New GT Cars for the IMSA 2017 WeatherTech Sports Car Championship
The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship is underway! Rolex 24 at Daytona qualifying just wrapped up today. We will be seeing some new cars in both GT Daytona and GT Le Mans classes for the race.
2017 should be another exciting year for Canadian car enthusiasts. One reason being that cars manufactured in 2002 are now eligible for import!
Canadian vehicle import regulations allow cars manufactured over 15 years ago to be brought into the country. This means we will have access to cars produced in 2002 that were sold as either 2002 or 2003 models.
We are lucky to see cars like the Skyline GTR (R32-R34), Impreza STI (GC8), Lancer Evo (I-VII) and Lancia Delta Integrale EVO on the road. Our American neighbours still have to wait 25 years until they can import cars from 1992!
Two guidelines for my selections this year:
The car must not have been available on the Canadian market.
Either be a new generation or a special edition not previously eligible for import
Now time for the list:
1. Mazda RX-7 Spirit R
This one hit me hard. 2002 was the end of the road for the FD3S Mazda RX-7, a lightweight RWD sportscar powered by an unique twin-turbocharged 1.3L rotary engine.
Mazda decided to send the legendary JDM icon in style by introducing the RX-7 Spirit R. The motor was left alone with the 276hp gentlemen’s agreement still in place.
Focusing on the chassis, Mazda installed stiffer springs with matching Bilstein shocks. The exterior and interior were also upgraded, highlighted by an adjustable rear wing. A gorgeous set of staggered forged BBS wheels with sticky tires matches the aggressive styling.
Production of the Spirit R was limited to only 1,504 cars split between three variants:
Type A: 2 seater, 5-speed manual, over 1,000 made
Type B: 2+2 seater, 5-speed manual
Type C: 2+2 seater, 5-speed automatic (why Mazda!?!?)
If I could pick one JDM legend, the Spirit R would be the one sitting in my garage for the rest of my life.
Road & Track did a feature on the only factory LHD RX7 Spirit R in the world which was built for a Mazda North America executive. What does a guy have to do to get a freaking custom built Spirit R around here???