Mad Mike Conquers Highlands: The 360° RADBUL Experience

Mad Mike Whiddett’s 2015 season return to the FD USA championship couldn’t have played out any better given he brought an untested, and somewhat ambitious drift machine to the party. Stuffing a 26B quad-rotor twin-turbo rotary engine good for more than 1000whp into a stripped-out Mazda MX-5/Miata weighing around 1,000kg sounded crazy enough on paper, but to actually see this creation come to life and prove to be competitive right out of the gate was impressive.

In launching RADBUL to the world, shooting a video at Highlands Motorsport Park in Otago, New Zealand (not all that far from where Red Bull’s 2013 clip Conquer the Crown was shot) was all part of the plan, and a couple of weeks ago it finally came to fruition.

Given its power-to-weight ratio, RADBUL was always going to be fast, but it’s something that Mike quickly had to adapt to in Formula Drift Pro competition. Highlands is a quick circuit, and in the clip above you get a true sense of the car’s crazy speed as Mike unleashes all of its fury.


If it looks fast from outside the car though, you can bet that it’s even more insane from within.

Now, thanks to a follow-up clip from Red Bull released today, a sense of that can be felt by putting you in control of a 360° camera mounted on top of the rollcage. The result? Well, you can find out for yourself by pressing play above and then using the controller to alter the view.

The Speedhunters

Photos by Red Bull / Miles Holden



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I find it fascinating to see how much modern professional drifters rely on hand braking despite having more power and more innovation than any drifters prior to this generation. 

Watch this video of Ueo in an 86 making a quarter of the power if that of what modern drifters are using and you don't see him touch the hand brake once. I see absolutely no one in this genre of motorsport driving at this level anymore. When drifting returns to this I will be a fan again


I remember when you actually had to have balls to drift instead of a hand brake and 1000hp


It doesnt take balls to drift a 1000hp 1000kg car?!?!?!


Luis2247 What's implied is that although it does take quite a level of skill to compete at this level with a car like rad bull.
It take's a greater level of skill and commitment (balls) to drift a car well with a lot less power, un like Radbul, where you can make corrections with the hand brake, and dig yourself out of mistakes with absurd amounts of power.


@Dafternator Professional drifting will never return to that style of driving,you simply cannot compete with the way pro cars are built in this day and age. 

Its nice to be nostalgic about the way drifting used to be,and sure,at a grassroots level its tons of fun to throw a lightweight/underpowered car around at will,but when there is big sponsorship money involved at this level you need every advantage you can get.

Do you really think a little AE86 with a 4AGE could drift the banked walls at the events for Formula D (which is what this car is built for) ??? You would get a 3rd of the way into the corner and lose the drift/speed required,simply because you lack the torque and grip.

Horses for courses really.

I would love to see Mad Mike thrashing around in a 13bPP powered AE86,Im sure he has the skills (much like any of the pro drivers) to drive like Ueo.


You missed the point. It's not that the current drivers/cars aren't going faster or driving tracks you couldn't with a car from 10 years ago. It's the style/skill of the current drives @Dafternator is referring to.
I wouldn't necessarily 100% agree with him, but It's a different skill, and one with arguably less relevance.
Drift cars used to be basically tuner cars, and set up in a way most people in developed countries could eventually emulate.
Now, at least in FD.. well yeah. It's still kinda cool. But it's lost its roots.

P.S I like the car, and the video, and am in awe of the driving :)


Road racer here, but this thing is spectacular!  Gotta love it!  I hope Speedhunters does more on this car.


ADimitriRoumeliotis WeAreDying @Dafternator with cars now having all these big angle kits and yes the power and different judging criteria....isn't that partly the reason the style has had to change? I'd like to think that if put in a simple *insert lower/under powered car* here these guys would be able to drift it just as well


@Dafternator "Balls to drift"? you clearly know very little about Mad Mike and whats involved in driving at his level. Watch some of his other videos such as drifiting the Crown Range in New Zealand in his RX7 and then ask yourself whether he has balls to drift


Very awesome.


@Dafternator Maybe you should watch the video again cause he uses the handbrake at 0:33


annnnnnnnnnnd the keyboard racers are out


@Dafternator tru that!! nowadays these people drift with 1300horsepower on 22" wheels. utter nonsense


This isnt drifting yo, this is just doing a burnout around a bend. Tires shudnt be smoke like that -> purposeful waste of power.


@open your eyes There's only two drift cars like that. Daigo Saito's HKS R35 GTR and Robbie Nishida's FNATZ R35 GTR on 21" rims. Your statement implies that everyone does it


what the clear part is for?  top of windscreen?


@turbo BEAMS ae86 Wind deflectors, helps to keep smoke out of the car


Holla atcha boi "This isnt drifting yo, this is just doing a burnout around a bend."


RADBUL is definitely my favorite build of his, and of everything currently running in FD.


LouisYio Holla atcha boi 
Can i aks a question? Does the guy who built this thinks its faster to
be spinning them tires like that, or does he just gta burn tires to look cool cus he can buy more




He does use the handbrake in that video. He's also at a faction of the speed Mad Mike is at. Do you have any idea how big Highlands actually is, how big the innitial sweeper is. A 4AG AE86 would never even make it half way around that corner. Mike linked the whole bloody track. To do that, using the handbrake to scrub speed on entry is a perfectly legit technique. Your typical Ueo video is great, but selective....find videos from the same era of them doing entries at Autopolis, and they all use the handbrake.
The handbrake is a tool in your drifting handbag. It has its time and place, but simply saying "don't use handbrake" because you saw someone on a forum say that you get more cool points that way is rediculous.
Go back and watch Drift Bible. DK has no problem telling people to use the handbrake as a starter technique, and more importantly, to use it subtley so as not to alert the judges, but enough that it helps make corrections. He says that he used to do that when he was competing.
Sure, executing a drift with no handbrake is badass, and looks cool. But when you're talking about linking an entire track, and one that you haven't had years to practice on, expecting Mad Mike to not use the handbrake is rediculous and indicates that you don't really know much about drifting.


Now THIS is a drift video. Very well done!!! Whoever edited this finally got the message. Slow the transitions down a little, use longer clips, and use camera angles which actually show the terrain the car is navigating. I can't stand videos that don't give the viewer a chance to "place the car on the track" so to speak, instead showing a montage of tire smoke and full lock with no context.
Highlands is a beast of a track!! I just finished watching the final round of the Aussie GT championship from there...this vid made me love the track even more.
Mike should rip up Philip Island next!!


Holla atcha boi LouisYio do you know what drifting is? its pretty much exactly like doing a burnout around a bent. im guessing you're just trolling here. and drifting is not the fastest way to get around a corner its the most fun way to do it


These new 360 videos are absolutely mind-blowing. Wanna watch behind? Sure! Watch the driver? ok! So.Damn.Cool.

Hats off to MM as usual. Dude truly lives the dream and keeps sharing it with us.
And you fanbois with Ueo's video, as I've said before, can fade off with your 200hp style and long-gone 3-competitive-cars 2002 D1GP fantasy. It's not coming back, it wasn't as cool as you thought, and you weren't there. You are here now and these drivers are skilled beyond belief and constantly harping on the past does nothing but insult the many years they put into their driving. Not to mention the fact that all these modern drivers saw Ueo's videos and were inspired by them too.

The hate and disrespect is real. I give massive respect to those that founded the sport and made drifting what it is. The early years on kart tracks, the dock sessions, Dori's old vids, Sekia Hills and Bihoku. I also have massive respect for the 2nd coming, Kowabata, Suenaga and Kumakubo battling it out in the first horsepower wars and Nomuken linking the drop at Ebisu for the first time. But that doesn't mean I crap all over Gitten for beating D1GP at their biggest international event, or Mad Mike and his continuing quest for sideways rotary goodness. I also don't crap all over the new young Irish storms that were born after Keiichi had retired from drifting. 
These guys are ALL much better than us and seriously don't deserve comments like, "But people didn't have to use an ebrake in this one old vid." Ueo has never driven a car anywhere in this thing's league. Would it blow your mind to think maybe some of those old guys wouldn't be able to handle these truly focused vehicles? Would it kill you so much to see your fantasy drifters as maybe not good enough to compete nowadays? Trust me, Babe Ruth would NOT be setting his old records if he played baseball today. Stop lying to yourselves and appreciate the talent in front of you, both  in the driving and the car buiding.


Twitch_6 I want to see someone do the Akina downhill, with a 360 video, at night. Can you imagine?



I could be wrong buuut @ 0:32 looks like some handbrake action 

I remember when you actually had to have balls to talk shit about something with impunity instead of a computer screen, ¯_(ツ)_/¯


This car is insane.....anyone who has something dumb to say should keep it to themselves.


WOW! does it really sound like that?!!
NA 4 rotor speaks to my heart but this is new! It's 'quieter' in an alien, stealth, Apache helicopter, sci-fi and electric kind of way.
My favorite part is @ 0:44-0:48 in the first video.

Also, I was under the impression this was like the Oculus VR 360 Redbull F1 video from a couple years back.
I would have like that more


This thing is insane! In a very, very good way.


I've heard it in real life at FD Seattle and this thing SCREAMS! Mad Mikes battles vs Wang was EPIC! 2JZ going stutututututu with the quad rotor screaming WWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was awesome!


Anyone saying this doesn't take serious driving skill and balls to do is dumb, though as cool as this is I still prefer watching an old 86 doin' its thang... But this is still pretty insane, would have been way cooler if he stuck the quad rotor into a mk1s happy face : D


Two words:  Bad ass!  

Yoda approves.  Conquer me you will not!


How these ass nugget can hate this car?

Engine alone is villanous...never mind rest..
Show respect, slugs


D1RGE EXE Your argument kinda cancels itself out. The reasons the original greats are so great is because they did it WITHOUT monstrous horsepower, extreme amounts of opposite lock (which if you have ever drifted, actually make drifting extremely easy) and a chassis hyper-modified just for drifting. 

Now this isn't hate on Mad Mike, or any of the modern drivers. They are the best in THEIR era. But Fact of the matter is, it was far harder and required arguably more skill in the past. Also, classic, mainstream pro-drifting was only 20+ years ago. ALOT of those same drivers still drift and race. They are in fact more than capable of handling these cars.

Now Schumacher vs Sir Gurney, or Juan Manuel fangio, or if any of the other great multi-series drivers of the 50s-70s would best the one series champs of now...that's a argument worth having!


ADimitriRoumeliotis Luis2247 Its hard to explain that to people who have never actually drifted. I feel ya 100%. BUT pushing 1000hp and far higher speeds with full on opposite lock is a highly developed skill in it's own right.


vroomtothetomb This really is what it sounds like, although that said a bit of that noise is gearbox. This engine is twin-turbo, it's Mike's RX-7 that runs the NA four rotor - you can read our full feature here:


Paddy McGrath Holla atcha boi LouisYio Ooooh boy that's some good reading.


dadecode D1RGE EXE Your argument of the older drivers being so much better is negated by the fact that none are winning. If they are so much better than these young guns, then they shouldn't have any problem with beating them in these newer cars that should be easier to drive. Orido never made it very far and Nob hasn't in 10 years either. Don't forget, the new guys didn't exactly start in 1000hp monsters.

I see your point but disagree. They had their time, but stop beating up the new guys and putting them down like they can never be as good. They are, but there are more of them now. When there were only 5 guys that were competitive, it really seemed like they were hands and shoulders above anyone else. But even a candle can be blinding in an empty room. I would like to see an old vs new driftoff. Get Orido and Tanaguchi to go against Mad Mike and, say, Ryan Tuerck. Neutral track, a few runs in old AE86 and some in a new top tier FD chassis. That would be the only way to end the debate. 

Keiichi does not get mentioned because he is a freak of nature.


D1RGE EXE dadecode you mis-read my comment. I'm not saying the drivers of the past are better by default. I'm saying - as a matter of fact - that the pro-drift drivers of the 90-early 2000s excelled in an era that required more skill; period. 

That does not mean Mad mike, would suck back then either. Times have changed. The cars ARE easier to drive (even with 1000hp), and the style of the competition has changed. 

Back then it mimicked street drifting. Now it's - for lack of a better descriptor - more akin to side ways NASCAR, or Monster Trucks. You talk a lot about pro drifters as well, which leads me to suppose that you never experienced or have seen real street drifting. I was fortunate enough to be stationed in Japan during the peak of the Japanese "street racing/drifting/touge/wangan racing era (95-2004 or so). And frankly I have NEVER seen anything in an organized drift event (even back then) that was as impressive of amazing as what was going on in the streets.

Frankly, except for ballsiness or extreme displays of "flair" I don't even see how they "judge" organized pro-drifting. The courses don't favor any real display of natural car control skill (especially in the states), nor is the fact that differences in the chassis used can completely change what makes a certain maneuver easier or harder to do. 

For instance; Rhys Millen aka "Mad Skilz"; was pretty dominant back in the early Formula Drift days. People used to hate that he won so much or complain about his "intimidating" style of tandem drifting when following chase. But only a "non-er" would say those things. He drove a 2004 GTO, with 300-600lbs of extra weight on his nearest competitor. Even with a V8, that car suffered from extreme limitations in steering angle AND tire width. Yet he would go out and leave his competitors in tandem runs and chase with the side of that car mere inches away from the leaders rear quarter panel - if he didn't out right past them and take the lead - which he did regularly. And yes, I know drifting IS NOT racing.

I've seen him take a stock GTO and drift the whole wall in Jersey. IF you've seen the latest Dukes of hazard movie; as a stunt driver he throws the General Lee around like it's child's play (there are vids on you tube of him doing the roundabout scene WITH traffic and he doesn't hit a thing! In a 17 foot long, 1969 Dodge Charger no less. He's also the guy who did a lot of the driving for FF Tokyo Drift. The scene where the 350 Z drifts up the parking garage ramp, rear bumper inches from the concrete wall? That was him. IF you read up on it he did that scene I believe 3-5 times. He didn't hit or touch the wall once. Most any extreme, non-cg stunt driving you see on TV and in commercials has him behind the wheel; like the Pennzoil HEllcat drift commercial. Say what you want, they guy has undeniably demonstrable skills that make his pro-drifting stint look like a waste of talent. Never mind that he was racing and stunt driving before he got into Formula D.

I know that was a bit of a side ways rant, but my point is modern pro-drifting has evolved to something that is a far cry from what made it great (in drivers and cars). And the skills highlighted now are in many ways tame compared to what happened in the streets or in it's "golden era" of simpler cars, more dangerous courses, and seeing "first ever reverse drift" or etc. 

Speaking or Reverse drifts; I remember the first time i ever saw a 360 into a full high speed drift with my own eyes. In Hachinohe, summer of 99. This guy that everyone called 'Hachinohe #1' rolled through the local drift spot in the Hachinohe docks. He had a 1989 Silver-pearl Nissan Leopard with a RB20 swap(maybe 320hp on a good day) on stretched tired, deep dish 16" wheels. He thought it was cool to mount green Gundam style light wands on each corner of his trunk lid - like space antennas. I just remember having my mind blow as I saw this street car with no cage, come screaming down the straight at 60+mph. Then lock the rear wheels, whip around a full 360 degrees, into the most lurid, tire screeching, engine bouncing off the limiter slide, only to go into the the curve wide open and with the bumper kissing the whole length of the 30 foot long guardrail. A guardrail that was lined with ecstatic people doing their best to slap the trunk of the car as it blew past them. And he did it again and again all night. Far as I know he never went pro. He was just some guy with a Leopard who loved to street drift every Friday night. 

After seeing stuff like that on the regular in "bumpkin" Aomori prefecture Japan, I find it next to impossible to get really excited about organized, pro-drifting at race tracks.


Holla atcha boi how is this not drifting carrying speed thru the corner sideways is exactly what drifting is about what  do you drive? lets see your drift machine? again he is carrying speed wicked speed clearing corners and other then one corner where he was at full lock and looks to be straightened out in the whole vid because it was a wide deep hairpin....damn kids these days think they know everything.


@Dafternator sweet ueo manji, clearly you know thats just practice he wouldn't be able to battle that way now or 12 years ago with that 86 get over it its called evolution i love grassroots drifting and always in favor of it over pro drifting but dude this was 12 years ago  probably even more.  grassroots japan events are more modernized.. this new  type of drifting connecting corners is more fun and if you cant accept that then you never really love drifting as a sport to begin with. Stop wishing for yesterday.

benadict cumberbatch

imagine, imagine this vehicle only instead of doing stupid slidey stuff it is gripping around a technical course?

that would take skill.


@benadict cumberbatch


What helmet is he wearing? I must have it


Am I the only one playing the directional pad to 'countersteer' or something like that????