Long-time Mazda autocrosser and more recently ChampCar road racer Brian Johns set his sights on a different series this year, Optima’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car. The 1993 Mazda RX-7 he pilots had been used primarily as an autocross car for years but sat idle for the last four. “Tinkerbell” – as the car is named – has a two rotor powerplant with a single turbo conversion making right around 500hp. With improvements to Mazda’s already excellent suspension and provisions allowing for 315/30-18 tires on all four corners, Johns decided he had the perfect platform for the series.
In the offseason he began making improvements to the car to compete in the Optima sponsored series that allows tagged and insured street cars to compete for the coveted title of “The Ultimate Street Car.” The series is broken down into six classes, with something to offer for nearly everyone. The RX-7 that Johns competes in is classified in the GTC class, which is geared towards cars that are naturally aspirated or forced induction 4 cylinder or 2 rotary engines, FWD or RWD, front engine mount with max 107” wheelbase. All vehicles in this class must weigh, at a minimum, 95% of the factory published curb weight.