The rotary engine has a way of polarizing motorsport enthusiasts as any one particular type of engine can be. For Wankel fans, there simply is no reason to ever go to a conventional engine with those funny up and down moving things called pistons, while many others decry what they perceive as the rotary engine’s lack of reliability. Rotary engines have been making a comeback of sorts, with Mazda talking about the possibility of the RX-9.
Whichever side of the fence you happen to fall on makes no difference in the face of this 12 rotor monster Ultimate Wankel, built by a rotary madman Tyson Garvin. Yes… you read that right.. twelve rotors in one engine. Simply put this is no small engineering feat, because this 1200 hp monstrosity is a true feat of persistence and engineering.
When you consider the Eunos Cosmos motors with four rotors, and what they have done in international competition, Garvin’s creation stands alone in it’s abilities. Mazda’s crowning achievement the Le Mans winning 787B, had just 4 rotors, Garvin has 12.
Tyson Garvin works on endurance powerboats meant to race from New York to Bermuda in what’s called the Bermuda Challenge for those uninitiated in powerboating. Along with teammate Chris Fertig, Garvin set a world record by traveling this distance in just 15 hours and 48 minutes, which completely smashed the previous record of 17 held by Italian Fabio Buzzi. And from the looks of things, I wouldn’t count the duo out of smashing their own record in short order.
Examining the 12 rotor beast would be any engine builder’s delight, because even the smallest minute detail seems to be covered in what is easily the most impressive rotary we have ever seen. Polished from top to bottom, the R12 Rotary engine weighs in at just 830 lbs and displacement checks in at 960 cubic inches.
Each of the twelve rotors are housed inside of three separate rotary banks designed to take advantage of the inertia built by the rotors. These banks are configured in a Y pattern, with two banks on the top portion and one on the lower.
These banks work in conjunction, with the banks counter-rotating against themselves to create the ultimate Wankel, a 1,200 horsepower, 1000 ft-lbs rotary engine that can rev to 15,000 RPM. This is all done at conservative power and fuel, and it runs so smooth that a glass of water placed on it barely registers a ripple. Much want.
The scary thing is, Garvin may be just scratching the surface when it comes to the power his frightening creation can deliver. Garvin’s estimates that in 1,400 horsepower trim the engine can run for over 400 hours of pleasure boating, indicating that he’s nowhere near close to tapping into the engine’s true potential. By his calculations, adding turbos to this engine could boost power by well over 1000 hp at low boost.
Adding race gas and upping the boost, will of course exponentially raise the horsepower limit and Garvin believes his engine is more than capable of putting down over 5,000 horsepower in the right configuration. Let’s hope he keeps this thing in the water, shall we?
Check out the engine running and a low RPM dyno pull below from the Wankel madman.
For more on Tyson Garvin’s Frankenstein Ultimate Wankel, check out his Facebook page.