NZ Performance Car - - Contents -

It’s the win that Kiwi drift leg­end ‘Mad Mike’ Whid­dett and Team Magic have worked so hard to get. Ear­lier this month at Okayama In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit, dur­ing the fi­nal round of the 2018 For­mula Drift (FD) Ja­pan Cham­pi­onship, a new king was crowned. It’s a sea­son that has been marked by noth­ing but suc­cesses — from the first qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion at round one back in May, to the fi­nal bat­tle at Okayama, there was never a point at which Mike didn’t lead the points dur­ing the five-round se­ries. And, de­spite how easy he made it look, the road to get­ting there wasn’t all smooth sail­ing, as build­ing a twin-turbo four-ro­tor and keep­ing it in­tact, with the way that Mike ped­als it, is a tough task. Af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the first two rounds, a string of me­chan­i­cal is­sues tested the team, and there was only a 22-point gap be­tween him and sec­ond­place-stand­ing Shinji Mi­nowa head­ing into the fi­nal event.

Mike and Mi­nowa bat­tled their way through op­po­site sides of the tree, cul­mi­nat­ing in a Mike ver­sus 2017 FD Ja­pan cham­pion, An­drew Gray, fi­nal bat­tle. What en­sued is said to have been one of the best bat­tles of the sea­son, so close that the judges were split, but, ul­ti­mately, Gray took the round win.

Re­gard­less of fall­ing back into sec­ond place for the fi­anal round, Mike had proved the best driver through­out the sea­son and was awarded the cham­pi­onship ti­tle, with a de­cent mar­gin, for his ef­forts. It’s a win that has been a long time coming for both Mike and his Team Magic with Red Bull team, and, given the nu­mer­ous chal­lenges faced this sea­son, it’s well de­served — con­grats Mikey!

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