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REV­O­LU­TION­ARY RO­TARY RACER RE­BORN

RC Car Action - - CONTENTS - BY MATT BOYD

BAny car that wins Le Mans is a wor­thy model sub­ject, but we asked Brett what in par­tic­u­lar about the Mazda at­tracted his in­ter­est. His an­swer touches on just how rev­o­lu­tion­ary the car was and why even now—more than 27 years af­ter its tri­umph—it re­mains unique among Le Mans win­ners. “It kind of breaks all of the rules of what we nor­mally think a mod­ern race car should be,” Brett says. “Wheel rims with huge lips and large neg­a­tive off­sets are some­thing that you nor­mally see on the street but al­most never on a car from a pro­fes­sional race team. Wings hang­ing be­hind the car are some­thing you find on drag cars or stand­ing-mile cars be­cause that setup can pro­vide some down­force with the small­est amount of

drag, but [they are] sel­dom on sports rac­ers. But this man­u­fac­turer-backed car had both. And then there was the liv­ery: the beau­ti­ful or­ange-and-greencheck­ered theme ac­cented with white lines that rep­re­sented cloth­ing com­pany Renown’s Charge brand. It is as if a street guy de­signed their dream race car and said, ‘I want a ro­tary engine, Volk rims with a gi­gan­tic neg­a­tive off­set in the rear, a gi­nor­mous wing that hangs low and be­hind the car—oh, and paint it in green with or­ange with “Charge” on the side.’ It’s mad­ness that lit­er­ally made one of the most beau­ti­ful and strik­ing race cars to have ever raced a track—and it was also the first Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer to ever win the his­toric 24 Hours of Le Mans. I’ve al­ways been in awe of the car. My skills are fi­nally up to the task where I could de­sign it and do it jus­tice, so for me this rep­re­sents a pin­na­cle in my de­sign skills.”

Brett did his de­sign work in Au­todesk Fu­sion 360 and printed most of the car us­ing So­lutech PLA fil­a­ment, which al­lowed him to print the body pan­els in color and bolt them to­gether to form the liv­ery rather than hav­ing to mask and paint the com­plex scheme. Brett de­signed the chas­sis as well, which uses Tamiya’s F104 For­mula 1 car axle, damper, wheel hubs, and gear case for re­li­a­bil­ity. But Brett prides him­self on authen­tic­ity. He told us, “I want you to see the ac­tual car and not some rep­re­sen­ta­tion of it, where you have to be told what it is. Some­times that’s hard as 1/10-scale cars don’t have 1/10-scale dif­fer­en­tials and me­chan­i­cal bits that are pro­por­tional. So some­times you have to make changes to make me­chan­i­cal parts fit, but thank­fully this car did not suf­fer from that. The car is rich with de­tails, from work­ing vents and scoops, a re­pro­duc­tion of the ac­tual rear dif­fuser, rear-wing sup­port struc­tures and even muf­flers that hide be­hind the vents. Some un­seen de­tails are the rims that even say ‘Rays’ and ‘Volk’ on them, but they have to be printed in a very de­tailed 3D printer—sls, Poly­jet, or Sla—for those de­tails to be seen.” Brett is duly proud of the mul­ti­p­iece rims. The main wheels are two-piece, but the fronts have an op­tional third piece: the white airex­trac­tor cov­ers that the car ran in the race.

De­sign­ing the Mazda wasn’t all smooth sail­ing. He told us his big­gest chal­lenge was find­ing tires that prop­erly fit the car’s un­usual fend­er­well shape. He usu­ally de­faults to Tamiya F104 tires, but in this case, the fronts were too wide and in­ter­fered with the up­rights. Protoform 10140 VTA 26mm tires proved to be the so­lu­tion, al­low­ing the steer­ing to op­er­ate cor­rectly. Brett re­moved the side­wall lo­gos with a sol­der­ing iron and re­placed them with cus­tom-made “Dun­lop” stick­ers.

In some ways, the car’s ac­cu­racy ac­tu­ally un­der­mines its wow fac­tor. It looks so much like the 787B that it hides the ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of de­sign work that made that pos­si­ble. And it is de­sign work that you can ben­e­fit from be­cause Brett up­loaded the files, parts lists, and in­struc­tions to in­structa­bles.com, so now you can make your own 1/10 ver­sion of Mazda’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary ro­tary racer.

That’s not yel­low and green paint; you’re look­ing at in­di­vid­u­ally printed green and yel­low body pan­els as­sem­bled to form the “paint job.”

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Ev­ery­thing was built in the com­puter to en­sure it would work in three di­men­sions. Brett de­signed the car us­ing Au­todesk Fu­sion 360, which al­lowed him to test-fit and re­fine dozens of things be­fore the first part was printed.

The rear sus­pen­sion em­ploys the rear axle from a Tamiya F104 for re­li­a­bil­ity.

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