Motorsport: Mad Mike happy with circuit racing debut

By Dale Budge

Mad Mike Whiddett speaks to his engineer during the Hampton Downs 101. Photo / Matthew Hansen
Mad Mike Whiddett speaks to his engineer during the Hampton Downs 101. Photo / Matthew Hansen

Drifting star Mad Mike Whiddett impressed in his circuit racing debut at the Hampton Downs 101 across the weekend.

Whiddett, who shared Klark Quinn's McLaren, was able to match times posted by the fulltime drivers and looked at home behind the wheel of a standard race car.

He says he's definitely keen to do more now he has a taste of it.

"This has got me hooked," a beaming Whiddett told herald.co.nz after the race.

"These cars are just amazing - whether you are looking at these cars at the showroom in Auckland City or see them at Goodwood Festival of Speed but to race them in full fury is just unreal.

"That was intense. I always say drifting is intense because you only have three or four corners and one little mistake and you are back in the trailer but to stay focused for that amount of time is challenging."

"The car was really easy to drive through practice and qualifying but once you have banged out 20 laps the thing starts getting heavy.

"The team said we were really good staying consistent with our times.

"I had a few little moments going in and out of the corners but managed to pull it off. I managed to charge from 16th to sixth at one point."

Whiddett even managed to call on his drifting experience to exploit some weakness in his
opposition.

"With drifting you memorize the track. I memorize the track a lot blind. I count numbers and look for reference points for when I come off the throttle.

"When it came to yellows and re-starts I found all the cars were like sheep - one car makes a mistake and the guy behind would already be committed and have to do the same but I was already thinking that corner should be now and so there would be a gap and I would just punch in."

The biggest challenge for the Red Bull drift star came when he was trying to make passing maneuvers during the race but he got it right for the most part.

"All our passes were really clean.

"The biggest moment I probably had was with Tony [track and series owner Tony Quinn] - the one person you definitely don't want to take out of the race.

"Someone had gone off that lap and there was dirt on the track and I got a lot of understeer but I managed to get around with no contact but I felt a little bad there for a moment."

- NZ Herald

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