News Culture

‘World’s First’ Five-Rotor Wankel Powers This Mazda 787B Tribute by Drifter Mad Mike

Drift champion Mad Mike Whiddett built a tribute to Mazda's Le Mans winner with 25% more braps.
Mad Mike Whiddett via YouTube

The Mazda 787B race car is nearly as famous for the sounds it makes as it is for winning the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans. The shriek of the four-rotor engine has inspired several of professional drifter Mad Mike Whiddett’s car builds throughout the years. His latest project is the “Madaz 787D,” a car first teased a few months ago when Hot Wheels released a 1:64 scale version. In other words, children and middle-aged men knew about this car long before the drift community.

The full-sized 787D was unveiled at Mad Mike’s Summer Bash held at Hampton Downs in Waikato, New Zealand. Mad Mike is a Kiwi, if that wasn’t clear by now. The front-engined tube frame car is powered by what is claimed to be the world’s first five-rotor engine. The chassis was built in Japan by Tra Kyoto, the company behind Pandem and Rocket Bunny. The engine was designed and built by Pulse Performance Race Engineering in Whanganui, New Zealand. And if your inner monologue hasn’t switched over to Rhys Darby’s voice by now, I’m afraid we can’t be friends.

Mad Mike Whiddett via YouTube

Mad Mike is best known as a professional drifter, he’s also competed at Pikes Peak, raced in the Stadium Off Road Championship in New Zealand, and is infamous for receiving numerous concussions during his time in Freestyle Motorcross, which may explain some things. The 787D is not the product of traditional thinking. First, while it was certainly built at undisclosed great expense, it wasn’t built for any purpose other than spreading the awesomeness of rotary engines. Although the chassis is modeled after his Mazda RX-7 Madbull drift car, this isn’t built to any racing or drifting series’ specifications, meaning it will only be a demonstration vehicle.

With no purpose other than fun, I suppose specs are irrelevant. The 2.6 liter RB26M four-rotor engine in the Mazda 787B was capable of 900 horsepower at 10,000 RPM in qualifying trim. It was an evolution of the engine found in the 767B, but used variable-length intake runners to maximize the resonance charging effect through the RPM range. Unfortunately, Mad Mike’s 3.3-liter has fixed length intake runners and we don’t know how fast it can spin, so I hesitate to guess at its output. But, it does sound just as you’d expect it to, as you can find out by watching the video in which Mad Mike starts it up and gives it some blips.