Rotary's not dead! Mad Mike Whiddett tests Mazda 3 Pikes Peak race car
Joey Deriquito · Jan 20, 2023 06:15 PM
New Zealand's drifting ace, Mad Mike Whiddett, tests out the new Mazda 3 Pikes Peak spec car at the Suzuka Twin circuit in preparation for the world-renowned hill climb event happening in June this year.
The car is a Mazda 3 hatchback converted to rear-wheel drive and equipped with a twin-turbo quad-rotor engine and a six-speed manual transmission.
Here's a video of the finished race car during its initial shakedown.
The project for this particular race started in 2021, with the body of the racecar first and other components added later.
The process started with the body of the Mazda 3 being reinforced and converted to fit the new drivetrain components. Later, a roll cage and other supporting safety parts would be installed. Japanese tuning specialist, TCP-Magic worked on the conversion and the build.
The quad-rotor rotary engine setup can push out an astonishing 1,400 PS thanks to its two Garrett G50 big turbos. Hollinger in Australia made the six-speed manual gearbox to handle all that power. Meanwhile, the differential for the Mazda 3 hatchback racecar was made by Winters Inc.
Its suspension setup remains the same as the standard version; however, its shock absorbers and dampers were updated to KW suspension parts.
Handling over raw power
While the Mazda 3 racecar initially made 1,400 PS, it was dropped to 800 PS in the interest of better grip and handling. However, while testing, the vehicle encountered overheating issues because of the radiator's position at the back.
Resolving this overheating issue was simple, as better ducting was needed to route more cool air into the radiator and vent hot air away.
The racecar also underwent several ride height adjustments to ensure that the ride was dialed in for the hill climb event.
At the final stages of testing, slick tires were fitted to the vehicle, the same ones they planned to use at the Pikes Peak event.
"This project is a big one. Typically, such projects use vehicles that are originally rear-wheel drive, such as the RX-7, RX-8, or MX-5. Such a car is already well-balanced and could be converted into a rotary conversion or turned into a race car with a few tweaks, but the MAZDA3 is a front-wheel-drive hatchback with a transverse four-cylinder engine...” said Mad Mike after the initial testing finished.
The Mazda 3 racecar is set to undergo further testing in the second half of February, after which it will be shipped to Los Angeles in March for the event.
Do you think Mad Mike can set new records with this quad-rotor rotary engine?
A car enthusiast at heart, nothing excites Joey more than an open road and a full tank of gas. Ready with the latest information about cars, he constantly studies and researches the latest happenings in the motoring world while caring for a car that's an extension of himself.