Mad Mike’s Madaz 787D Drift Car Debuts World’s First 5-Rotor Wankel Engine

Some hours ago, a man was standing on the tubular chassis of a car he built over in New Zealand, revving its rotary engine with his thumb. And that’s something the whole car world is taking notice of. Why? We’re talking about Kiwi drifter Mad Mike Whiddett and his Madaz 787D drift car, which introduced the world’s first five-rotor Wankel engine.

Nobody has done as much for the rotary engine as Mazda, but even the Japanese automaker has a hard time reviving it to power the wheels in the current, emission reduction-dominated automotive landscape.

Fortunately, Formula Drift Japan champion and Formula Drift US star Mad Mike, one of the most popular sliding masters in the world, doesn’t need to play by such rules.

In fact, as the athlete explained earlier today at the Mad Mike Summer Bash in Hampton Downs, Waikato, the Madaz 787D is a no-restraints project that skips the competition rules burdening many of his builds. And yes, Hert (also a big fan of the brap-brap thing) was there.

However, let’s start with the name: this is a Madaz because while it does pack a full stainless steel tube chassis with all the hard points of Mad Mike’s 4-rotor Mazda RX-7 Madbull (this was 3D scanned), it’s not quite a Mazda. As a plaque in the engine bay confirms, the car was built by Tra Kyoto in Japan. You know, the Kei Miura-led company that makes the Pandem/Rocket Bunny kits. Still, while the 787B is mid-engined, the RX-7 base means the Madaz 787D keeps its engine up front.

With the project now three years in the making, Mad Mike, always the entertainer, hid the design out in the open, as a Hot Wheels 1:64 model of the vehicle had already been in stores.

The 787D part is a tribute to the most famous rotary racecar of all time, the 787B that brought Mazda a Le Mans title back in 1991 in a feat unrivaled to this day. Obviously, D stands for drug drifting.

Mad Mike built the world’s first 5-rotor Wankel with PPRE

As I wrote back in April last year, the five-rotor engine was built with New Zealand’s PPRE (Pulse Performance Race Engineering). The engine sports the most common Mazda rotor design, which means a 654cc displacement. Thus, it has an overall size of 3.3L, which is why Mad Mike calls the Madaz 787D engine the 33B.

Just like the 787B, Mad Mike’s 787D has no turbo to mess with the rotary sound. This 5-rotor stays N/A for the ultimate shriek. And while the output has yet to be released, you can expect 650 hp at the very least. And, as the drifter explained during the release, the 787D is “much lighter” than his RX-7 Madbull.

Madaz 787D 5-rotor Wankel sound

Other goodies include a sequential gearbox that penetrates the cabin in a way that confirms Mad Mike’s description of the slip angle monster—while the Madaz 787D will be put to drifting work soon, it’s also a show car. So it packs as many exposed parts as possible to tell the world about all the high-end components hidden underneath top-spec drift cars’ impact-busted bumpers.

Zip ties? Knowing Mad Mike’s sense of humor, I’d be surprised these plastic life savers of the drifting realm don’t show up—for one, his HUMBUL Mazda FD RX-7 once brought faux beadlock wheels to Formula Drift, where the real deal is forbidden.

Other goodies on the 787D include a Halltech ECU, KW suspension, Wilwood brakes, and one-off Rotiform steelie-look wheels preparing those stretched Toyo tires for torture. Once again, we’ll see the vehicle drifting soon, as a few more details like the custom driveshafts have to be installed.

Don’t worry, though: with Mad Mike explaining the Madaz 787D is the project he came up with to top his Lamborghini Huracan NIMBUL, we’ll get to see this unhinged demo car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and at many other events across the world starting 2024. Until then, the 5-rotor soundcheck in the YouTube clip below should serve as a memorable appetizer.

Video via Racecars Universe

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