As I have never been around Gene in person, I have talked to him a few times over the internet, and he is always willing to answer questions and share his knowledge.
I was super stoked for these answers because I personally am in love with the Wankel engine!
Here are the following questions I have asked Eugene followed by his answers and pictures of his cars!
Full Name: Eugene Herbig
Where You Live: Flint, Michigan
A Little Bit About You(How you got into cars) Like many, I was born into cars whether it was my dad, uncles, grandpa or any of their friends I always remember being around cars in one way or another. If it was loud and fast, we were there. My grandparents actually met at a street race, and the rest was history lol.
Q: Current Car(Make, Model, Year)
A: Well, currently my race car is a 1985 RX7 gsl IT7 race car, I also have an 88 RX7 10th anniversary an 89 RX7 that I am building as an unlimited RWD Time Attack machine and a 93 RX7 Touring as a street car then of course my daily driver a 2016 GMC Sierra
Q: Previous Cars(Make, Model, Year)
A: 1987 Mazda RX7 Turbo II, 2013 GMC Sierra, 2006 Chrysler 300C, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja zx6r, 2007 Saab 9-3 Aero, 2001 Acura Integra gsr, 1989 Chevrolet S10.
Q: Favorite Owned Car
A: By far the FD RX7
Q: Dream Car
A: Again, the FD RX7. I tell the story so much I’m sure people are sick of hearing it haha. I remember the day I saw an advertisement for the car, I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old I didn’t even know what it was I just knew I had to have it. So I promised myself I would have one some day. Signing the title was a very bittersweet moment for me
Q: What form of racing do you do?
A: I catch the occasional autocross now and then to have some fun with friends, other than that I primarily stick to Time Trials and Time Attack or I can almost always be found at open track days happy to assist with instruction if they are short handed. Wheel to wheel racing has and always will be my true passion but it requires much more dedication than I can give anymore at this stage in life.
Q: Do You Race For A Team? If yes, What Team?
A: There is always talk among friends of forming a new team. But through every past experience I’ve had, once you legitimize something it takes the fun out of it. We have found that happy medium and I couldn’t ask for more
Q: How Did You Get Into Your Current Form of Racing?
A: I suppose it all started when a friend invited me to an autocross when I was 16 years old. It opened my eyes to a whole new world, before that I was heavy into drag racing.
Q: What Is The Suspension Setup on Your Car Currently?
A: The car was carried over from Spec7 to IT7 so it is still currently riding on Tokico Blue struts, TMC springs, sustec sway bars, and full poly bushings along with some oldschool tuning tricks from an RX7 mystic in a land far far away.
Q: What are your current power-train specifications?
A: Internally stock 12a engine as allowed, with a webber side draft carb, an RB race header into a custom exhaust built with the help of two great friends Evan and Scott. It is also running msd coils and an OMP delete for premix.
Q: What are your current drive-train specifications?
A: More RX7 wizardry using some parts from a GSL-SE, an exedy stage 1 clutch and a rotary shack short shifter.
Q: What is your current wheel/tire setup? Do you race on this setup? If no, what do you use?
A: 13×8 Diamond racing wheels and Toyo RA1 tires, this is the cars only setup per Spec7 rules. If I still own it by next season, it will be riding on Hoosiers.
Q: Do you drive this car on a daily basis?
Q: Are you part of any car clubs?(Aside from the team if you’re on one)
A: My old car club Team Ballistek faded away around 2005 when everyone decided to become old farts, sometimes they let us out of the retirement center to cruise Woodward though.
Q: Do you have any advice for younger enthusiasts, who may be interested in the racing you do?
A: Don’t be in a rush to take things too seriously. Go on a quest to accumulate as much knowledge and wisdom as you can from every gray haired guy you meet at the track. Don’t be too proud to ask for help, everybody there has been in your shoes at some point. I absolutely don’t want to sound discouraging but remember, the young people you see on TV doing this stuff for a living practically drove out of the womb, there are ALWAYS exceptions to that rule but most of the time the guy wearing the racing suit owns the team, or his dad does. As with any professional sport the creme rises to the top. except in racing, driving that one car is rarely ever the only thing that person does to make a living. with that being said, NEVER let your flame go out, and the best investment you can ever make into your car is SEAT TIME. If it is in your budget put yourself through a racing school, you will come out of it with good habits and a competition license, when you invest in yourself you will see a return 100% of the time
Q: Do you prefer racing on a track, or on the street?(Mexico obviously)
A: obviously I try to behave myself and keep it on the track at all times, but most of us started on the street and sometimes you gotta handle your business when the light turns green.
Q: If you do race on the street and the track, do you have your car setup the same way between the two surfaces?(If not, what is different?)
A: Not saying I have, but it would have been maybe a change to some damping settings and maybe a tweak in tire pressure…again, not saying I have
Q: How long have you been doing this kind of racing?
A: going on 17 years.
Q: Have you ever done any other kinds of racing?(If yes, what kind?)
A: Dirtbikes and go karts as a kid.
Q: Do you have any changes planned for your car in the 2016 season?(If yes, what? If you want to tell)
A: As of right now, I am still planning to sell both race cars, to get rid of the distraction as we are expecting our first child any day now.
Q: Would you recommend your platform of car to any new-comers?
A: Absolutely, the cost is low, it can be very forgiving and has huge potential.
Q: When you got your current car, did you plan to get into the racing you do? Or did it slowly grow on you?
A: I knew exactly what I was looking for, the race car market is funny. You can’t build an equal car for the price you can buy one, yet if a car is proven, people will pay surprising amounts for it.
Q: Do you prefer automatic, or manual transmissions?
A: There was a time where I would have said manual only, but modern automatics are so good they are starting to replace F1 style transmissions. its hard to deny that.
Q: Do you personally prefer import, or domestic?
A: Can’t we all just get along, and then go racing!?
Q: Did the type of racing you’re currently in, introduce you to new people?
A: I prefer the term “family”..
Q: Do you race for fun, or do you do it for competition?
A: Competition only at Time Trials. Other than that, fun is the only thing to focus on.
These answers just go to show that there is still hope out there in the car community. Gene is the definition of a true racer and enthusiast.
Here are a group of pictures of his current car, past cars, and him on the track doing what he does!