Mad Mike Whiddett has more Facebook followers than any other Kiwi sportsman and is a worldwide star, proving that unlike most forms of motorsport, drifting has allowed him to make something from nothing.

Whiddett is putting on the Mad Mike Summer Bash at Hampton Downs on Saturday, which will be the country's biggest drifting event.

The 36-year-old Aucklander is hoping to reward his local fans by competing at the event but also to attract a wider audience to drifting both as spectators and competitors.

He points to his own story as the best example of how someone with limited resources can build a motorsport career from next to nothing.


"The general route of success in motorsport would see you start off in karting and then Formula Fords and I don't even know the process of what that ladder is to get to the pinnacle," he said.

"I have proven that drifting opens massive opportunities. I grew up with a very limited budget, just with my mum, and I was just a kid with a massive dream and a lot of passion.

"We were drifting in paddocks or on gravel roads - this was before the internet. We would have a Trade & Exchange and we would finish school and go and buy a Mazda 626 or 323 that was rear-wheel drive and we would be away laughing.

"You learn the technique really fast."

It was around the time Whiddett was in his teens that the sport of drifting really began.

"Drifting has been around ever since cars have been in existence but [the Japanese] glamorised the whole sport in the mid-1990s. They turned it into this circus.

"You could show up to a drift event and you didn't have to have the fastest lap times or the fastest car with the biggest budget. It was more about the character and the personality of the driver and the car combined. It was more about the show element.

"I had these cars and we were thrashing them in the paddocks and heard about this D1NZ - New Zealand's drifting championship. I went along and myself and my fiancee looked at each other and thought we could do this. That is where it all started in 2006.


"We built a car ourselves and now we are supported by some of the world's biggest brands.

"That is what drifting has done - it has opened opportunities for anyone that doesn't have a huge budget to not have to go through ... all these stepping stones of racing - you just show up with what you've got and create this personality and character."

Whiddett hopes his rags to riches story can inspire a new generation of drift stars starting this weekend at the Summer Bash.

"The last couple of years, I have had such a massive focus on the Formula D world championship and so had very little time in New Zealand," Whiddett said. "We have a huge fan base back here ... so the Summer Bash is all about the fans being able to see our world championship car compete here ... and a good opportunity for the pros here in New Zealand.

"As much as I'm always chasing the toughest competition, I still love battling my fellow Kiwi buddies and [it'll be] really cool to get back on track with them.

"And for the spectator - bringing a whole lot of excitement - there is even a chance for fans to get amongst it. Mazda have got a couple of brand new MX5s ... on a little gymkhana course and fans can jump in and challenge themselves and get a time and drift around this gymkhana course."