A few weeks back we were kindly invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed by our friends over at  @RedBullUK to spend the day with them and their team, including the one and only Mad Mike! After an awesome day at the event looking around all the cars and stands that were on offer we sat down with Mad Mike and asked him a few questions, the interview actually went on for a lot longer than we were thinking it would so here is little insight into the answers Mike gave to our questions but to read the full article scroll right down to the bottom of this page!

Check out ‘Mikes Misguided Tour’ Video here: https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/mad-mike-whiddett-misguided-tour-goodwood

How did you get in to drifting originally?

“It is a long story and it started pretty much from being 3 years old and the development of, like I have never met my father so i grew up with my mum and she rode horses so every weekend she should go riding and kinda drag me along and i had whether it was a little radio control car or bikes, so from young years I was crashing.”

“I got my first motorbike when I was 6. Mum bought me a little DS80 which is like Suzuki 2 stroke, 80cc, 5 speed, with a clutch – pretty advanced bike for a kid thats never ridden before and my mum had no idea how to even start it so i was self taught from day 1.”

“So my first car was a 1978 Mazda 323 and i paid $100 for it, then we found an RX7 with the rotary engine which had been crashed, I swapped a skate board and $100 for the engine and then we transplanted this rotary engine which had like hydraulic clutch and we just figured it all out.”

“Thats where the name Mad Mike came from actually, the commentators.”

2002 I compressed and fractured 4 vertebrae in my back, ruptured all the discs and I got told id be paralysed for life”

“I had an old1970s Mazda RX3 burn out car, my buzz then was to go to burn out comps, 20 by 20 metre concrete pad and just go out there and pop your tires. i would go out there and use every millimetre of the cars i would hop out the car and do a burn out standing outside”

“2006 was when I actually discovered drifting as a sport”

“I had to ship the car out of New Zealand, borrowed money from wherever we could it was pretty much a 30k exercise to get the car into a container and to California. I went out there and qualified for the top 16 and that set the name Mad Mike into stone in the drifting community.”

“The following year Formula Drift they went to Asia, qualified first and finished third and when i came back i had an email from Red Bull saying ‘come and talk money, welcome to the family’ and that was like my second year drifting.”

“2009 I qualified third but won the Asian Pacific Formula Drift Championship.”

“Next year is 10 years with red bull, i have been able to tick off a lot of dreams and conquer a lot of stuff.”

“One thing I love about doing these video clips with red bull is not being judged, you know you’re going to get millions of views so you want to impress your fans and get them pumped on it and I get to showcase my style of drifting and get to express my driving style and my personality in this clips.”

“South Africa ‘Conquer the crown’ was a lot of planning, really our first big one, day before every corner ‘This is where i’m going to put my rear tyre’.”

‘Out of your competition’s which one is your favourite? From my point of view you seem to care more about the Japanese drift championships?’

“In Japan most of the owners actually own the cars, and I just like the driving style, the tracks I enjoy more i like the passion the driving stye the flare and the excitement of the drivers in Japan.”

“It’s cool just being there from when I first discovered drifting and watching these DVD’s to now competing and actually beating those guys is actually crazy.”

“In NZ our plates can only have 6 characters so thats why the BULL only has 1 L on all the cars so its just based on our partnership… There’s MAD BUL, BAD BUL, RA D BUL, MUD BUL, RUM BUL, LIL BUL (trolley GP car).”

‘You’ve always had cars and petrol heads in your life, so if you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?’

“Yeah ok, so my trade is actually sign writing. So all the stickers and all the designs on all my cars i do my self. I’m the only Red Bull Athlete globally that actually deigns everything, even my race suits, my helmets, i design the whole lot and I really really enjoy it.”

‘So out of all of your builds, which was your favourite’

“I’ve actually got them both here this weekend, so this is by FAR the most scary. It’s just such a wild car to drive, so short, so much grip, but it was build for a purpose, it was built for a world championship, it was built for the worlds best and with a car thats only had a year of development, and thats only been taken out 7 times to the rounds, we’re only developing it at the events because we just don’t have the time, so to come away with 3rd in the world last year was a real achievement for the whole team and it still scares me to this day, every time i put my put down its so fast and so much grip to have that there.”

‘Supercharger or Tubro’

“I’m actually an NA guy. Hands down an NA guy, this is obviously needed for the championship we needed the power so this motor is like in the RX7 which we ran for the last 2 years produced 537hp at the wheels, same motor Mazda won Le Mans with in 1991 but this runs more power with technology now and injectors and bigger fuel rails etc. so thats my favourite motor because you have to drive the car, its not like crazy power but the amount of grip its like a 125 2 stroke motocross bike you can be fast but you have to be so precise in every gear its precision driving.”

“Where this is a twin turbo 4 rotor with only 19lbs boost its 1200hp at the tyres, so its scary fast and obviously big power and reliable.”

“Another thing i’ll mention is the fact of the building of the cars, so 100% I design the cars like whats going to happen like from the wheels the body kits the aero the graphics the whole lot and then we work, we have an awesome team that assembles it and puts it all together.”

“Like for me the actual drifting and going out and putting on a show is only like 50% of the fun, the building up the car and all the hype with social media, the teasing pics, with a wheel coming in, little bit of a guard that we’ve just designed and then to revealing it and then people and the fans seeing it for the first time… thats like the ultimate buzz right there”

“Yeah I mean we could easily go and buy an S Chassis buy the same knuckles and i’d probably be more competitive on the track and in the competitions but for me its more about the whole package and the fun of it all.”

That sums up our quick quotes from the Mad Mike interview, if you’d like to read the whole article (we’d really recommend you do) please keep scrolling…

PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR FULL ARTICLE

How did you get in to drifting originally?

“It is a long story and it started pretty much from being 3 years old and the development of, like I have never met my father so i grew up with my mum and she rode horses so every weekend she should go riding and kinda drag me along and i had whether it was a little radio control car or bikes, so from young years i was crashing. I used to have like those little plastic trikes you have when you are like 2/3 years old i used to ‘oook’ it down the driveway and then turn right and just bail out onto the neighbours lawn, thats kinda where it all started, my mum gave me a lot of freedom.

I got my first motorbike when I was 6. Mum bought me a little DS80 which is like Suzuki 2 stroke, 80cc, 5 speed, with a clutch – pretty advanced bike for a kid thats never ridden before and my mum had no idea how to even start it so i was self taught from day 1.

Through my young years I got into racing and motocross, through my teens i got very competitive at that, I was 2nd in the New Zealand nationals in my mid teens but then it got too expensive for my mum with new tyres, clutch plates and all the maintenance to keep it going at a competitive level so I gave up, but from the ages of 13 I had my first rotary.

In New Zealand summer holidays is Christmas Holidays so you’d get surf boards for christmas, go away for Summer days to all the beaches and bays. The teenagers would be rolling around in Rotary’s and that was when i first heard one, when I was like 8/9 years old and I got hooked on the sound straight away, I thought ‘one day man i’m gonna be like those bad ass boys causing a scene.’

So by the time I got to 13, I liked old Mazdas, we had this local paper. I would buy the paper on Thursday go to the $1500 and under section and you could buy like an old Mazda 323 or 626, rear wheel drive like 70s era for like $100!

So my first car was a 1978 Mazda 323 and i paid $100 for it, then we found an RX7 with the rotary engine which had been crashed, I swapped a skate board and $100 for the engine and then we transplanted this rotary engine which had like hydraulic clutch and we just figured it all out.

I didn’t have a dad telling me ‘you are not doing this’ so i kinda ran a muck a little bit through my teens.

After I stopped motocross I discovered these Crusty Demons in the states, I was always a bit of a showoff in motocross so i thought yeah i can do all these tricks so for 3-4 years I rode doing freestyle motocross in New Zealand and a few demos in Australia too.

Thats where the name Mad Mike came from actually, the commentators. I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn’t a farm boy I didn’t have jumps set up or practice ramps I would just learn everything on the day. I broke nearly every bone in my body, my left legs all reconstructed with titanium rods, bones sticking out my arms, compound fractures all the time, knocked out over 10 times and i had over 20 concussions.

2002 I compressed and fractured 4 vertebrae in my back, ruptured all the discs and I got told id be paralysed for life – I was actually only paralysed for 8 hours and it was the swelling that had pinched the nerves in my spine. That was a massive eye opener, I didn’t even care about the money, I was being paid like $500 which i thought was pro back then, i just wanted to go out there and be mad mike and be an idiot and put on a show and have fun, it was like the adrenaline and that fear that i thrived for.

After the big crash I got back into the cars, like seriously, i also met my now fiancee Toni, she’s really into cars so we were building show cars for her and she was winning all sorts of stance Trophies at all the big shows in New Zealand. I had an old1970s Mazda RX3 burn out car, my buzz then was to go to burn out comps, 20 by 20 metre concrete pad and just go out there and pop your tires. i would go out there and use every millimetre of the cars i would hop out the car and do a burn out standing outside. Rotary C Class Mercedes full air ride, Louis Vuitton Paint.

2006 was when I actually discovered drifting as a sport, I mean I had been drifting since I was like 10 years old so i had the technique but it wasn’t until my early 20s that i discovered the sport. i built the drift car and got straight into it, my second event ever i got 2nd place, my third event was the D1GP one of the best championships in the world and they were doing this USA vs JAPAN in California world all stars event, they came to the uk, to Europe, to New Zealand, Australia as a drivers search and they put on this drift event and the top 4 received this plastic licence to say ‘you have now qualified for Japan vs USA event in California’. i had to ship the car out of New Zealand, borrowed money from wherever we could it was pretty much a 30k exercise to get the car into a container and to California. I went out there and qualified for the top 16 and that set the name Mad Mike into stone in the drifting community.

The following year Formula Drift they went to Asia, qualified first and finished third and when i came back i had an email from Red Bull saying ‘come and talk money, welcome to the family’ and that was like my second year drifting.

The way Red Bull work is that they’ll follow someone for a couple of years before they sign them up because they look right into the family and everything, they would rather build a world champion than sponsor a world champion. So they had actually started following be in motocross so when i did the transition they were like ‘woah he’s drifting’, it just worked out perfect.

2009 I qualified third but won the Asian Pacific Formula Drift Championship.

Then since then its been up to me to be the creator and being creative because the whole ‘Red Bull gives you wings” is flying with ideas, to the public its like yeah its an energy drink it gives you wings in perks you up but also they fly ideas, they sponsor all of the craziest athletes and the next best thing. I have challenged myself doing crazy hill climbs, building this car to even my event ‘The Red Bull Drift Shifters’ where its all electronically scored no judges etc.

Next year is 10 years with red bull, i have been able to tick off a lot of dreams and conquer a lot of stuff.

The biggest advice i have to anyone is that anyone can dream and anyone can make it happen, everyone is given pretty much the same opportunity but if you can dream it you can make it happen and i am proof that you don’t have to come from money or existing family in motorsport. i must be that 1%. no one in the family into motorsport.

I used to groove my own tyres on my motocross bike, id get a car battery, hook up and wire and wear these leather gloves and the wire would turn red hot and i would cut the sharp edge back on my tyres.

This year we release the mad mike drift camp so its like a drift school which we are really pumped about. Drift Force another thing I’m doing fun track days in New Zealand.

One thing I love about doing these video clips with red bull is not being judged, you know you’re going to get millions of views so you want to impress your fans and get them pumped on it and I get to showcase my style of drifting and get to express my driving style and my personality in this clips. Secondly the fear and the focus, on these drift race tracks they’re pretty safe environment if you slide off, sand traps etc. I crashed this car second lap in on the reveal, I don’t know if you’ve seen my documentary ‘The Mad Life’ which we only released least year. Put  my self in hospital urinating blood fully knocked out it was a bad crash but if the safety wasn’t there it would have been game over because you’re going off a cliff. So thats where the focus comes from, every little noise in the car, the trust and not just with the car but with the whole team everyone that touches a sinner and wrenches on the car its just really really rewarding to be able to pull off these and then you know have the respect and the fans be bale to see some really cool stuff. And being able to go and drift along some of these roads.

South Africa ‘Conquer the crown’ was a lot of planning, really our first big one, day before every corner ‘This is where i’m going to put my rear tyre’.”

‘Out of your competition’s which one is your favourite? From my point of view you seem to care more about the Japanese drift championships?’

Theres a lot more money in the US Championship’s and a lot of the owners don’t own the cars, so you have a team manager who finds the best of everyone for the team. So there is a lot of pressure because you don’t have a car.

Whereas in Japan most of the owners actually own the cars, and I just like the driving style, the tracks I enjoy more i like the passion the driving stye the flare and the excitement of the drivers in Japan and we have a really solid package with Kuato from Majip who built the car, the car is unreal. It’s cool just being there from when I first discovered drifting and watching these DVD’s to now competing and actually beating those guys is actually crazy.

‘Ok so is that the black drift car that was built?’

Yeah it’s called ‘Humble’ so all the cars we build are named after a bull which all started from my partnership with RedBull. So in NZ our plates can only have 6 characters so thats why the BULL only has 1 L on all the cars so its just based on our partnership… There’s MAD BUL, BAD BUL, RA D BUL, MUD BUL, RUM BUL, LIL BUL (trolley GP car).

‘You’ve always had cars and petrol heads in your life, so if you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?’

Yeah ok, so my trade is actually sign writing. So all the stickers and all the designs on all my cars i do my self. I’m the only Red Bull Athlete globally that actually deigns everything, even my race suits, my helmets, i design the whole lot and I really really enjoy it. I was doing both before i got picked up by Red Bull, like to fund the drifting i would get up at 5:30am, climb tree’s til 5:30pm, 12 hour shift cutting tree’s down so really hard work then i’d leave work and go straight into the fabricating shop because we had a fab shop, I was still doing some dirt bike stuff making ramps, learning how to weld and fabricate, working on the trucks, i’d do that until about 9:30pm, then i’d get home and then my trade was sign writing, so then i’d do 9:30 -midnight making stickers etc. I did that for like 2 years non stop just to be able to fund to be able to get the tyres and the gas to be able to go see my mates and go drifting and spend a Saturday at the track it was crazy but I had the passion. So now I really get to sign write is my own stuff and I still really enjoy it, well and my son’s stuff, he races dirt bikes he races the trophy carts and i love sign writing all his stuff.

Thats the coolest now having a 9yr old son who I’ve never once pushed into anything, so when i used to race motocross, because i’ve never met my father at racing i was never pushed, but i would see guys i was racing against and I was beating them, or even if they beat me but they’re old man would be shouting at them and it looks like their kids aren’t having fun with their dads yelling down their neck the whole time so with Lincoln, as much as I would want him to race motorcars from the get go, i was like ‘I never want to be that dad that pushes him into racing’ and um yeah 2 years old i bought him a dirt bike, and he’s never once said he wanted to race it and he’s 9 now. [ 8:08 ]

He did come to the states in 2010 he saw the trophy carts and said ‘DAMN i want to race one of them’  i got him on, we went out, he flipped it first time we went out, crashed through all the fibreglass body i was freaking out and he was sweet as about it and carried on racing rest of the day. On the way home he was like ‘DAD I wna race my truck’ so it was so cool to like have him say that he wants to race and now he’s so passionate about it, he’s picked up like Hot Wheels out of USA and GO Pro, he’s got like nearly 20k followers and he’s like 9 years old but he’s just loves it and because we manage the whole programme our selves between me and toni from being born every big meeting whether its with Red Bull or with Mazda, he’s there in the meeting whether he’s absorbing it or what ever so now he’s learnt so many skills for him self.

Plus he’s been to Goodwood twice so he’s met some of his hero’s like Richard Petty, and that was all from the Cars movie its really really cool.

‘So out of all of your builds, which was your favourite’

I’ve actually got them both here this weekend, so this is by FAR the most scary. It’s just such a wild car to drive, so short, so much grip, but it was build for a purpose, it was built for a world championship, it was built for the worlds best and with a car thats only had a year of development, and thats only been taken out 7 times to the rounds, we’re only developing it at the events because we just don’t have the time, so to come away with 3rd in the world last year was a real achievement for the whole team and it still scares me to this day, every time i put my put down its so fast and so much grip to have that there.

And this is the new toy which I have just been really enjoying and obviously we just released the cli this morning of taking monty around the whole state and that was a really fun project and this again  goes with the whole off road thing which is another opportunity which started from goodwood, so i met Robbie Gordon who is one of the top american off road racing who races trucks and he was pitted across from us like 2 years ago he saw me drift up Lord Marshes driveway and he was like ‘DAMN i need to get you driving one of my trucks’ so I was racing in California and he was there and said yeah jump in my truck, went out there qualified 2nd, and first time ever racing stadium trucks, i mean I was hooked from my motocross days and drifting i mean this is like both and you don’t just do 3 corners and you’re tyres are gone you’re ripping this thing for like hours the guys put gas in it we did 2 days straight filming with lord March and Monty his butler in the passenger seat it was just insane. and you can be rough and abusive you know, i mean these cars are strong, but you’re judged with such precision to the mm scraping walls and with this you can just bash jumps and cut corners and put your mates in it the same with the drift cars i suppose.

Thats the coolest thing about it not just your friends and families but you can get all your sponsors and partners and they can do ride days and other people experience.

Now I’ve traveled the world and i’ve never once hopped on a plane without my helmet so the sport of drifting has taken me around the world and we’re now at the worlds most historic prestigious motor sporting event and you see the craziest vehicles and you see so much stuff thats inspired me back in the day and  Iten Senners vehicles and we’re actually revealing a helmet which Red Bull had done for me which is Orten Senna tribute red Bull helmet.

‘Supercharger or Tubro’

I’m actually an NA guy. Hands down an NA guy, this is obviously needed for the championship we needed the power so this motor is like in the RX7 which we ran for the last 2 years produced 537hp at the wheels, same motor Mazda won Le Mans with in 1991 but this runs more power with technology now and injectors and bigger fuel rails etc. so thats my favourite motor because you have to drive the car, its not like crazy power but the amount of grip its like a 125 2 stroke motocross bike you can be fast but you have to be so precise in every gear its precision driving.

Where this is a twin turbo 4 rotor with only 19lbs boost its 1200hp at the tyres, so its scary fast and obviously big power and reliable. we ran the whole season on the same motor in the states but yeah I’m an NA guy. Brings back my roots from when I was a teenager, being able to put cars together for $200 like that RX7 I told you about before its like an NA RX7 motor into a 323 its just good run you know you just had to drive it like ‘BWAAP’ big clutch kicks.

Another thing i’ll mention is the fact of the building of the cars, so 100% I design the cars like whats going to happen like from the wheels the body kits the aero the graphics the whole lot and then we work, we have an awesome team that assembles it and puts it all together.

Like for me the actual drifting and going out and putting on a show is only like 50% of the fun, the building up the car and all the hype with social media, the teasing pics, with a wheel coming in, little bit of a guard that we’ve just designed and then to revealing it and then people and the fans seeing it for the first time… thats like the ultimate buzz right there, thats just as rewarding as any trophy that i could possibly win you know? If you get the fans support. And when they’re like ‘What are you doing Mike man, i’m your number 1 fan but what you doing an MX5 for?!’ and then i’m like just wait you know and then i bring it out and they’re like ‘Oh my god thats sick’ so yeah I just like always to keep stepping it up its cool to just go outside the box and do one off stuff and as a team we like that challenge and trying to learn. ‘It’s good to be different’

Yeah I mean we could easily go and buy an S Chassis buy the same knuckles and i’d probably be more competitive on the track and in the competitions but for me its more about the whole package and the fun of it all.

Thats it for our Mad Mike interview, massive thanks to @RedBullUK, hope you enjoyed it and we’ll be seeing him again soon! 

Check out ‘Mikes Misguided Tour’ Video here: https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/mad-mike-whiddett-misguided-tour-goodwood