Tag: mazda

Mad Mike to rock WTAC in a 1000hp RX7FD

Even those with just a passing interest in the sport of drifting will no doubt be familiar with this guy and the very mention of his name will make them rush out and book tickets for this year’s WTAC.

Hailing from New Zealand, “Mad” Mike Whiddett is equally well known for his drifting skills as he is for his love of rotaries.

While Mike’s main Formula Drift weapon is a Mazda MX5, his first win in the 2016 FD season came while driving a Japanese built RX7FD.

Competing at the Japan round of Formula Drift, held at the Ebisu circuit, Mike took the win in a twin turbo quad rotor RX7FD, after an epic battle against a Japanese champion Yokoi.

It is this Mazda RX7FD Mike will be bringing with him to compete at this year year’s Just Car Insurance International Drift Challenge in October.

Powered by a bridge-ported, twin turbo quad rotor,

HUMBUL RX7 is nothing short of spectacular!

Dubbed “HUMBUL” the car is nothing short of spectacular in just about any respect. Built by Mike and Taisuke Kawato of Total Car Produce Magic, the car is powered by a custom-built 4-rotor, bridge-ported, 26B engine.

As if a bridge-ported quad rotor wasn’t enough, a pair of GCG GTX3582 turbos was added to provide a healthy amount of boost, contributing to a 1000hp+ power output.

A number of Australian companies have been involved in the build. From GCG who supplied the turbos, Haltech (engine management system) to Turbosmart and Plazmaman there is no shortage of Aussie technology under all that carbon fibre.

The car’s unique look is a part of its universal appeal. TCP Magic G-Face aero kit, Rocket Bunny spoiler and a 6666 rear wing all contribute to the tough and purposeful stance.

Kawato-san insisted there would be no shortcuts in this car’s build and it shows. Everything from the smallest interior detail to the main body parts is top notch.

“We are stoked to have Mad Mike and HUMBUL at WTAC this year!” said Superlap CEO, Ian Baker. “The fans will be in for a real treat!”

Mad Mike vs Daigo Saito vs Chris Forsberg vs Nico Reid

It doesn’t get much better than that!

This is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting drift cars in the world today. And to see it go head to head with the likes of Daigo Saito’s Lamborghini, Nico Reids Silvia and Chris Forsberg in MCA’s 370Z will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Photos courtesy of Red Bull Media.

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Helpful Links

arrow  Check out the Just Car Insurance Intl Drift Challenge field here
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Accommodation Guide
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park
arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
arrow  Read to book your tickets? WTAC 2016 Tickets

Dream Big – Hokkaido Heroes on track for WTAC!


It’s not hard to see why the Japanese time attack cars are a big hit every time they come to Australia. After all, time attack racing did start in Japan and in recent years it’s been enjoying a popular resurgence with many new cars getting built and just as many existing cars copping some serious upgrades. One Japanese car that has been all over the internet lately is this Hokkaido-based Mazda RX7 FD.


Tetsuhiro Kurokawa and his team Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 have been testing recently at Tokachi Speedway and if the reports are anything to go by these guys could well be starting as one of the Open Class favourites!


“The team have been corresponding back and forth through an Australian ex-pat who is giving them a hand and it seems they’ve really turned their car into a serious weapon!” said Superlap CEO Ian Baker.

“They have been steadily working to get the car Open Class compliant all the while continuing to go faster despite having to minimize the aero. It really is going to be a serious international battle in Open Class this year.”


Despite the restrictions Open Class places on aerodynamics it is obvious that it still plays a big part in the car’s design. The team seems focused on building right to the limit of the rules in order to grab every hundredth of a second advantage. Having the luxury of an ex-Voltex employee on their staff is certainly going to be an advantage!


The team also have an extremely experienced engine builder in Mokoto Watanabe. Watanabe-san recently visited in Australia with his own RX7 drag car and stopped the clocks at 7.4 seconds at the Brisbane Jamboree! Needless to say he will be one of the team’s major assets in October, overseeing the engine in their RX7FD.


This could be a sub 1:30 car at Sydney Motorsport Park!

So how is the testing going, we hear you ask. At the recent HKS day the team broke their own record by half a second with a lap time of 1:20.231. This was seven seconds faster than 2nd place in the same category and within .542 of the 2015 Super GT300 Gainer SLS AMG GT3 on full slicks. Keep in mind this is a full Open Class spec car!


How does this equate to Sydney Motorsport Park and WTAC? That is hard to say as we are unsure who was driving the SLS GT3 and a ‘gentleman driver’ will normally be a few seconds slower than a Pro.

Let’s just say an AMG SLS GT3 Mercedes driven by Jack LeBroq holds the GT track record for Sydney Motorsport Park with a 1.27.9, so we could only assume that the Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 is looking awfully like it could easily be a sub-30 second car which would put them in a very favourable position for the Link ECU Open Class heading into WTAC 2016.


As with every other car, no matter how promising the test results are, it all comes down to how well the team can put it all together on the day. We wish Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 all the best in October and really hope they can achieve that One Perfect Lap!

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Helpful Links

arrow  Who else is coming? See WTAC entry list here
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Travel & Accommodation Guide
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park
arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
arrow  Read to book your tickets? WTAC 2016 Tickets

Brad Trenwith’s Triple Rotor Treat


In 2012 Brad Trenwith’s then 13BT powered FD RX-7 made a solid impression on Open Class as the fastest RWD with a best time of 1:34.0. Since then, just like most time attack cars, it has evolved and is now a serious piece of machinery.


The car is now powered by an absolute animal of a 20B turbo. Sounding sweeter than any Formula One car on the current grids, the triple rotor has been known to make the occasional ear bleed after a hearing aide has been removed. We caught up with the now faster and more Dan Bilzerian spec Brad to shoot the breeze leading up to his return to SMSP.


WTAC: Firstly Brad, what is it about rotary engines that does it for you?

Brad Trenwith: It all started when I was kid and my dad owned an FC RX7. I remember him driving through the hills and the buzzer going off, thinking how cool it all was! The noise, the feeling, it was just so different to anything else. Dad later bought an FD and I started out buying an FB/SA as my first “performance” car.


WTAC: How did you get into track driving and what was your first track car?

BT: The first car I took to the track was my early model RX-7. A good mate of mine, Chubs, owned a similar car, both had 13B turbos and not nearly enough brakes and suspension. We went to Oran Park on the short circuit and spent as much time sideways or off the track as we did on the track.


But after that I was hooked. I gradually developed the car until one day I couldn’t take it to the track due to a broken gearbox, so I took my street FD instead. When the FD went quicker, I sold the FB/SA without even fixing the gearbox!


TTI 6-speed sequential transmission is mated to Carbonetics triple-plate by Direct Clutch Services.

WTAC: When you bought the FD what were your original plans or did you know deep down that you’d always end up building something to this level?

BT: I had an FD street car that I raced at all of the NSW tracks before I moved back home to Adelaide. I kept racing it, but with it being a street car, it was always a compromise. So, I bought the current car as a stocker and swapped all the running gear over and had it caged. It gradually evolved over the years to what it is now. I remember being so excited when it made over 300kW for the first time!


WTAC: From a driving perspective, how does it feel to drive this car now that is has so much more aero and horsepower?

BT: It has been a complete re-learn of the car. Early in this development I chatted with Oscar from Supashock about the aero and suspension and a power goal he thought we should have. I thought it was crazy to aim for so much power! But, to his credit, the car puts the power down really well. I am continually getting surprised by just how much grip the car has and always having to remind myself “the faster you go, the more grip you have”.


Simon Podlewski from Morpowa has been amazing in helping at the track and dialling the motor in. He has worked with Mark McCoy to set up the traction control, and that has been a huge help to getting confidence in the car.


I still don’t think my driving will be anywhere up to the standard it should be to really show what the car is capable of at WTAC, but it should be a lot of fun.


WTAC: Most race car owners have a love/hate relationship with their cars. What do you love/hate most about this car?

BT: The noise, power, grip, the looks, I love pretty much everything about it. There isn’t much I really hate. Being a “full aero” car means it is a lot harder to work on, but I am lucky to have good mates, Botcho and Glenn who help run the car and prep it. So even the fact it’s harder to work on it just means more shed time with good mates and the dogs, so it’s still a good thing.


Custom wide-body kit by Mark Jantke from White Wolf Performance Moulding.

WTAC: If you were to start again from scratch would you do anything differently?

BT: Yeah, the benefit of hindsight is always great. There are a few things I want to change in the offseason, but the car was built to a timeline and a budget. If all you do is work towards building something perfect, I think you miss out on using it and enjoying it. It’s a balance and I am happy with what we have done given time and money constraints.


WTAC: What do you think it is about this event that has people keeping coming back for more every year?

BT: The variety, the excitement, the event format, the whole package that Ian and the crew have put together is so unique and spectator friendly. Knowing these cars are wound up about as much as possible and are putting it all on the line for a single lap, it’s pretty exciting to be a driver in that sort of format and I think that is felt by everyone watching.


Engine management is via Motec M800 wired by Troy at TeeZee Tuning.

WTAC: What are your main goals for the event and are there any particular Pro-Am cars you’d like to beat?

BT: I just want to go there, have the car run reliably and have fun. One of the best things about the event is the people and friends I have made over the years. Not competing for the last few years meant there are plenty of people i have not been able to catch up with, so my main goal is to have fun and drive the car back onto the truck Saturday evening.


As far as cars I would like to beat, not really, we will just focus on running our car and anything that goes our way will just be a bonus.


WTAC: What competitors or teams are you inspired by?

BT: One of my favourite drivers/cars would be Rob Nguyen in the Mighty Mouse CRX. I feel that is probably the epitome of the spirit of time attack. It represents the variety and the capability of any car when a good team and driver execute a plan. I was so excited when they went sub 1:30 last year.


Outside of Time Attack I have had a lot of input and help from Drew/Jerry of Direct Clutch. Both own 3 rotor RX7s in circuit and drag, and have been a wealth of information and assistance in getting the car to where it is.


Short-crank 3-rotor peripheral port makes 627kW at the wheels and 950Nm torque.

WTAC: How far would you like to go with this car?

BT: From here I would just like to get the car to as many tracks as possible and enjoy it. Down the track, getting weight out of it would be the main goal. That would be the only real further development I would like to do. I just want to focus on enjoying it as much as possible.


Special thanks to:
Morpowa Auto and Dyno Tuning
Australian Race Car Engineering
Solid Engineering
White Wolf Performance Moulding
Direct Clutch
D&S Tint and Sign
AT Performance
SA Motorsport Tyres
Sonic Performance
Teezee Tuning

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Helpful Links

arrow  Who else is coming? See WTAC entry list here
arrow  Travelling from interstate or overseas? See our Travel & Accommodation Guide
arrow  Still more questions? Read the Spectators FAQ
arrow  Frist time at WTAC? Getting to Sydney Motorsport Park
arrow  Need further convincing? 7 Things your need to know about WTAC 2016
arrow  Read to book your tickets? WTAC 2016 Tickets

Kiwi 3 Rotor back to Attack!


That’s right folks, Andy Duffin and the 3 Rotor Racing team have confirmed they will be returning to Sydney Motorsport Park in October and this time they are looking for the Open Class win.

With a bunch of new tricks up their sleeve and another year of persistent testing they are confident the RX7 will be on point by the time it hits Australian shores. We caught up with Andy at his home in the rural New Zealand town of Tauranga to discuss his plans onputting New Zealand on the Open Class WTAC podium.


WTAC: It’ll be great to see you guys back in 2016.

Andy Duffin: We couldn’t miss the opportunity to be at such a cool event!


WTAC: You had a good run here for your first time last year with a 1.32.8 which put you in a very credible seventh place. Were you happy with the result?

AD: We learnt a lot from last year and enjoyed our time at the event but to be honest I was a bit disappointed with my performance. The car was pretty good but we used a set of tyres at the wrong time and learning such a demanding track took me too long. Lessons learnt. Top 5 would have felt better!


WTAC: We hear you have big plans for the car this year?

AD: We have put a lot of thought into this year and with such a talented bunch of people involved we have come up with some tweaks that will help the cause. Aero, weight and some more grunt are high on the list.


WTAC: With the NA cars in Open Class now allowed Nitrous Oxide do you feel this may give you the extra power you need to be competitive?

AD: That is where we are investing our main focus.  We felt the car was right on the money aero/handling wise but we were blown away by the outright power of the other competitors. Nitrous on the 20b PP will be interesting to say the least!


WTAC: We also hear you have some very experienced guys working on your aero package?

AD: David Higgins of Kinetic Sim fame has been amazing, he is still fine tuning the car with CFD and we will continue tweaking right up till October. With his design work and the manufacturing of all the bits by Sandbrooks Renninglas and Tim Dorset, we have an amazing team.


We are lucky to have had long term support from Link ECUs, Motul, Endless, Sandbrooks Rennenglass, Prosport Auto, MRP, Kinetic Sim, Furniture Zone, AdrenalineR and Riverlea Panel and Paint. More recently Fortune Auto have come on board and we couldn’t be happier with the results we have seen with the shock package they came up with.

Nitrous on the 20b PP will be interesting to say the least!


WTAC: The Green Brothers engine package seems as strong as ever?

AD: The boys at Green Brothers Racing do an amazing job! Check out the footage from the run at Leadfoot Festival this year on my Facebook page, the old girl gets a fair old limiter bashing and loves it! 515hp plus the Nitrous should get us close.


WTAC: We understand you had a run at the NZ Superlap series a couple of weeks back how did that go?

AD: It was awesome to have a run in the local Superlap series over here, it’s starting to gain some momentum which is great to see. We had a great battle with Garth Walden driving an Evo and missed by a tenth. We achieved our best lap time ever by 3.5 seconds, which was a great result for us.


WTAC: This year is shaping up to be the most exciting ever and no doubt you will be looking to “stick it to the Aussies”. Do you have a target time you would like to see at SMSP?

AD: We will be bringing our A game this year, we know what we are up against this time and we know that the competition is next level at WTAC! We want to be the fastest and to do that we will have to achieve something special. I think we will have to be much closer to 1.30 this time.


WTAC: We are certain you will have the whole on New Zealand behind you and I am sure a few Aussie rotary fans might also have a soft spot for you guys!

AD: We can’t wait!  There’s always something special about the Kiwi/Aussie thing! The contact with the fans at WTAC was one of the highlights for us last year. The countdown is on till we get to go for that one perfect lap!

Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge. 14th – 15th October 2016. Sydney Motorsport Park.
Tickets go on sale June 1st. Don’t miss it!

Japanese “Car Shop Dream Lotas 7” RX7 enters Open Class


With so much of the focus over the years on the Pro Classes we are now seeing increased interest right across the board and in 2016 we will see our first ever Japanese entry in the hotly contested Open Class.


Team Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 have confirmed their entry in the Link ECU Open Class and have spent the past few months ensuring their Mazda RX7FD complies with the class rules.


The car’s owner and most of his team hail from Kitami, a small city on the East coast of Hokkaido. The city is covered in snow for almost half of the year with temperatures getting as low as -30C.


Undeterred by the harsh conditions Kurokawa-san and his team of loyal mechanics spend the winter months tinkering away in a heated workshop. Getting the car to the nearest race track involves a 30 hours ferry trip which makes their achievement all the more remarkable.


The engine is a 13BREW Bridgeport built by Watanabe Shin. Watanabe is a bit of local rotary guru with decades of experience building 7-sec drag racing engines.


The engine is mated to a Quaife 6‐Speed sequential dog gearbox. Endless brakes  and D2 Japan suspension  complete the package.


Kurokawa’s chief mechanic, Yamaguchi Koji, also has his roots in drag racing and is no stranger to dealing with high horsepower, highly stressed engines. The engine is controlled by a Link ECU tuned by Kumaki Toru from Top Fuel Racing


The person responsible for the car’s aero is Osamu Suda, Having previously worked at Voltex Japan, Osamu is no stranger to aerodynamics and plays an important part in the car’s development. The most important task ahead of him right now is to trim the current aero package (so it complies with WTAC Open Class rules) without sacrificing too much of its downforce.


When it comes to building and racing cars, much like Under Suzuki, Kurosawa-san is very hands-on. He is involved in every aspect of the car, from building, tuning and race preparation to actually driving it. To create this time attack monster the team tried not to rely on factory parts and manufactured most of the accessories in-house.


They’ve even experimented with their own handmade mini wind tunnel using a 1/12 plastic model of the car with fans and scales below each tyre to measure the downforce created. But don’t let their DIY approach fool you. This is a very capable team and Kurokawa is certainly no novice behind the wheel.


A local racing celebrity, Kurokawa had dominated the Hokkaido racing scene in the 1990s with a JAF Hokkaido 6-hour Endurance Race trophy and JAF Hokkaido FJ1600 Series Championship under his belt. He was also the first ever Hokkaido-based Nismo pro driver.

In 1999 Kurokawa started Car Shop Dream and formed his Hokkaido based racing team in 2013. Since then the team has been breaking records at Tokachi International Speedway most notably Nobuteru Taniguchi’s Sports Car Class record (set in HKS CT230R) by over a second.


After shipping the car down to Tsukuba for a shakedown session earlier this year the team managed a time in the 56 second range. Kurokawa-san explained this was simply a test day and they are confident the car will be capable of low 55s by the time it leaves for Sydney. This should put the team well within their goal of a podium placing with a possibility of having a serious shot at the class title.


The Car Shop Dream Lotas 7 racing team sound like a great bunch of guys and the car is a credit to their ingenuity and perseverance. We are sure they’ll be well received by the Australian rotary fans as they race for the Open Class title in October!

Images: NaritaDogfight.com, Attack – Maximum Challenge and Speedhunters.com
Translation thanks to: Rhett Roylance


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Helpful Links

arrow  2015 WTAC Highlights: Tilton’s Winning Lap
arrow  2015 WTAC Highlights: Open Class
arrow  2015 WTAC Highlights: Pro Am Class
arrow  Understanding WTAC: Rules, aerodynamics and control tyres explained 
arrow  7 Things You need to know about WTAC 2016

Class of 2015: Clubsprint


Pro and Pro Am classes have crazy aero and huge horsepower. Open class has cutthroat workshop vs workshop competition. Despite all that, it’s the Clubsprint class that has exploded in size this year, overtaking Open as the biggest class at WTAC.


A large and, more importantly, growing grassroots entry-level class is great for the sport. It attracts new racers while allowing them to race on the same track and at the same event as the top heavy hitters. Just like every other motorsport, time attack needs to attract new people to its ranks and that’s what the Clubsprint class is all about.


Secondly, Clubsprint class provides a relatively easy and inexpensive way for young racers to get into time attack racing and WTAC. As the cars competing for the outright win are hitting six digit build budgets, it’s even more important to keep the entry level class affordable and accessible to the average enthusiast.


With heavy restrictions, Clubsprint cars are very close to their street-driven origins and many of them are actually driven to and from the event. Jason Naidoo’s Evo (above) is one such competitor. These restrictions keep the development costs down and shift the emphasis to engine and drivetrain setup as well as showcasing driver skill.


Despite the restrictions Clubsprint class has intense competition for the podium spots. It is a vibrant, exciting and unpredictable class with a different winner each year.


Interestingly, the class record of 1:38.86 set by Nev Scott in his Subaru WRX back in 2012 still stands. Nev Scott has since progressed to Open class and this year’s winner Daniel Meredith (above) came very close to beating it in his Honda Civic with a time of 1:39.4470.


David Lord driving his Tunehouse-built Subaru STi shaved almost a full second off his last year’s best, finishing half a second behind Meredith.


Marginally faster this year (1:40.086), Jason Naidoo pinned all his hopes on the Superlap Shootout, a gamble that unfortunately didn’t pay off when the shootout got rained out.


Also improving this year was John Richardson in his Nissan R33 GTS-T. John’s consistently fast lap times (best lap of 1:41.311) put him amongst favourites for the class podium next year.


Tunehouse returned with their Toyota 86 and Josh Muggleton behind the wheel. The car underwent a complete engine overhaul with a new turbo kit replacing the supercharger used last year. Despite suffering from mechanical woes the car managed to go half a second faster than last year (1:42.34).


Scott Stewart debuted his bright orange Evo VI with a 1:42.6160.


The ‘other’ Tilton Evo – driven by Charlie Dang clocked in at 1:44.674, almost a second faster than last year.


Harrop Engineering’s Toyota 86 driven by David Schardt turned heads whenever it went out on track, posting a respectable lap time of 1:47.413.


The Euro content at WTAC continues to grow in numbers with Stephen Muller and his VW Golf MK6 (1:47.87)…


John Tucker’s VW Golf MK6 (1:52.923)…


Harrop Engineering’s BMW M3 (1:48.579)…


and Paul Kovaceski’s immaculate Porsche 944 (1:49.828).


Bill Nabham was flying the rotary flag in Clubsprint (1:48.297)…


along with Elliot Malouf (1:49.721)…


and Shane Barwood (1:51.806).


David Dalrymple in his R32 GTR also improved by almost a second from his last year’s best by stopping the clock at 1:44.977.


Jim Seng Tu in the Team EXE OTR Mitsubishi Evo 9 – 1:42.023.


John Healey in the ROH Toyota 86 – 1:42.9310


Michael King in the DTMF Racing Mitsubishi Evo VIII – 1:43.377.


Steven Planinic in the Garage 88 Mitsubishi Evo – 1:47.5950


Darrin Morice in the RTR Subaru BRZ – 1:47.1020


Siev Gour in the Ton Legal Honda Civic – 1:46.3140


Stuart Rankin in his Toyota Supra – 1:47.997.


Laurence Gleeson in the Team Lori – Walk for a Cure Nissan Bluebird – 1:49.0730


Thomas Bullock in the Team Honed Honda CRX – 1:50.1190


Vel Tomic in the Insight Motorsports / SPMR Honda Civic – 1:55.5848


Mark Collingwood in the Automotive Plus Mazda MX5 – 1:55.6970


Adam Clarke in the Dragcarfab Nissan R33 GTST – 1:58.649.


Anthony Halwagy in the U.G. Racing Honda Civic – 1:54.518.


Alan Chea in The-Lowdown Mitsubishi Evo V – 1:54.494.

Helpful Links

arrow  Relive all the action: Watch the 2015 Live Re-Stream
arrow  2015 WTAC Highlights: Tilton’s Winning Lap
arrow  2015 WTAC Highlights: Sigsworth’s Pro Am Winning Lap
arrow  Understanding WTAC: Rules, aerodynamics and control tyres explained