Home / Social media / News / Here's a Larry Chen behind-the-scenes take on Mad Mike's Pikes Peak run in the 1 400 hp quad-rotor Mazda 3


A while back the world was shown the car that famed New Zealand drifter and Red Bull-sponsored athlete Mad Mike Whiddett built for a singular purpose, to tame the infamous Pikes Peak hillclimb. If we one thing about Mad Mike it’s that he lives and breathes for rotary powerplants, and even though the car he chose for taking on the Peak is usually found in front-wheel drive and sometimes all-wheel drive, it ended up being given a monster of a rotary powerplant that sent power to the rear wheels only. He chose a Mazda 3 hatchback, a completely left-field choice but not completely unexpected. The usual choice for a rotary transplant is a twin-rotor 13B with a sizeable turbo strapped on, it’s the most affordable way to have a pistonless powerplant and the most common of the lot. While there are only two rotors and the setup is technically equivalent to a 1 300 cc piston engine, it can make serious power and even fast streetcars can see power figures in excess of 500 kW. Some chaps do a bit of a flex and shoehorn a triple-rotor powerplant into the intended racecar body instead - a powerful high-revving option that can make insane power in both normally aspirated and turbocharged formats. Then you get the likes of Mad Mike who up the ante by fitting a quad-rotor setup, and to make it even more insane, he slapped on a pair of Garrett G40-1150 turbochargers that supply a healthy amount of boost into the mix. The result of this is a monstrous 1 400 hp, and it's sent to the rear wheel via s 6-speed sequential gearbox. An added bit of cool is that even Mazda helped with the build of the car. That’s when you know you’re at the top of your game when an automaker is willing to help you bastardise one of their products.

The package worked as intended, back in June at the 101st running of the race to the clouds, Mad Mike pushed the Mazda 3 to the 4 302 metre-high summit of the 20-kilometre, 156-turn road in an amazing time of 10:34.980 minutes. Not only was that blisteringly fast but the performance was so good that it set a new record for the century-old event by being responsible for being the fastest time ever up the hill in a rotary-powered vehicle. This time we’re back with Mike and his Mazda 3 thanks to our favourite motorsport photographer of all time, Larry Chen. Larry has attended and shot so many Pikes Peak races that he’s pretty much part of the furniture. He knows which cars absolutely need to be captured as well as which drivers may put on a bit of a show, which explains the insane quality of his images. During the event, Larry singled out Whiddett for some proper in-depth coverage showing off a lot of the things happening behind the scenes with the car setup, the practice and the actual running of the race. Part of this is what this video is made up of casual chats with Whiddett where he explains the car setup, the modifications and just how the car needs to be driven, and it’s our favourite part (besides the screaming rotary during the run). This video is a trifecta for us - great filming, great information and a banshee-like quad-rotor laying down the law. This one is well worth a watch.

Take a look at the YouTube video from when Red Bull athlete Mad Mike Whiddett campaigned his completely bonkers 1 400 hp twin-turbocharged, quad-rotor Mazda 3 up the famed Colorado hill showing some of the behind-the-scenes action as well as a run down of the car from Mike himself to give you more of an understanding of what it takes to set a world-record: Mad Mike's turbo four Rotor Mazda 3 tackles Pikes Peak | Larry Chen

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