Mike then used a mix of Rocket Bunny pieces from various kits to create his ultimate look
You will also notice that the body looks drastically different — in fact, it looks like a completely new car. This is thanks to the update to the 2016 ND MX-5. While Mazda wanted the team to build a new car using the ND chassis, the different geometry and subframes would have meant starting the season from square one and throwing away data or set-ups obtained from last season. The compromise was to graft both the front and rear of the new-shape MX-5 onto the old chassis with the help of GT Refinishers and Hybrid Lab. Mike then used a mix of Rocket Bunny pieces from various kits to create his ultimate look. “It’s probably the favourite part of mine each season — getting to redesign the livery, the aero and the wheels,” Mike said. “This year, we have some new custom Rotiforms being made — we have done something pretty unique, which is also a first, so I’m really looking forward to getting those on the car; it will finish the whole look off.” The livery itself, which Mike designed, incorporates his trademark camo, infused with some Mazda heritage by using the stitching from the 787B. It features a ton more white, and the blue-chrome vinyl was actually printed using last year’s camo file. The end result is an MX-5 that not only looks cleaner but also wider and a lot more angry, too. The carbon roof is here to stay, as Mike found that the long periods sitting in the line, awaiting his runs without a roof on, caused him to overheat.
Heading into the season, Mike feels as confident as one can, in part because there is a new addition to an already solid crew in the form of Kiwi ex–D1NZ champion Jairus ‘JT’ Wharerau. “The advantage of having JT,” Mike told us, “is that he has spotted for me a lot in the past, and [so he] can really relate to the actual driving and what I’m doing and tell me exactly where I need to put the car. And to have another Kiwi on the team, that is epic, we want to do New Zealand proud, and with the knowledge that myself, Warren from Pulse Performance, and JT have, I think we are definitely going to be strong in the championship. We are setting the bar pretty high for ourselves. We want to win this year; we are not going up there to do anything else — we are definitely charging for the win. I feel we have definitely got the car for it.”