'Mad Mike' swaps Mazda for McLaren, and joins Quinn's GT assault
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New Zealand's most well-known drifter, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, will partner up with Hampton Downs and Highlands circuit-owner Tony Quinn for this weekend's opening round of the Australian GT Endurance Championship.
Whiddett made his well publicised debut in what the backwards-hat crowd label 'grip racing' last year, partnering Quinn's son Klark in the same McLaren for New Zealand's two rounds of the endurance series.
He was impressive, too; qualifying in the top 10 on debut at the Hampton Downs 101. Not a bad run for someone whose circuit-racing experience was limited to a few dabbles in karts, and a few training sessions with Shane van Gisbergen and Greg Murphy.
Whiddett's new challenge will now be adapting to the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit where this weekend's round will take place. It's a bit more open, flowing, and fast than either of the tracks he's raced on so far. He's also been out of the saddle for a while this year, barring appearances in Japan's Formula Drift series.
Will he stay on for the full calendar? That's still to be confirmed. The Quinns ran a variety of different co-drivers in both of their cars last season — many of them Kiwis, including Murphy, Whiddett, van Gisbergen, and Daniel Gaunt. Several other Kiwis will also line up this weekend, including Mercedes-AMG driver Dominic Storey and Maranello Motorsport Ferrari pilot Graeme Smyth.