‘Sup Speedhunters! It’s nice to finally have my feet back on home terra firma in New Zealand after some long travels over the past four weeks.
When I got a call saying we had an official invite to come and perform a drift demo at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed just out of London, I was super pumped. I couldn’t wait to showcase the speed, the style, the angle, the sound, the smell, the smoke and the precision driving skill that is required in our epic sport of drifting to a totally different demographic of people. But it wasn’t until I was sent the driver’s entry list that it truly sunk in as to how big of a deal this event is. Sir Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr., Richard ‘The King’ Petty, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Damon Hill, and Sébastien Loeb to name a few – they were all there. Equally impressive was the line up of machinery: cars from the 1800s to Group B rally, and NASCAR to current F1s. I can tell you that seeing my ’96 Mazda RX-7 listed amongst them sure looked out of place. We decided that this was the perfect event to unveil a fresh look for MADBUL.
So with less than two weeks between the D1NZ Grand Final here in New Zealand and the flight which would take MADBUL to London, it was all hands on deck at MM HQ as we stripped and transformed the RX-7 from Generation 5 to Generation 6 guise. It was nice to see the fresh look complete as we started to set up the Red Bull Racing booth on the hallowed grounds of Goodwood House.
The number of fans and spectators that turned out was crazy – around 150,000 each day.
The weather was perfect too, so it had all the makings of an epic three days. I remember being asked by so many people before my first run where the best place to stand to see drift donuts would be. I would answer just stand wherever you can see the track, as you will soon see that pro drifting is far from rarking up some donuts.
Nothing can describe the feeling of getting the green light at the start line, and all of my nerves and fears disappeared simultaneously. As you can see, there were many different ways to attack the first corner. Many would race as fast as they could to try and kill the record time to the top of the hill, while others would line-lock and just fill the air with burnt rubber. On my first run I approached it full #MaximumAttack!
I had walked the track the day before and I could see that the course (actually a driveway) was not going to be easy to drift. Being high speed, very narrow and off-cambered with next to no run-off was all concerning, but more so were the hay bales that lined its sides at close range. I could only imagine the disaster if the flame-throwing 4-rotor in MADBUL set one alight!
But this didn’t stop me from pushing hard. With only two runs per day for each driver there was no way I was going to cruise up the driveway to ‘feel it out’ with 150,000 sets of eyes on the track. I was 100 per cent focused, and being behind the wheel of MADBUL I felt totally confident.
Tyres destroyed I rolled back to base – something which was repeated five more times over the course of the event.Unmatched Atmosphere
The response from the crowd after that first run was mind blowing. I was greeted by thousands that came by our booth, and I enjoyed spending hours on end signing and talking about our sport and cars to a wide variety of people.
I am truly honoured to have such a rad job. Drifting takes me on travels around the world and I get to meet so many awesome people. But to be able to do this all with my family only drives me harder to push the limits of what we do. This here was a special moment, as the Plymouth Belvedere directly behind me was one of my son Linc’s favourite – mostly because of its #43 connection to the movie Cars, and its legendary driver, Richard Petty. Thinking it was the Roadrunner from the movie, Linc actually went up to him and said, “Excuse me Mr. The King, but why did you take the big wing off Dinoco?” Afterwards he just had to jump in MADBUL to lead ‘The King’ back to the pits after watching me shred my way up the hill faster than Dinoco. Too cute.
He also enjoys the cameras!
And something I don’t think he’ll ever forget, Linc got to sit in – and even fire up – many cars from the huge line up of famous machines.
He even got to meet ‘Cookie’ – the pilot of the Typhoon Jet that was performing at lunch. Linc thought it was sweet that he wanted to swap a ride in the jet for a hotlap in MADBUL. Any day!
There is only one way: #MaximumAttack!
Now knowing the track I could start cutting loose. I laughed to myself on the first run when I saw the marshals at the Malcome corner jumping for cover over the bales. I’m guessing that none of them had ever seen anyone fly through there fully sideways!
No hay bales alight – phew! Coming back down the hill, the cheers and applause from the crowd was incredible.
If only there was sound in this picture! The collective noise of a bunch of insane cars driving to the hot grid area, plus others being revved up and tuned in their pit bays, and at the same time a ’90s-era F1 going full throttle up the hill was amazing.
Of course, that included the naturally aspirated 26B 4-rotor chugging away on idle.The Greatest Show On Earth
Only at the Goodwood Festival of Speed will you see and hear such a variety of racing heritage, and so many world champions of so many different genres of motosport from past and present. No event comes close to the atmosphere of this place.
That there is 10.1 million dollars worth of automobile: a 1939 Mercedes-Benz W165 1.5-litre supercharged V8 about to be driven by none other than Sir Jackie Stewart.
Here I wasn’t only showing off MADBUL’s Kiwi-style 26B rotary heart, but also how we create so much steering lock to be able to push ridiculous angles while drifting.
The Mazda 767B 13G 4-rotor – this is the 1989 version that took 7th in Le Mans that year. Mazda later won the Le Mans in 1991 with the 787B powered by the 26B 4-rotor engine. These cars have inspired me and fueled my passion for rotaries for so many years now. If I had to pick one car to drive up the Goodwood hill, this would have to be first on the list, if only by a narrow margin…
Being a true Ayrton Senna fan, I’d give anything to feel the raw power, response, speed and sound from the 1.5-litre turbocharged V6 of the McLaren MP4/4 that took Senna to his maiden F1 title in 1988.
Another piloted by Senna – the Lotus-Renault 97, which was also powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged V6. In 1985 he lapped the entire field in the wet at Estoril, Portugal. Legend!
To a totally different discipline and one that I feel required the most balls-out and talented drivers of all time: Group B rally. The unlimited years brought mayhem but the most spectacular viewing of all motorsports. There are many cars from this catagory that I would love to pilot, however the Audi Quattro S1 is the one at the top of the rally list. In my opinion there is no better-sounding piston motor than these hard-boosted five-cylinder engines! It sure was epic to see this thing charge up the Goodwood property.
Looking at my list it seems the ’80s era is my favourite – this was a raw and real time with insane driver talent and vehicles without limits. It’s events like the Festival of Speed that allow us to get a taste of what it was all like through the eras that pushed the boundaries of motorsport to new extremes.
I enjoyed three incredible days of drifting the hill and completely immersing myself in motorsport heritage. I was probably near first to arrive and last to leave Goodwood every day! In the closing celebrations I was blown away to be presented an award from Lord March where the greats of motorsports stood lining the stage – making the best guard of honour. It was a surreal moment as they applauded my achievement. The award was for outstanding performance, car control and I was named as the revelation of the event.
After a long wait, at approximately 11:30pm our transport driver finally arrived to pick up MADBUL and some very special company.
That’s a fraction of my experience from the 2014 Festival of Speed, and for those of you that were there I hope you enjoyed my drifting display. If you are looking for one motorsport event to attend in the future, this has to be it. I must give a massive thanks to Red Bull UK and after just coming on board with Mazda I was stoked to see the huge presence they had at Goodwood. And thanks again Lord March for putting on such a kickass event!
Facebook: Mad Mike Whiddett
Photos by Jonathan Moore
Additional Photos by Mad Mike & Toni CookCutting Room Floor
This may be a stupid question, but do you think it would be possible to stage a drift competition on the hill?
JonathanW Yeah I was surprised by how close you can get to the cars, very cool event loads to see and do, Definitely need the entire weekend though!
nice write up man! watched you go up the hill on the sunday just wished i done the whole weekend now :(. was awesome to finally see (more importantly hear) the mad bull on uk soil. hope to see you there again next year
ToyotaSupraMan No, its too narrow and has long stretches in between corners.
s14nash Yeah killer man had a blast. The GAS area was sick too with the FMX, BMX and trials
Awesome write up mike. Suuuper keen to hit up goodwood one day. Cant wait for the d1nz to pick up though. And keen as to see the gen 6 madbul in person
MadMike Whiddett JonathanW Yeah just a day is hard to get around the place, weekend far better... doing it as a competitor with your family up close and involved must be off-the-scale cool, I am so jealous but really happy for you that you got the opportunity mate!
JonathanW MadMike Whiddett yeah I wanted to see more rally but due to the expansive site I only managed to get up to the woods once. Linc loved it, Red Bull had a simulator which had the Goodwood hillclimb on it so we had a blast on that over the weekend
Man i hope i See and hear your awsome RX7 sometimes. Greetings from germany...
MadMike Whiddett JonathanW The 3-4 times I've been on day ticket I've never really had time to check out the rally properly because I'm such a sucker for anything with aero...F1/Group C/GT/Prototype Le Mans cars have me transfixed, and there's no better chance to get so close to them!
My most favourite group B car would have to be the S4. Love the twin charged triflux engine, just love the car to bits!
That poor 767 went pop so didn't run on the sunday afternoon I witnessed the left over rubber on the track from your run, big ol' black snakes. Ive got a little box of leftover rubber marked "goodwood 2014" - if I couldn't take a car away with me I at least had some rubber and a very dirty hat from getting covered up at the rally stage on the last corner. dirt was flying everywhere! such a great weekend to witness and soak in.
only down point was Sennas' 190 merc. that car got no love at all as no one knew what it was. sad times.
This article - man, Mike ... life, you're doing it right.
As much I enjoyed watching your run via the internets and seeing the photos of the Ayrton Senna monsters the best part of this whole article - you doing all this with your son & family. I know my 5 year old woulda' been hamming it up with Mr. The King just like him. Those pics are what it's all about. Awesome read. Keep on pushing.
So digging this article, Mike. If the pictures looked this good, I can imagine how much better it looked to be there in person. Love the new look on MADBUL, too. Keep up the good work doing what you love with your family, Mike. Cheers!
I'd certainly agree that the '80s was the most exciting era for motorsports: Group B rally, turbo F1 with nearly 1000 hp and even IMSA as well as Trans Am.
Linc is a serious petrolhead there! Gotta love his reaction the Richard Petty's Plymouth. Hahaha!
One of the best articles ever on SH.
I agree with you. The s4 is awesome. Ugly but fantastic at the same time. I dont mean to be an ass, but the triflux engine is in the stillborn ECV1 successor and not in the s4. Its a shame vw was the one to produce a twincharged production engine (in the 1.4 fsi) and not the Fiat empire.
I did think when I wrote triflux, wasn't that's just in the awesome red and blue martini ECV1? well I was close none the less!
There are many annual car shows in the UK and after doing them for a couple of years I often find myself a bit bored... but the FoS is one of the exceptions. Every year there is both quality and quantity : you can be there for the full weekend and still miss stuff!
Great to read your review of the FoS. Knowing the course I was unsure how much drifting you could actually do; I was pleased to see (and hear!) you manage to tear up so much of the climb. As the first drifter to run at the FoS I thought you were a fantastic ambassador for the sport.
Now we've seen the BADBUL and MADBUL at Goodwood, perhaps you can bring the RADBUL next year?...
Great article. It was awesome to meet you at Goodwood Mike. You definitely stole the show, out of all the famous faces and cars the names I kept on hearing were Mad-Mike and his RX7. I hope you come back!
I wish you were my daddy, Mike. No homo.
Goodwood is unique, and this year you could watch it streamed over the web, so that was an added bonus. We where there on the Sunday, and mikes runs where epic. The Rx7 was inch perfect as it screamed up the hill, and the commentators where in awe as it slid and slided up the hill, leaving "bananas" of shreaded Nittos on Lord Marchs drive! Mazda never had it so good..... Such a hard core audience to demonstrate the legendary rotary in front of; think Mazda got loads of positive coverage, and there's only 1 question, bring another rotary on mazda!
Just saying, mikes new project is a mx5, no better time to release a rx powered mx5. Mike, you where the star amongst stars, and you did Red Bull proud. Only thing I'd disagree with is that mazda has a pretty rich racing heritage, so for me, think seeing a mazda entry was no surprise, and you where following in some pretty good rotary tire tracks. Bf Goodrich Lola, 787b all having run up the hill in previous events. Huge respect to Mike, Red Bull and Mazda; you couldn't have a better ambassador, keep it rota!
Awesome article as I sip my morning coffee. This event(either driving it or watching it) is definitely on my Adventure List. @http://www.livefyre.com/profile/11905119/, I know how your son feels when I sat in that black #3 years ago and even better when I got to drive one during my NASCAR classes. I love my V8's but all the more curious of the rotaries.
Keep up the awesome work and look forward to you latest creation.
Mike mate, you coming to WTAC Sydney this year? Would Love to see MADBUL tear it up!
Really great to see kids enjoying the cars. It's so important to get them involved and into the sport. I can still recall being a kid sitting in GT500s and Miuras across the street at the local college's car show. Amazing to see how far drifting has gone since the first D1GP event. Must be a great feeling to have a positive influence on so many people around the world both young and old. Keep it up Mike.
Jordan_Burgess Yeah it was awesome to tune into the FOS Radio on the way to the track in the morning and hear then talking about us everyday! Unreal
tbtstt I'm pumped to try and make something happen if Lord March will have me back for next year!
you on the hill was an absolute high point. and I'm even in the middle of the second pic (red hold stumt t-shirt ;-))
hope to see you again in goodwood, along with a couple of more drifters.
Jos Boesten Cheers man - I hope so too and nice cameo appearance!
Pete the perfect pilot Thanks Pete, I appreciate the sentiment for MADBUL fitting in. It certainly left an impression, I was bummed the 767B didn't run in the end but got to see it in the flesh!
jay8393 Richard Petty was a cool dude! Linc asks "How many piston cups Mr The King?" Which is also from CARS. He replies "7 buddy" Just about made Lincolns life haha
Benjamin Meyer Thanks man - check out the pic of Linc and Richard Petty above. He's a rad dude and an inspiration.
Martin_b13 I came to Germany for XGames in Munich nice spot there! Didn't have the RX7 with me though closest events would have been Gatebil Sweden or Players Classic in UK
TarmacTerrorist haha nice souvenir, Yeah I was bummed on the 767 was pumped to hear that rip. And I did see the Merc have some pictures of it on my personal camera somewhere......
Speechless! What an incredible meeting of different worlds. And the Cook Whiddetts belong there 110%!!!
It's quite amazing to see how much of an underground sport drifting is in the UK still. Those that are in the know seem to really know their stuff, but there are many that still aren't aware that drifting is a legitimate thing. You were a great ambassador for the sport! A drift event at Goodwood would de awesome, I'm sure they could find the space somewhere! Obviously not on the hill climb course, it's way too tight. Which made your run up the hill all the more impressive by the way! I think I said that to you on the day. I have a video of it that I took on the day and I've watched it over and over. Never gets old
kphillips9936 The second episode on RADBUL is about to drop stay tuned
Doomas Yeah mate I'll be there - you'll have to check out World Time Attack site to hear in which car though! They should announce it this week or next. Make sure you come over to our stand and say whats up.
MadMike Whiddett I come for Barcelona and my passion for your MadBul is very very big. BIG MADBUL. BIG MAD MIKE
Awesome write-up Mike! The atmosphere at Goodwood is incredible as you say, and it's insane how up close you can get to some amazing cars - I basically crawled into the diffuser of a Peugeot 905, and was able to have a close look at the construction of the composite doors on a Porsche GT1, and everyone is cool with all the poking around!
I wasn't able to go this year but have watched the youtube vids of your run - driving like you did up the hill takes an amazing balance of finesse and balls... you have my uttermost respect!
Well done for representing Drifting so well to a new audience, you definitely deserve that award.