Makoto Watanabe might not be a familiar name to Aussie drag racing fans, but come August 27 and the Just Car Insurance Brisbane Jamboree presented by Garrett, Japan’s fastest rotary pilot is one you’re not likely to forget.
With a twin-rotor RX-7 that packs a mid-seven-second punch, Watanabe-san, a previous visitor to Brisbane Jamboree, is looking forward to mixing it up with his Australian competition on a quality racing surface.
“Jamboree Brisbane is very fun,” he said. “Participation in drag racing here in Japan is very hard because we can only race on airstrips. Sendai Highlands drag strip closed more than two years ago and the grip at Fuji Speedway is poor. We will test in Australia before Jamboree to ensure the car is set up correctly and ready to race.”
Watanabe-san said the team were currently making some alterations to the Mazda in order to meet Australian safety and category regulations including the height of the exhaust, adding a transmission scatter shield and converting the paddle-shifter on the Lenco CS-3 gearbox to a v-gate setup.
Engine-wise, the RX-7 runs a methanol-fuelled 13B that is fed boost by a Garrett GT-4718R turbocharger and controlled by an Australian MoTeC M800 ECU.
The team’s personal best to date is 7.6sec at 290km/h (181mph), but they hope to improve that time to a 7.5 or quicker come the Jamboree.