LIAM SYKES FC
“The FC is so much easier to drive and to put where you want it”
Demon Energy D1NZ Pro-Sport driver Liam Sykes is amid his rookie year in the national championship. He is no stranger to the sport, although he honed his craft in a more laid-back environment and behind the wheel of something a little less powerful than his FC RX-7.
So heading into his debut season, the team decided to step it up with the purchase of a battle-hardened ex-D1NZ FC RX-7 chassis originally built and campaigned by Matt ‘Chuckie’ Jackson.
The purchase of the RX actually came about as a joke between mates. Liam explained, “My best mate sent me the link for the FC and said he wanted to buy it, so I told him I was going to.” It’s surprising no blood was shed when Liam ended up with the rolling body. The 13B was long gone, and he wasn’t going to go back there after previous bad experiences, so he eventually decided on a 1JZ-GTE backed by a Tremec T56, Quarter Master triple-plate, and OS Giken LSD.
The 1JZ isn’t heavily modified internally, although it was rebuilt by Daryl at Efi and Turbo with ACL race bearings, ARP studs, and Cometic gaskets. The boost party consists of a Master Power R596 turbo with a .68 exhaust housing, TiAL 44mm wastegate, and unmuffled three-inch exhaust. There is also anti-lag ready to go, but as he is yet to test and learn to drive with this, it hasn’t been used in competition. Tuned by Daryl, the 1J makes 343kW and 550Nm, which is a huge step up from Liam’s previous SR20 set-up, though it’s proving just as reliable thus far.
Luckily for the team, the chassis came somewhat dialled in from its time with Chuckie, who has plenty of drift car set up experience. Suspension-wise, the car runs Bilspeer knuckles, a Mazdatrix super angle kit, Super Now toe arms, extended lower arms, MMR solid bushes, and Mazdatrix rear camber links. The difference between stepping from the KE to the FC has been huge for not only Liam as a driver, but also the pit crew. The fact both cars use a similarly short wheelbase has made the transition smooth — but the two chassis capabilities are worlds apart. “The FC is so much easier to drive and to put where you want it, the KE would be fighting you the entire time. The hardest adjustment has actually been chasing in the smoke — it’s taking some time to get used to that.”