• 2023/07/10

Mad Mike Breaks Records at Pikes Peak

Michael Whiddett (New Zealand), a.k.a. “Mad Mike,” who competed in the exhibition class at the 101st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb held in Pikes Peak, Colorado, on Sunday, June 25, set a new record in the final trial on the last day of the race week. In the final trial on the last day of the race week, Michael Widett (New Zealand), aka “Mad Mike,” set a new record of 10:34.980, breaking the previous record for the fastest Mazda car and the fastest rotary engine car. The time earned him praise not only from the assembled race fans, but also from the other entrants. Mad Mike’s No. 123 MAZDA3 Fastback finished 21st out of 66 entries, and 5th in the exhibition class, which was full of great names.


During the three practice days, the teams had already checked the setup and conditions of the lower section, middle section, and top section, but for the final trial on the last day, they had to start from the lower section at 2,860m elevation, move to the middle section in the middle, and then to the top section at the highest elevation. The Final Trial on the final day was a 20km long, 1,439km uphill run from the lower section at 2,860m elevation, to the middle section at the middle elevation, to the highest section at the top elevation. The amount of oxygen in the air at the start and at the finish differs greatly. Furthermore, the TCP Magic team, which had never driven the same 20-km course in its entirety, had no accurate fuel consumption data, and they were not sure whether or not they would be able to complete the race on the 55.0-liter fuel tank full of gasoline they were equipped with. TCP Magic has built many drift cars in the past, but they had never run a 4-rotor engine with two large turbines for a long distance of 20 km. But the final race was an unknown quantity. Will we be able to finish the race with only 55 liters of fuel? Without any proof, we filled up the tank with gas, warmed up the car, and then filled it up again with fuel until the very last minute. We even pushed the machine by hand to get to the starting point so as not to use any fuel. Even then, we turned off the ECU’s water temperature and boost correction to minimize losses as much as possible, and left the rest to chance. I also told Mike that even if the warning lights for water temperature and boost came on, he should not hesitate to step off the throttle. As a result, the engine managed to hold its fuel and the water temperature rose to 128°C. The warning lights came on, but the engine did not overheat. The result was a significant improvement over the previous record for the fastest Mazda and the fastest rotary engine car. We could not have imagined that Mike, a rookie, would do so well with his newly built race car in this event full of unknowns. We were also helped a lot by TOYO’s Proxess slick tires. Today’s temperatures and road temperatures were high, and the start time was around noon when the sun had just risen, instead of early in the morning as in the past, so we had to worry about how to adjust the air pressure. However, since there was no time to adjust the suspension, we asked the teams to start the race with a high air pressure. However, the MAZDA3 supported us well without getting uprooted at any of the sections. The MAZDA3 Fastback is a front-engine, rear-drive (FR) vehicle with a longitudinally mounted TCP Magic twin-turbo 4-rotor engine producing up to 1,400 PS at the front, a race gearbox, prop shaft, and rear differential. The brand new race car was assembled in the fall of 2022 and just shaked down in early 2023.


Driver Mad Mike said, “I am very happy to have been able to finish the car in such a short time with the support of so many people, and to be able to break the record here at Pikes Peak, which I had hoped for. I could not have done it without the help of all of you. Thank you very much. It was a lot of fun.


Text by MZRacing, Photos by Larry Chen foto


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