A KW Competition driver since Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014, Mad Mike Whiddett has set the internet alight with the unveiling of his latest project, Radbul.
We take 10 minutes with the Kiwi drift star and chat about the Formula Drift project.
Q: Where did the idea for MX-5 car build start?
A: The idea had been floating around in the back of my mind for a long time. In fact I found a sketch I had done the other day of a 4 rotor MX5 dated 2012! Then, when I signed a deal with Mazda it seemed a perfect time to make the dream a reality.
The build ideas morphed over the course of the project as new partners joined and different products became available. The final RADBUL product has surpassed my wildest dreams and I’m pumped to take this package to the states!
Q: Why did you make the switch to KW?
A: When I came into the world of drifting I thought the best set up was an ultra slippery car with lots of power, which is what the rest of the competition were doing. Pushing harder and faster each lap, the natural progression was to hunt for more grip to keep me on the track and execute higher speeds with more angle. Back then suspension set up was low on the priority list. It wasn’t until I began to compete internationally that I began to dig deeper. After some heavy research and many conversations with a lot of teams I decided I needed to up my suspension game.
My first experience of KW in competitive drifting was in 2010, working alongside Matt Powers I witnessed KW USA Technician Chris Marion setup Matt’s car. I was impressed with the adjustability of the hardware and care taken by the team to get it right. I’ve got a super experienced team around me that know how to set the car up to suit my aggressive style. All that was missing was the hardware to do it!
The KW units we have now offer a huge variety of adjustment and are just what we were searching for. Aside from that so many of the top drivers have proven KW to be a highly competitive solution. After meeting the team at Goodwood Festival of speed and seeing the product first hand it was a no brainer.
Q: How does the new KW suspension feel in testing?
A: We put the suspension into the car with the recommended base settings from KW, right out of the box. The units are bespoke for the Radbul project and with no previous experience with KW and no KW specialist in NZ the incredible suspension feel is a real testament to the skills of the guys in the motorsport department!
We haven’t even really scratched the surface of what the product technology is capable of, and I’m really excited to develop the setup through the season. With the base settings we have tested the car in both circuit and drift style driving, simulating fast, aggressive drift entries and flicks along with long sweeping corners pinned sideways with awesome results!
I’m now eager to get the car to the states where I will meet with Chris Marion (KW USA) and fine tune the settings to work more and our specific drift application. If this is the start the future is very promising!
Q: What are your goals for this year?
A: This years plans have started with a bit of a shake up, due to factors out of our control we missed Round 1 of Formula Drift in Long Beach. For us making a return to FD this season is all about learning the car and generating new data for the tracks. We’ll be shooting as hard as we can for podium spots while working with KW on setting up our brand new car, it’s exciting!
Look out for us at Round 2 of Formula Drift in Atlanta this weekend, the 8-9th May, the little Mazda is going to be making some serious tyre smoke!
Photos: Peter Kelly, Mad Mike