We ventured to Rad Industries in Santa Ana, California, to feature local driver Aaron Parker! Parker, a southern California native from Quartz Hill, West Antelope Valley, has been building his E85 13B-REW powered 1993 Mazda RX-7 for about four years straight. This is his second build, the first being a ’95 Integra GSR turbo. He was introduced to drifting by his childhood friends and fell in love with the cars and style of the sport. He purchased his FD about five years ago. It was not long before the first engine failure in the canyons, he recalled, “So I started collecting parts, doing a whole bunch of research, taking advice from people I trusted, blew a bunch of motors, and eventually got the car to where it is today.”
One of the best things about drifting is learning about the people behind the wheel, because everyone is truly unique and has an interesting background that is, in my opinion, oftentimes unexpected. Parker grew up in a foster home and has five younger adopted brothers and sisters and two older biological sisters, whom he claims to have “learned worlds from.” In addition to his siblings, he attributes the way his character is shaped to his close knit group of friends that he has known since kindergarten, as well as several people from the motorsport industry, such as Dan Burkett from Rad Industries, Abel Ibarra from Flaco Racing, Elliot White from Turblown/TurboSource, Andy Wyatt from Adaptronic, and Julian Austin from Aftermarket Industries. I have to admit, Parker is easily one of the most positive and enthusiastic people I have ever met in drifting.
As far as career goes, he played semi-professional soccer for two years, began teaching as a high school teacher at age 26, and runs the varsity and JV soccer program at Quartz Hill High School. When asked about being the “young” teacher, he described his first approach as being the “relaxed” teacher, but found that it did not work, “So I was the guy where you’d walk in the classroom and everyone’s reading or doing their work quietly, ..dead silent, because…you couldn’t get work done and it would distract the kids who wanted to be there.” He prefers coaching soccer over teaching because he can be himself, versus how he needed to act in the classroom. Parker has recently picked up a new job that will take him out of the teaching arena entirely, but into a realm that fits his style much more.
His RX-7 is on Stance XR’s, using Swift Springs 8 (front) and 6 (rear). Parker runs whatever tires he can, but he loves Feddies. The wheels he is currently running, Weds Kranze Bazreia, are one of his favorites, measuring are 18×9.5 -9 up front and 18×11 -2 in the rear. He uses stackable spacers from PBM, which he feels “every person should have a set of these because you can always get things fitting prime.” Parker actually had to shave down the “Mazda” logo on the front calipers L/R to get these giant wheels to fit.
There are a lot of little details that help bring the car together, including my favorite aspect, the hot pink roll cage. He has a Powered by Max shift knob, an OMP 330mm steering wheel, and a Race Technologies dash Two to display all the information from the Adaptronic 440 Ecu for him. Adding to the character of the car, Parker also has a set of Craft Square mirrors off of a Honda CRX, which he bought because they were half the price of the same mirrors specifically made for the RX-7.
The street ported motor has been built by Parker’s mentor Abel Ibarra, whom he describes as “an O.G. Mazda enthusiast.” We know what you are thinking… and yes, this is the same Abel Ibarra who was a prominent competitor in the NHRA Sport Compact Series in the early 2000s and ran a 6.794 @209.95 MPH with his 1700WHP 20B Mazda drag car. The turbo system is from Turblown/TurboSource featuring an externally gated Borg Warner EFR 8374 on a divided Turblown turbo manifold that utilizes dual Turbo Smart comp gate 40’s which vent to the atmosphere out of two bozo-style dump tubes. The Inconel heat shield is made in house at TurboSource as well. To help keep things cool on the track, Parker used the same core for the radiator AND his intercooler. Inconcel just made different end tanks (one for charge air and one for coolant/water) and partitioned the radiator to make it a dual pass. He places a lot of importance on keeping his car cool.
“My goal was to be out on the track beating on the car when everyone else has to come in because their cars were…running hot or overheating, and I think I’ve accomplished that pretty much,” Parker said.
Rad Industries will be reworking his bash bar, redoing the intercooler and radiator position configuration to push it forward about two inches, fabbing up new charge piping and making a new exhaust tip.
“This first driving season really taught me a lot in regards to set up and maintenance,” Parker said. “If I want to be serious about this…part of that is to continuously improve the car so that when track day comes… I can focus on driving and not so much about keeping it running or breaking this and that.” This is also why he decided to seek the help of a real fab shop and take the car out of his garage for solid work.
“I pride myself on the fact that I’ve built this car in my garage on my own,…but there’s only so much you can do when you get to a certain point, and I don’t have the resources to give the car the fabrication it deserves,” Parker said. “Everything I do to the car is to improve it in one way or another and with Dan Burkett’s help at Rad Industries…the new Heat exchanger set up should help accomplish that.”
Amazingly, all the ducting work you see above is going into the garbage bin and Parker will be making all new ducting for the new radiator/intercooler positions.
“Nothing will fit once everything is moved a couple inches forward, the new duct work will work well,” he said. Additionally, this car is about to undergo a large face lift as well with all new aero and a full paint job on the schedule, the next time you see it, it will be nice and glossy.
Parker’s RX-7 has two 28-row Mocal oil coolers with ducting and a 10” fan on each cooler controlled by a manual switch. One of his newest and first full time sponsors, Fueled by AI (Aftermarket Industries), will be sending him a fuel system (a brand new surge tank set up, the SP800, which features two in-surge tank pumps, all E85 compatible Earls lines and AN fittings) to keep “things even more robust and problem free.”
“FDs have a problem with fuel slosh and pump starvation…this new surge system will completely eliminate that,” Parker said.
The ECU is an Adaptronic 440, which he has told us saved his engine more than a few times.
“Like I said, doing that first and second gear burner at the pre-ASB event, …I lost all oil pressure and dumped, like, four quarts of oil in the matter of seconds,” he said. “The car immediately wouldn’t rev out and it started backfiring…dumping fuel but not going anywhere…of course I’m still on the gas, still trying to go, go, go and rev’s wouldn’t go over 1,800 RPM. Come to find out the oil pressure safety parameter saw low oil pressure and immediately limited my revs…which saved my engine because there wasn’t any oil left in it. Thanks to that feature on the Adaptronic 440, I was able to reuse my engine internals, [in the rebuild].”
The RX-7 currently makes about 480 WHP at 18PSI. Parker’s turbo mentor, Elliot from TurboSource/Turblown, and Abel Ibarra want him to do a couple 30 PSI pulls on the dyno coming up here in the next few weeks. However, this is just to see what “The Wolf” can do. Parker has no intention of actually running the car like that because it would be overkill. He also has an on/off switch for his electronic boost control, so when the switch is on, he is running 18 pounds, when it is off he is at 14 pounds. Parker is well prepared.
“Dual EGT’s, they’re logged, fuel pressure’s logged, battery voltage is logged, oil pressure and temp…they’re all logged,” he said. “I also have a flex fuel sensor, which is wired into my Adaptronic. It’s there to keep track of what percentage the ethanol content is, the ECU adjusts my map based on what ethanol content is in the tank. You could get a bad gas station, and luckily I haven’t had any bad luck. But even if I do, the sensor picks it up and the ECU takes care of it.”
Parker would like to thank what he calls his “All Star Team of Mentors”: Elliot White, Abel Ibarra, Andy Wyatt, and Julian Austin for all they have done for him, as well as the friendship they have shown and the never ending support even when times were looking down. His longtime girlfriend, Monique, for understanding his love for drifting and building. His age old friend, Micki Frial, for the the best advice and driving instruction he could wish for as well as all the help and support he has unquestionably offered. The QHHS Boys Soccer team for coming out to events at Willow Springs International Raceway. Parker’s family for coming out and being there for him on and off the track, and his cousin Brian for always believing in him and being such an inspiration to him. And lastly, his father, who has passed away, but inspired his love for cars and literally left Parker all his tools, which he used to build “The Wolf.”
Keep an eye out for Parker in either the Just Drift Pro-Am series and/or Street class, as well as annual driving events such as: Micki Frials Thunder on the Lot event, All Star Bash 2015, Toy Drift 1 and 2, and Winter Jam! If you would like to know more about Aaron and his RX-7, check out his ongoing build thread on RX7Club.com here. You can also check him out on Instagram @AAPARKAH.