• 2023/03/21

Mad Mike’s 4-rotor MAZDA3 prepares for Pikes Peak!

On Wednesday, March 15, the Okayama International Circuit was filled with the loud sound of exhaust as the MAZDA3 race car driven by Mike Whiddett (New Zealand), aka Mad Mike, which was shaken down in January and has been modified since then, was put through its paces. The reason for this is that the 4-rotor MAZDA3 was tested on the track.


The 4-rotor MAZDA3 was built and maintained by TCP Magic, based in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture. The unique 4-rotor engine assembled by Taisuke Kawato, the company’s representative, is powered up to 1,400 PS by a large twin turbo. The work to install it in the RWD must have taken a considerable amount of time, and included solving the problem of rising water temperature that became apparent during the shakedown test conducted at Suzuka Twin Circuit on January 18, as well as improving handling. For cooling, a large radiator with an electric fan installed in the rear hatch has been supplemented by additional sub radiators in the front section, in addition to conducting air from both side windows and the rear edge of the roof. In addition, a front spoiler and rear diffuser were added to obtain appropriate downforce in the front and rear. In addition, shock absorbers with reservoir tanks have been adopted, and the coil springs have been replaced with harder ones. In addition, the thick exhaust pipe, which used to be placed in a style that extended to the rear of the vehicle, has been replaced with a short exhaust that exhausts from the hood in order to lower the vehicle’s height. The handling of the car is said to have evolved greatly as a result of these changes. However, the steering rack was poorly positioned and the long tie rods could not be used, resulting in a lack of cutting angle, which will be further modified before loading into the shipping container in the fourth week of March.


With these many improvements on the menu, the MAZDA3 took to the track for the three 30-minute test sessions scheduled for the day. The first session was just an in-and-out, and the plan was to pit in and check each part, but Mike ran an extra lap on the straights and came back. He said, “Oh no, I’m comfortable. I could leave many touring cars behind on the straight and the acceleration was great. But the steering is tough. It was comfortable in high speed corners, but in slow corners I had to cut in considerably to turn. Improvement is needed. This is because Pikes Peak is a series of hairpin turns. Also, the water temperature was rising, so we had to stop driving at full throttle halfway through the race,” he said. This time, the team was running on wide slick tires provided by Toyo Tires on 10J front and 11J rear RAY’S wheels. Regarding this, he said, “The grip of the slick tires is fantastic. However, the rear tires touch the fender arches when scooting to start acceleration, so the arches need to be modified”.


The second and third sessions were also run, but each session was interrupted by a pit stop after four laps. This is because the water temperature rises. Mike said, “The temperature in Okayama this time was high, around 20 degrees Celsius, and although the conditions are different from Pikes Peak, where the temperature sometimes drops below freezing, overheating after about four minutes of full throttle driving is a problem. If you run for at least 10 minutes, you should be able to run from start to finish at Pikes,” he said. He added, “Despite the water temperature, I was comfortable in the cockpit. One thing you have to be prepared for at Pikes Peak is that breathing is tough as the elevation increases and the oxygen gets less and less. The elevation at the starting point is already 2,800 meters, and the finish line is 4,300 meters, making the race higher than Mt. Fuji.I went there last year to climb and study the area. I wanted to feel for myself how bad it was. So much so that many people say, “I can’t even breathe.” It is not as bad as it is when you are walking, but when you run up to the top, you can see how intense and difficult it is. So you have to keep your mind cool. We can’t do much testing until we get to Pikes Peak, but the car feels great,” he concluded.


The car will be temporarily maintained at a garage outside of Los Angeles, California, and after a test run at a nearby racetrack, it will participate in the official test at Pikes Peak in early June.


4RE MAZDA3 Okayama Test Recording Video (YouTube 4’49”)


Photos and Text by MZRacing


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