Monday, 12 September 2016

"Mad" Mike Whiddett to make GT racing début

Drifting superstar "Mad" Mike Whiddett will make his GT racing début next month, driving a McLaren in the Australian GT championship.

Whiddett, who has become famous all over the world for his sideways antics in his fleet of highly-modified Mazdas, will race in the Hampton Downs 101 event on the last weekend of October, before heading to Highlands Motorsport Park in November for the Highalands 101.

The New Zealander will race alongside double Australian GT champion Klark Quinn in a GT3-spec McLaren.

"I'm definitely very excited to get behind the wheel of a GT," Whiddett told "The McLaren is a piece of equipment. I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel and learning some new techniques."

"It has helped a lot," he said. "I probably push a little hard so one of the key things he has been telling me is to slow down. If you slow down you can go faster around and faster out of the corner. I am used to be very responsive with the steering - I am aggressive with the wheel, aggressive with the brakes and it upsets the car too much."

"We have actually started with a little front wheel drive Corolla, which is no more than 100 horsepower, which is the last car I thought I would be driving. It has been good to learn a few of the basics in that though."

Whiddett has been preparing for his maiden foray into racing by spending time with Supercars race winner and seasoned GT campaigner Shane Van Gisbergen.

Van Gisbergen, who has also competed in drift events, is a factory McLaren driver and currently sits top of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup standings with one event to go. That event will take place this weekend at the Nurburgring, although he will miss it owing to his Supercars commitments and will be replaced by Duncan Tappy.

Speaking of his work preparing Whiddett for circuit racing, Van Gisbergen was full of praise for his compatriot.

"He is good," he said. "It is easier to slow someone down than it is to speed them up. Obviously he is not scared. He just needs to get smoother and work on a few braking bits."

"I find the same when I go drifting. The first thing I do when racing is as soon as a find the car sliding I correct it where he lets it slide," he added. "It is just our instincts are different. When I go drifting I have to remember let it hang out a bit."

"But the natural talent is so high - he'll be fine after a little bit of coaching," he added. "He's in a good car with Klark so he will be fine."

Images: Getty Images, Graeme Murray, Red Bull Content Pool

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