Three-Rotor C6 Corvette Drift Car Plays an American RX-7 in Full Carbon-Kevlar Widebody

Despite the C6 Corvette being an evolution rather than a revolution compared to its C5 predecessor, its mid-2000s debut introduced massive improvements. And while GM engineers didn’t exactly plan the ‘Vette as a drift car, the aftermarket comunity has been taking good care of that ever since. But while C6 slip angle conversions are common in the US and Japanese pro drifter Daigo Saito has done one last decade, this British drift ‘Vette is the first of its kind to pack a three-rotor Wankel.

For years now, the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed mixes its traditional Hillclimb and Forest Rally Stage with a sideways version of the former. This allows sideways performers to go wild on a course that might just seem too tight for grip-savvy driving, let along getting the tail out.

And Axel Pedro Hildebrand built his Mazda-swapped C6 Corvette specifically for a Goodwood FOS 2022 debut. So when the event opened its gates last week, the car, which had just been completed, entered the arena in from of some 50,000 spectators… and the never-forgetting internet.

This Chevy started its life as a 2006 Corvette, so it was one of the early C6s that packed the LS2 V8, which was replaced with the more potent LS3 the following year.

And this was no salvage auction purchase. As Axel explains in the Drift Games YouTube video below, an uber-tight schedule meant there was no time to import such a vehicle. Instead, this was a mint-condition unit. And while that might upset Chevy purists, the build also gives Nissan fans a reason to become unsettled.

You see, the enthusiast’s initial plan was to replace the factory 6.0L V8 with a Nissan RB25, a turbocharged straight-six that can be found in cars like the R33 Nissan Skyline GTS-T (as opposed to the more famous GT-R, this is RWD).

C6 Corvette with Mazda “RX-7” power

However, the cowl head and the steering rack had other plans. So, after going throuhg a few ideas—such as a Honda K-Series like this Ferrari has—the gearhead decided to throw a Mazda 20B motor in the American sports car. Oh course, with the machine built for proper hooning, this is a fresh motor.

Built by New Zealand’s PPRE (Pulse Performance Race Engineering), this three-rotor, which uses the standard Mazda size (654 cc per rotor), works with a generous Garrett turbo and makes big power (we wouldn’t be surprised to see an output of around 1,000 hp).

Oh, and if PPRE’s name sounds familiar, it may be because this is the company building the world’s first five-rotor for Kiwi drifter Mad Mike, who has drifted at Goodwood in the past.

The Wankel is mated to a Quaife six-speed sequencial using a Mazda RX-7 bellhousing with an adapter plate. There was no need to move the gearbox to the back for better weight distritribution, since that rotary is considerably lighter than the otherwise-not-that-heavy V8 it replaces.

Still, with that big turbo and the massive roll cage adorning the cabin, some of the weight advantage had to be discarded. Besides, keeping the tranny up front means replacing the clutch comes easier. Regardless, the trunk area is now occupied by the radiator and the fuel cell. And yes, you can still remove the top, which brings some fresh tire smoke into the cabin.

The tech work on the project is insane

The project required quite a bit of fabrication, with the list including the turbo intake manifold, water pump braket and others. Speaking of which, the drift car layout means the front and the rear feature tubular protection structures—the whole posterior was cut for this.

And, to continued its trip down JDM lane, this Corvette features a right-hand drive conversion—this is actually there to help the driver use the all-important hydraulic handbrake with his left hand.

The 19-inch rear wheels of the C6 were swapped with 18-inch units (drift cars go thorugh countless sets of tires and this keeps the budget in check). However, since Alex is a self-proclaimed fitment fan, the 285-section rear tires were there to fill the arches. Speaking of which, the C6 drift car features a full carbon-kevlar widebody.

Now, tackling the Goodwood Hillclimb sideways this year meant triggering a series of sensors placed inside barrels and at a wall and scoring those sweet sideways points.

And while the triple-rotor C6 Corvette delivered an impressive run, it didn’t take the crown. Still, this Chevy was one of the most impressive drift cars at the event. And, as the four-rotor S15 Nissan Silvia built by Japanese tuner Liberty Walk shows (dedicated story coming later today—here it is), the competition was fierce to say the least.

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