had battery issues itself and wouldn’t start, he spent most of the afternoon looking at that and trying to get it running properly. In the end, the Mazda bump started the truck, then the truck was kept running whilst a three person team was required to keep the truck running and revved up, the winch going, and to steer the Boom onto the back. Once loaded, the owner decided it would be a good idea to quit whilst he was ahead and set off on the 5hr return drive at around 3pm.








Once home the Kraken got a light check over with not much found that needed attention but one thing that didn’t work properly was the cars heater; the vents only blow luke warm at the best of times and previous attempts of flushing yielded little blockages. Decided to use an unsafe pressure of air to try and clear it, which worked perfectly.
1) After attempting normal, hose pressure flushing and back flushing directly at the heater matrix, for greater water velocity, I setup a full 30m of hose between the tap and the heater matrix.
2) I filled the entire hose reel and matrix with water. And then disconnected the pipe from the water supply and attached a blow gun to the end of the hose

3) Charged the air compressor to nearly 80psi

4) Used the air to force the water through the matrix
At first, I was using short, sharp bursts of air pressure to get things moving, but by the 6th of 7th flush it was full pressure from the off.
The speed of the water out into the bucket was incredible.
LOADS of rubbish started to come out in each bucket’s worth of purging.
Seemingly instant gasket, flakes of lime scale, some rusty flakes of steel, black paint, red paint, and silver paint, some sort of paper adhesive label, and a couple of 50mm long, 2mm wide slithers of gasket material.


Reassembled the car, started it and leak checked, nothing leaking in the engine bay or the passenger compartment, topped up the coolant and went for a drive.
HEAT!! Lovely, strong, warm, amazing, wonderful HEAT!!
I’m not concerned about the debris, this car has had two engines, two radiators, two water pumps, two thermostats and god knows how many other changes before my ownership, I guess the heater matrix is the most restrictive part of the coolant system and therefore is the one easily clogged.
Nothing else was found other than brake pads, so given that it was a late November track day the wet weather Uniroyal Rainsport 3 tyres were fitted in preparation for Silverstone, and both the front and rear brake pads where replaced. As the rears had now only lasted Snetterton and Blyton I went to higher duty yellowstuffs in both the front and rears this time.

The Hadouken however had some issues. A week or two before the Silverstone event in normal driving the clutch pedal dropped to the floor and gears could not be selected, hydraulics suspected.
John ordered a replacement clutch master and slave cylinder and stripped the car down to install them, at the same time he was replacing a leaking oil filter housing and a few other bits and bobs in the top half of the engine bay.
Replacement clutch master cylinder arrived and it was wrong, leading to a return and a replacement from another supplier being sent out, eating into the timeline.
Many late, cold and dark nights later the car was reassembled and the clutch bled. Spin round the block and it appeared to be fine. However the next morning, no gear selections and clutch to the floor again, this is the Friday before the Sunday Silverstone track day.
8pm Friday I go round with a friend to help John bleed up the clutch again, convinced that a slug of air is causing the problem, sure enough loads of air comes out and the pedal feel and travel is perfect, happy days.
It still won’t go into gear though, and it starts to make some horrendous noises.
PANIC STATIONS.
Couple of options; a last minute garage repair; a last minute DIY repair; or a forfeit of the track day.
Option A was explored and our friendly helpful garage Autocare in Longridge stepped up to the task. We just had to get it there, some 40 miles via country lanes at night. Oh and some parts.
Thankfully I had a number of parts in stock, a half worn clutch on the shelf, a gearbox ready for my oil cooler installation (the noise was that bad we thought the input shaft may be damaged) and some other bits and bobs. It was off to my house to collect my friends trusty diesel Rover 45, towing equipment, the parts, and then back to the Hadouken.
Then the real fun started, the Rover’s tow hook for the rigid towing bar we have was directly behind the fixed tow ball on the rover, so we couldn’t use that and had to revert to a rope. Rope on the Rover and Mazda, Mazda engine running for a/c, power brakes, power steering, wipers, lights etc. After all, it was raining and about 10pm at this point.
Off we go.
Then about 10 mins in, something dragging in the bell housing stalls the engine and it won’t restart, losing all the services. John then had to brake for the car in front without power brakes or steering. Turn the ignition on and off to conserve power in between windscreen wipes, and run without windscreen demisting. Nightmare.
Still we made it.
Next day, they had the box off by 8am, the destroyed release bearing found and replaced and the box back on and ready for pickup by 12pm, excellent service.
John joined us at Allan’s house and we all convoyed down to the Silverstone hotel together with no issues. Meal with the RX8OC which was good and then I got my head down for the night.

Silverstone then didn’t go so well. I had vomited before the kettle clicked off in the morning in the hotel, survived the sighting laps but then still felt awful and importantly, couldn’t concentrate. I handed the keys over to Allan as a race track is no place to have low concentration even if you did pay £200 to be there, climbed into the trusty Rover with the engine idling and the heater on and slept virtually all day, gutted.
Allan had the car all day and was determined to use it, however the day appeared to be oversubscribed, the track was wet and slippy, closed sessions were every other moment and the pit lane entry was heavily biased towards the front garages, not a great day at all.
He did get some track time in though and a session with an instructor in the morning dramatically improved his afternoon. Towards the end of the day he was not being overtaken by anything and passed lots of cars, very good progress.
Set off back and I was still in a bad way, gutted.






At this point it’s worth a bit of a fleet update.
I have leased a Golf R Estate (with DSG) to fulfil the daily driver roles and the Kraken was then free to go into maintenance for winter. I also had some house projects to work on which also needed some space, so the Noble went off to a friend’s garage for the winter.



Into the winter upgrade program, the Sohn tank was drained, the sight glass fittings removed (push fits with clear interconnecting pipe), and the unions blanked off. It’s just not reliable enough, so I fitted a M4 threaded bar into the cap as a dip stick instead. The dip stick, and the low level warning light should give ample monitoring on the levels, albeit not as quickly as a glance at a sight glass, but it should be more oil tight and trustworthy.
At the front end, small changes really, the fog lamps were removed and replaced with ducts, intended to cool the drivers foot well to stop the manifold BBQ’ing the footwell (and subsequently my foot, more on that later), however once done I really wasn’t happy with the pipe route of the air duct around the steering rack, I removed the pipework and blocked off the ducts at the bumper, they are there if I need them I guess.







The clutch master and slave cylinder were replaced to hopefully prevent premature failure, the steering rack knuckle was lubricated, and the engine oil and filter changed. Whilst I had the bleeding tools out I flushed the brake fluid to all corners as well.

The exhaust manifold needed some work. Previously I had fitted a Racing Beat tubular manifold and wrapped it in DEI heat wrap, with the DEI silicone sealer over the top in a hope to increase longevity. Well as I have mentioned before this combination does a great job of heating the clutch footrest and BBQ’ing your foot, something needed to be done and I originally intended to duct in cooling air but that didn’t work as mentioned previously.
Next job was to sort it out properly, step one was get the manifold off, heat wrap removed (which just crumbled off, not impressed, I won’t be using heat wrap again) and send it off to Zircotec for their Performance Motorsport white ceramic coating.
Then onto the tunnel/footwell, grilled seam sealer scraped back and all cleaned up properly with petrol, self-adhesive Cool-It heat barrier applied first to prevent absorption, then over the top some Nimbus Z11 double barrier heat shielding material left over from the Noble, riveted to the structure to ensure no rattles. Hopefully the three changes should keep it all under control and mean I don’t need to drive in a flip flop on the left foot.







Moving back, this is where the more serious stuff started to occur. Firstly a gearbox oil cooling pump was installed, along with a cooling matrix. No room on the RX8 for most of this stuff, so the cooler matrix went to the back on the left hand side, and the pump went on the bulkhead in the rear passenger foot well. A keen design philosophy for most of my mods is to maintain the cars ability to carry 4 people if needed. We have had breakdowns on track days and occupants have had to travel back in other cars, if needed, I wanted this to still be an option as long as possible, albeit maybe in reduced comfort.




This gearbox oil cooler was a big job, much bigger than I expected to be honest. The SPA gauge I have can trigger a relay to kick the pump in via an external alarm output so that’s straight forward enough, and I also have an override switch to manually turn the pump on if I wish. The indicator for pump operation and the override switch were put into the centre dash hood near the awesomeness gauge.



Then to plumbing, -6JIC PTFE pipe fittings used everywhere to complete the circuit, difficult to get all the required angles and bend radii right but not impossible. I decided to mount the bulk of the plumbing on the power girder (which runs under the prop shaft) where possible (rather than the car body) so that I could control the pipe which would see the engine movement, and make that pipe long enough to absorb it. This meant that the power girder had to be removed, pipe clamps and filter mounted welded on, and the shield over the fuel tank relieved to give pipe clearance on the LHS of the girder.




Then the actual gearbox, I bought a spare gearbox and took the tail casing off to assess where I can put the pipe take offs, drain and fill ports, and the sender for the gearbox oil temp gauge. Not a lot of internal space to be honest, and all the casing webs and curves make for difficult positioning. As a side note, there is a clear route from the gear selector to the sump of the gearbox, so you can fill with oil from the cabin if you wish without any issues.
I decided to use the OEM drain and fill points (M18x1.5) as pipe take offs for the oil cooler, and then put the drain, fill and sensor ports in the tail case in raised bosses tig welded on. Reason for this is raised bosses don’t impinge on the internal workings of the gearbox, and there is a bulkhead between the fluid moving the in/out to the pump and the sensor, hopefully dampening any abrupt temperature changes when the pump kicks in and preventing the pump from cycling on/off as cool oil is returned immediately from the cooler when initially turned on. The triggering output from the gauge is a simple one which rises/falls at the same temperature.
All that done, it was gearbox off, tail casing swap onto the original gearbox, check the clutch condition, weld some harness anchors into the tunnel, and then refit the gearbox.






Moving to the rear, two more of the control arms (the rear lateral arms and the lower trailing arms, I have already done the toe control arms) on each side were replaced for adjustable Japspeed items (only 2 left OEM now) in a hope to get back to ~1 degree of negative camber all round with the lower ride height. Turns out the Japspeed arms are set at very near OEM length on their minimum setting, probably aimed at the drifting crew who want a lot more negative camber. I changed the lock nuts to half lock nuts to gain a degree or so of adjustment to shorter than OEM if required.



I’m not impressed with the lower trailing arms, which have the anti-roll bar mounts on. There is an intermediate turn buckle, with a metal bracket sandwiched between the nut and the body of the arm to lock it, which you attach your anti roll bar to. I couldn’t get enough torque on the nut to stop the bracket rotating when lifting one wheel with a jack, I have no confidence that it can handle a 1300kg car doing 100mph round a corner and I feel I effectively have no anti roll bar at the rear now. I will get the cars suspension aligned and then I think I will weld the bracket directly to the control arm’s large diameter body, although this will mean that if I end up needing to adjust that section of arm, it’ll have to be in 360 degree stages, should be fine as there is plenty of adjustment in the other section of arm and its attached by an eccentric bolt.



The rear diff was removed, and one which had been fully overhauled and rebuilt (by WGT) with 5.385 crown and pinion (stock 231 RX8 is 4.444, the RX8 R3 one fitted previously was 4.777, this is 5.385 and my friend John has a 5.800 one in the Hadouken) and Powerflex purple diff mounts were installed. Should make better use of the available torque/ revs and increase acceleration at the expense of top speed which I don’t need/use.



The none-resonated decat was replaced with a Racing Beat dual silenced 3” decat pipe, and the Racing Beat single tailpipe 3” race exhaust was attached to that replacing the Sebring exhaust. Should pass all sound tests on all tracks, be lighter, give room for my oil cooler matrix and still spit out nice flames. As a side note, a lot of bolts were found to be not up to torque on disassembly, the girder nuts, some gearbox to engine bolts, and two of the prop shaft heat shield bolts were missing altogether. If you run your RX8 as a track car I would recommend turning a torque wrench on these bolts every fourth track day or something to confirm vibrations haven’t loosened them off.

With the deletion of one tailpipe there was now room in the exhaust box bay, so I cut the dummy mesh on the lower left hand rear valance of the bumper, trimmed the rear metal work on the car and welded up bracketry to permit a 9 row, 235mm APS oil cooler to be fitted there. In the exhaust bay I relieved the exhaust box heat shield to permit air to flow into the matrix from under the car. The combination of the large increase in oil capacity (stock oil capacity for the gearbox is 1.75 litres) from the cooler and 6m of oil lines on the car and the wide oil cooler in the airflow should now keep gearbox temps under control, if that is not enough a duct will be added to scoop more air up into the cooler matrix. I've also moved from Redline MT90 to Royal Purple Max Gear 75w90, based on a chap talking me round at the 2017 Autosport show, see if it makes any difference.







Cosmetically I replaced the rear right hand tail light and bashed the body ding out a little bit where I brushed a lamp post when parking.




In the car’s interior, the major changes were to the seats; however nothing is easy on an RX8. For a start I wanted to retain the forward/back sliders on the seats, and the floor pan is all lumps and bumps, so an expensive set of floor brackets and sliders had to be sourced from Corbeau in the USA.
The intention was then to fit on some spare Mitsubishi Evo VI Recaro reclining sports seats which Allan had left over from his Focus project. The seats however are also weird sizes underneath and not compatible with the Corbeau brackets, so the Focus Recaro sliders were grafted onto the Corbeau brackets and trial fitted.
They didn’t fit, the seat was over to the right when compared to the steering wheel, the wing on the seat interfered with the B-pillar when the rear door was shut, and the seat base sat higher than OEM giving even less helmet clearance.
Back to the work bench, seat rails adjusted to be right up against the centre console, and as low are possible. The seat install will be attempted at a later date.
Then onto the harnesses, as mentioned previously I want the car to retain its ability to move 4 people around if needed, this presented some challenges when trying to fit Allan’s TRS clip on 4-point 3” harnesses again left over from the Focus project and keeping all the angles correct as per the MSA blue book.
The floor mounts where not too bad, the sill OEM position could be used, and a spreader plate could be used on the inboard position which was welded in with the gearbox removed as mentioned previously, but the shoulder straps were a different kettle of fish.



The rear seat vertical cushions bolted in, only by two bolts admittedly but that’s more hassle to setup the car prior to every track day and four seat cushions to store whilst out on track. Fine with a garage, not so fine if you’re outside and it’s raining.
All the trim pieces were removed around the rear parcel shelf area and surveyed, the plan was to re-inforce the shelf between the C-pillars with 3mm mild steel, weld in harness points with spreader plates, and utilise all the stiff points of the structure, the internal webs and the webs around the ISOFIX points in the factory box section shelf/strut brace.
Out comes the rear window for access, the interior is stripped for access; steel plate formed to fit the shelf, and welded onto the OEM box section/strut brace.
Once done all the OEM plastics could be made to fit too which was a nice touch, the harnesses could clip on/off to the harness eyelets and comfortably reached the front seats.





Only thing needed to be done then was to remove the headrest off the rear cushions, I contemplated doing this DIY style because ‘it’s only a track car’, but given all the other plastics had been retained I’m going to make sure effort and get them professionally modified instead, should look good whilst being functional, nice. Just need to solve the front seat issues now before the harnesses can be utilised.



Interior rebuilt, hand held fire extinguisher refitted, some track decals fitted, suspension alignment and a MOT and that’s about it for winter upgrade 2016/2017. Roll on the track day season.

On the calendar for the UK we have Blyton Park outer in March as a shakedown primarily; Rockingham booked in May on the International Super Sports car circuit which includes the banked number one corner, and the Brands Hatch Indy day in December with the RX8OC. The main trip of the year though is we have booked to go with Book-A-Track on their Iberia trip Jerez in Spain, Estoril and Portimao in Portugal, can’t wait.
I want to get Mallory Park and Anglesey in there somewhere as well.



Thanks

Matt


Edited by StreetDragster on Sunday 9th July 10:02

BrettMRC

745 posts

84 months

Wednesday 8th March
quotequote all
A world class thread - great updates and write up smile

StreetDragster

Original Poster:

1,012 posts

142 months

Wednesday 8th March
quotequote all
High praise indeed, thanks very much

Matt

H20DJY

154 posts

17 months

Thursday 9th March
quotequote all
Great thread and car, always liked these! Weird thing to spot maybe, but Corbeau are in the UK, not USA, just in case you had ordered from a USA seller when you didn't need to! Maybe useful info for next time.

StreetDragster

Original Poster:

1,012 posts

142 months

Thursday 9th March
quotequote all
Yep I actually ordered from the Corbeau UK, but they were supplied by Corbeau USA and I had to state I was happy to except the risk that the USA car rails may not fit the UK cars.

Dunno, weird

Thanks
Matt

Bdevo3

407 posts

13 months

Thursday 9th March
quotequote all
excellent thread. very enjoyable read although I best get back and do some work. keep up the good work

Mark Benson

4,561 posts

193 months

Thursday 9th March
quotequote all
BrettMRC said:
A world class thread - great updates and write up smile
I agree, great to read this kind of ownership thread, it's what makes PH for me.