‘Mad Mike’ joins Aussie GT series with help from SVG
Sideways superstar defects to grip-racing world for Australian GT enduros
Drifting star Mad Mike Whiddett has been seeking some expert help as he prepares to contest the Hampton Downs 101 and Highlands 101 later this year.
Whiddett, who is currently second in the Formula Drift world championship standings, got some time with V8 Supercars star Shane Van Gisbergen last week before jetting out to the latest round of the series in Texas.
It has been confirmed the 35-year-old will drive alongside Klark Quinn in a McLaren at Hampton Downs on the last weekend of October and at Highlands November 11-13.
"I'm definitely very excited to get behind the wheel of a GT," Whiddett tells nzherald.co.nz.
"The McLaren is a piece of equipment. I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel and learning some new techniques."
Whiddett had a full day working with van Gisbergen, who lies second in the Supercars championship at present, around learning to "drive straight" in race mode.
The STIX McLaren 650S, pictured at Highlands Motorsport Park in 2015. Photo / Matthew Hansen
"It has helped a lot," Whiddett says. "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."
Van Gisbergen, who will be one of the favourites to win the Sandown 500 this week, says Whiddett has the natural skill to be successful.
"He is good," van Gisbergen explains. "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. 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's in a good car with Klark so he will be fine."