Fink\'s Ultimate Street Car Challenge entry form says it all: "Weight, horsepower, weight, styling, weight, handling, weight, engineering." Fink is the president of Advanced Engineering, Inc. in Media, Penn., where lighter is, apparently, better. AEI is responsible for the extremely light, extremely powerful car on these pages.
One look at the Laminar Concepts Viking SRX-7 and it\'s clear its creators are serious about their mission: To build a very loosely based Lotus Seven replica capable of winning every contest of automotive performance. To do so, they use a less-is-more philosophy, which makes the late Colin Chapman look like a conservative ninny by comparison.
Let\'s put the SRX-7 in perspective. Fink claims it weighs 1,710 lbs and packs 450 or so horsepower. If true, those figures put the SRX-7 worlds away from virtually any other street car and only a notch or two down from a Champ car in the power-to-weight department. Even with a 20 percent BS factor, those numbers are serious enough to make Chapman soil his knickers and give this two-seater a real shot at winning every performance test in the USCC.
The SRX-7 is constructed of 4130 tubing and covered in structural composite bodywork, so it does have some similarities to the original Lotus Super Seven. However, the likeness ends there. Power comes from a remanufactured and internally stock Mazda 13B rotary, which has all the right parts to make the claimed power figure. A single-turbo conversion using a custom-built, equal-length stainless-steel turbo header feeds the Turbonetics T04B 60-1 turbocharger. An HKS wastegate, 3-inch exhaust, high-flow catalytic converter and twin Walker Dynomax mufflers complete the exhaust system.
On the cold side of the turbo there\'s an air-to-air intercooler, which is force-fed cool air by a large hood scoop and extensive composite ducting. The stock intake manifold is Extrude Honed for better flow and the throttle body is ported. There are two stock RX-7 fuel pumps drawing fuel from the 10-gallon Fuel Safe fuel cell. Fuel is fed through -6 lines to the 550 cc/min stock injectors and an additional 1600 cc/min secondary injector. An A\'PEXi Power FC stand-alone ECU controls all engine parameters except boost, which is handled by A\'PEXi\'s AVC-R.
The rear suspension started life as a complex multi-link, semi-trailing-arm type from a second-generation RX-7, but has been heavily modified. All rubber bushings are replaced with spherical bearings. The geometry is changed, allowing for a modified roll center, as well as adjustable camber and toe. The front suspension consists of custom-built upper and lower control arms. Damping is handled by triple-adjustable Penske shocks at all four corners. And the SRX-7 rolls on the stickiest street tire known to man-the Hoosier R3S03, measuring 245/35ZR-18 in front and a staggering 275/35ZR-18 in the rear. Brakes are equally serious. Since the SRX-7 is essentially a designed-from-the-ground-up package, Fink uses a Wilwood pedal assembly with a Tilton master cylinder. Four-piston Wilwood Superlite calipers and 11.75-inch rotors make up the front brake hardware, while stock second-generation RX-7 calipers and 10.5-inch calipers are used in the rear.
On paper, the Laminar Concepts Viking SRX-7 has all the right goods to be a serious contender for the "Ultimate" title. Weaknesses? Well, history tells us that turbo rotaries are extremely sensitive to poor tuning and heat, and then there\'s the unknown issues that arise with any homebrew special like the SRX-7. Fact is, history hasn\'t been very kind to men like Jerry Fink who have the balls to build their own car. Anyone remember Jerry Weigert\'s Vector? DeLorean\'s DeLorean? Bricklin\'s Bricklin? At least Fink has physics firmly on his side. Tune in next month to see if this unique machine has what it takes.
LAMINAR CONCEPTS VIKING SRX-7
Engine Code: 13B
Type: Turbocharged and intercooled, two-rotor wankel
Internal Modifications: None
External Modifications: Single turbo conversion with custom stainless-steel header and Turbonetics T04B 60-1 turbocharger, HKS wastegate, 3-inch exhaust with high-flow catalytic converter and twin Dynomax mufflers, upgraded intercooler, Extrude Honed intake manifold, ported throttle body
Engine Management Modifications: A\'pexi AVC-R boost controller, A\'pexi Power FC ECU, two RX-7 fuel pumps, 1600 cc/min additional injector, Essex fuel pressure regulator
Layout: Front/mid engine, rear-wheel drive
Drivetrain Modifications: Centerforce clutch, aluminum flywheel
Front: Penske three-way adjustable coil-overs on custom upper and lower control arms
Rear: Penske three-way adjustable coil-overs on modified second-gen. RX-7 multi-link/trailing arm combo
Front: 11.75-in. cross-drilled rotors, Wilwood Superlite four-piston calipers, Hawk pads, braided stainless steel lines
Rear: 10.5-in cross-drilled rotors, single-piston sliding RX-7 calipers, Hawk pads, braided stainless steel lines external
Wheels: BBS RK 18x8.5-in. front, 18x10-in. rear
Tires: Hoosier R3S03, 245/35ZR-18 front, 275/35ZR-18 rear