Racing Beat - A History Of Racing Experience
Racing Beat's founding duo, Jim Mederer and Takayuki Oku, began modifying and building rotary engines for racing applications back in 1972. An odd pairing of an American automotive engineer meeting up with a Japanese racer brought these two unlikely partners together. Together, many early successes came while building engines for dirt track midget cars, IMSA RS class RX-2's , Car and Driver Magazine's Bonneville RX-4, and Racing Beat's RX-3 NHRA drag car.
Needing a way to finance these projects, newly formed Racing Beat developed and offered a new line of rotary engine performance products. Not all engine development projects were racing applications, some of the more interesting projects over the next few years included a mechanically supercharged rotary engine, a single-rotor experimental engine for NASA, a 4-rotor prototype racing engine, a turbocharged self-contained industrial engine for seismic drilling, and a government-sponsored 1000HP aircraft engine for use in short airstrip takeoffs.
Racing Beat built several RX-7s for land speed record attempts both at El Mirage Dry Lake Bed in CA, and the Bonneville Speedway in Utah, Nevada. Three different Racing Beat RX-7s set new land speed records over a 25-year span. An ill-fated attempt in 1993 resulted in a harrowing airborne ride for car designer/driver Jim Mederer at speeds approaching 220mph! The car was repaired and in 1995 returned to the salt flats and established a new land speed record of 242.005 MPH. As a testament to the extraordinary accomplishments of the Racing Beat RX-7 race vehicles, these land speed records have not been broken in over 30+ years!
While going fast in a straight line was a thrill, road racing was Jim Mederer's true passion. Racing Beat-built RX-7s dominated the 1980 IMSA GTU season, winning 8-of-12 races and capturing the class championship. Returning to run only endurance races in 1983, the Racing Beat RX-7 won GTO class events at the 24-Hours of Daytona and at the Mosport 6-Hour Endurance race.
In the 1990's, Racing Beat concentrated their efforts on developing racing and performance products for the newly introduced Miata. Racing Beat's Miata was featured in Motor Trend Magazine and established several new handling records, all with Racing Beat's bolt-on performance parts! In 2000 Racing Beat was invited to join Car and Driver Magazine for a tuner show-off, which highlighted our high-developed 1999 Miata. This project then led to a similar feature article with now-defunct Sport Compact Car Magazine; where the Racing Beat Miata set an all-time skid pad record of 1.1g during testing.
In 2008 Racing Beat was selected by Mazda USA to build and test a 20B 3-rotor engine for use in Mazda's futuristic Furai concept vehicle. This concept car thrilled journalists and legions of web viewers with its display of impressive looks and exotic rotary sounds. Sadly, the Furai's demise came during the filming of Top Gear when it caught fire and was destroyed.
The 2000's continued an era of developmental work with continued involvement with the Miata MX-5 platform and newly introduced RX-8 vehicle application. By now Racing Beat was in full production mode with new products also being introduced for the Mazda/Racing Beat co-branded Protege MP3, Mazda3 and Mazda6 vehicle applications. A decision was made to sponsor multi-year National Solo Champion Jeff Kiesel in the 2011 KFR/Goodyear Tire/Racing Beat Rotary Turbo Sprite in the SCCA Pro Solo class.
The 2010's continued with further advancement in R&D and manufacturing. Racing Beat worked again with Mazda USA to develop and produce the exhaust systems on two SEMA-bound CX-5 show cars. This project was the starting point for a line of Racing Beat exhaust systems for both the Mazda3 and CX-5 Skyactiv applications. In 2013 Racing Beat installed a Renesis rotary engine and transmission into a MOTEC-sponsored rotary-pickup project vehicle. Fitted with the latest engine management system and components from MOTEC and a fully-customized exhaust system by Racing Beat, this 70's era classic received a stunning classic upgrade!
Next, Racing Beat partnered with Mazda USA on the development of exhaust systems of three all-new 2014 Mazda 6 and Mazda 3 vehicles bound for the Las Vegas SEMA show. In 2015 Racing Beat teamed up with Mazda USA and the University of California-Irvine (UCI) Advanced Power and Energy Program on a joint project to develop a Distributive Generation/Combined Heat and Power (DG/CHP) system, essentially a small natural gas powered Renesis rotary-engine generator system with waste heat recovery benefits.
During the challenges of the COVID years Racing Beat held steady and focused on their core business, the manufacture and production of an extensive line of products for a wide variety of Mazda applications. A sigficant surge in interest for performance parts during this period, combined with supply chain issues and rising costs, added to the challenges. In 2021, Racing Beat conquered a new milestone and proudly entered their 50th year of business!
We invite you to review our photo gallery for an overview of our various racing endeavors and project vehicles.