Mazda New Zealand will be getting a healthy dose of madness over the coming year as they hitch a ride with drifting superstar Mike Whiddett.
Known to millions as ‘Mad Mike’, Whiddett has won drifting championship titles from all four corners of the globe, indisputably lives up to the title mad, and is now proudly supported by Mazda New Zealand.
Truly fanatical about Mazda, Mike currently pilots the MADBUL RX-7 and BADBUL RX-8, both of which have earned cult status of their own - fully customised from the ground up, they have been voted the world’s best looking drift cars.
Glenn Harris, General Manager, Vehicle Sales & Marketing at Mazda New Zealand says not only are they very proud to be supporting an international champion and gifted athlete but equally to be preserving the essence of Mazda’s brand spirit within this exciting motorsport arena.
“Mad Mike is a kiwi who has won hearts and minds not only here in New Zealand but around the globe, he’s recognised on the international stage as one of the world’s best drifters and we are stoked to be helping his drive for excellence.
“Sports cars are part of our DNA and still to this day our racing heritage shines through in our current vehicles, we cannot forget where we have come from and what makes Mazda unique. Mike is the full embodiment of the Mazda spirit,” says Harris.
A snapshot of Mike’s career highlights include numerous 1st place winnings at the NZDRIFT Nationals, 2nd at the 2013 International World Drift Challenge Sydney, 1st 2012 World Powerslide Champs Gatebil Norway and 1st overall at the 2009 Formula D Asia Pacific World Drift Champs in Thailand.
Whilst not a podium finish, one of Mike’s personal achievements could arguably be his best yet. Last year he ‘Conquered the Crown’ drifting the Crown Range’s 47 corners, 10.4km of cliff drops and hitting speeds of 232kmh – the footage of which attracted 2.9 million views in the first eight days.
Whiddett has now set his sights on developing another addition to the Mad Mike Motorsport garage. The aim is to have all three custom vehicles competing in the Formula Drift World Championship (held through USA, Japan, Asia and Australasia) and with the added support from Mazda he is now amped to do exactly that.
“I did my first engine conversion at 14 years old, was racing my first Mazda in 1999 and currently one of the only world champs flying the rotary flag. This partnership keeps me in the cars I love and makes me part of the Mazda family, a dream come true really,” explains Whiddett.
There are a number of components to the sponsorship arrangement, perhaps one of the most vital benefits for Mike and his team is access to genuine Mazda parts for MADBUL and BADBUL plus the integration into the global Mazda network.
“Not only are we going to be supporting Mad Mike from New Zealand, but we can now connect him and his goals with our colleagues and expertise across the Mazda global network. All of which will ensure he has the full horsepower of Mazda behind him,” adds Harris.
While Mike wishes he could be drifting 24/7, his day to day life is not best suited to one of his drifting RX’s. Mazda have equipped him with a BT-50 Arashi Limited Edition and Mazda6 Wagon; both which bear more than a little resemblance to the custom racecars.
“Needless to say it did not take long for Mike to add his own style to these vehicles,” jokes Harris. “It is very exciting working with a talented sportsman of Mike’s caliber and we are looking forward to being part of the journey.”
For more as it unfolds follow Mazda and Mad Mike:
Also join the 3.1 million that have already watched Mad Mike conquering the Crown Range at here