Mad Mike's 500 Horsepower N/A Rotary V8 Slayer
By Tatsunori Tsuchida
In 2008 a very special shipping container arrived in Tokyo harbor. Its final destination would be various drift circuits throughout the islands. The contents of the container, a RX-7, highly tuned by New Zealand’s best. Now this wouldn’t be the first time foreigners have drifted in Japan, but it would be the first time a foreigner had done it on such a large stage as D1GP. Truth is the Japanese have had many foreign drivers in N1 Super Taikyu and in Super GT, but never in something as uniquely Japanese as drifting. Now while “Mad” Mike Whiddet’s antics in assaulting the JDM motorsport of drifting had caught the eye of many, it also caught the eye of Taisuke Kawato; owner of TCP Magic in Nishinomiya, near Kobe. Kawato had been credited with multiple N1 Taikyu, Time-Attack, and D1 builds, all hovering around the popular 13B and its derivatives.
The 2008 season in Japan, given the high shipping costs and Mad-Mike’s multiple plane tickets was apparently an expensive one. The car was shipped back to NZ for further duty there, but Whiddet’s aspirations of drifting in Japan still lingered.
This is where Kawato came in. At the urging of Kawato they met via a mutual friend, a Kiwi living in Kobe, and cooked up the idea of sandwiching two 13Bs to make a four-rotor (…in a car that would stay in Japan). Easier said than done, but ever since the legendary, Le Mans winning 787B, the number of privateers that have tried and been credited with building a R26B is a small fraternity. The sandwiching of the two 13Bs is the “easy” part, it’s the forging and machining of the “crank” or eccentric shafts that’s difficult. You can’t just hastily bolt the two together, although there have been attempts in the past that had and thus had limited reliability. Kawato turned to Pulse Performance of Wanganui, New Zealand for the eccentric shaft; one of a small handful of outfits globally that can make such a shaft.
|Taiske Kawato runs TCP Magic. He mentioned in his blog that the GT Channel Video made him look like a hard-ass, so here's a picture of him smiling. He's actually a super nice guy.|
Kawato spent two full years in a state of trial-and-error, assembly-disassembly-reassembly. If you really think of it, it’s not on the level of building a high comp piston motor, or prepping a long-block for a bigger turbo. This is more on the level of not knowing whether or not this is going to really work. With so few predecessors that you can quickly call on, I’d consider Kawato a real Zen savant or a spiritual guru amongst car people considering he had to dig real deep, talk to his inner demons, and often console himself. I’m sure many-a-times he threw his hands up and screamed at the top of his lungs “Why am I even doing this!”
Switches that rival an airplane cockpit. HKS sequential shifter and drift initiation brake handle and master cylinder.
Two years up until the engine would fire, and yet another two until he would have a complete car. At times I could imagine Mad-Mike’s people would ask begrudgingly about the car. The result of Kawato’s four-year struggle can be seen here. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kawato’s R26B emerged from the confines of TCP Magic.
|Quad Throttle of a Toda variety originally intended for an S2000. Now mounted to a 4-Rotor, FD3S, RX-7.|