That’s incredible commitment. What do you love most about drifting?
Damn, there is so much to list but a few of the main points would be of course the speed, adrenalin & fear I get as a driver pushing our sport to its extremes. The show side of it and expressing my personality and style by the way I drive my cars for the fans as the fans are what really do it for me. It's such an honour to be partnered with some of the world’s biggest brands that allow me to do this full time traveling the world, meeting RAD people, making great friends and giving the spectators their $20 worth.
I really love the design and build process of all my cars. I love to be unique and be the first to do things. The team spirit of 'never stop challenging', makes the wins so much more rewarding and I hope my story of life can inspire others to chase their dreams. Motivation and determination is far more powerful than money.
Did you try your hand at any other motorsports along the way? Or did drifting have you hooked from the get-go?
I have fortunately been able to try many different motorsports and have managed to get some strong results in GT3's with Tony Quinn, racing the SuperSaloons, winning the NZ Stadium Super Truck class in my Rotary powered Stadium Truck, and V8 Jet Sprint boats. I just love that next challenge!
As an ambassador of the sport and supported by a long list of renowned brands, you’re now living the dream. Undoubtedly your success is due to some serious tenacity, drive and determination - what were the main challenges you faced coming up in drifting?
The hardest part for us was turning it from a hobby to a career. I mean this would be a never ending story if I was to write all the challenges. Every day to me is another challenge thinking about what's next then creating the strategy and then making it reality. Toni and I work around the clock to make these things happen.
The hardest part was early on, it was far harder to get sponsors and partnerships. Drifting was widely perceived as just a bunch of boy racers, so the challenge was getting people to come out and witness the sport in person to smell it, breath it and be blown away with the precision driving and speeds all the drivers were showcasing.
I was the first to show up with posters for the kids, merchandise, a website and the sort of stuff adults would come to as their kids would drag them from round to round, and obviously as companies clicked on, many of the drivers started getting decent support. I personally think the biggest boost for drifting in NZ was when Red Bull jumped onboard our program, and of course this was a dream for me but equally the sport instantly gained the credibility it deserved. The world knows if Red Bull are involved, it's freak'n serious.
Can you share any life highlights to date?
FAMILY, from never meeting my Dad, to trying to be the best one to my kids, I am just so grateful to have my amazing super chick Toni, and our incredible groms, Linc & Jett. The sport of drifting has taken us all around the world together and has created some epic highlights.
What kind of demand is there on the body when you compete and what kind of physical shape do you need to be in to be at the top of your game? Do you need to smash it out at the gym regularly?
For sure, for me I want to be the best I can be. People invest a lot in me so I want to invest everything I can to be the best for them. I'm definitely not the guy that has a scheduled plan of the exact days per week in the gym, our life is too hectic for that with so much always going on but having a home gym, a shed full of bikes, boards and kids wanting to charge, keeps me where I need to be physically. Mentally I have a personal sports psychologist that helps incredibly with my performance on and off the track.
You’ve got an enviable line up of machines at the Mad Lab - MADBUL (RX7), BADBUL (RX8), RADBUL (MX5), MADCAB (Luce) and NIMBUL (Huracan). What’s your favourite machine in the fleet and why?
Yeah, well you listed a few of them but the favourite is MADBUL, this was my very first drift car. We’ve travelled around the world multiple times together, won some of the biggest championships and represented drifting to the elite tares of motorsport at the F1 Demo's and the Goodwood Festival of Speed. We’ve created some of the most viewed drifting YouTube clips, wrecked into walls, and spent late nights at the shop. No offer would allow this car to leave my stables.
Any hot rods or classics in the Whiddett garage?
Yep, my favourite era of cars is the 70's and being such a rotary enthusiast, we have a few in the fleet - a 73 Mazda s2 RX2 sedan and two cars that I'm building right now, Toni's fresh and very unique, 77 Mazda Cosmo RX5, and in my eyes the holy grail of Mazda, a wild Mazda RX3 GT Coupe. I’ve been teasing these cars through social media, and I plan to reveal them in December at my MM Summer BASH Hampton Downs event. Watch this space!
Your drifting career has seen you travel the world. Covid aside, is there any track or terrain you’re yet to experience and keen to?
Yeah, usually about 30 international events a year plus all the events we do back home keeps me entertained. I've been the first to drift on many tracks around the world and my favourite is right here in NZ, being Highlands Motorsport Park. I do have a MEGA list of roads and tracks I want to film and compete on but I believe anything leaked before it's done won’t happen.
How would you describe your driving style, on and off the track?
Violent on track, terrible off track. I mean I can park damn good in a Drift Shifters competition sliding into a tight finishing box on the handbrake with only seconds to spare, but when parking at the local mall, I'll always be crooked or off to one side so half the family can't get out the car.
You’re clearly a source of absolute inspiration for your kids. Are there any pearls of wisdom you’ve passed on to Lincoln, when it comes to racing, that you think has contributed to his competitive edge and success to date?
He has my no fear driving style, but from his Mum, he is very calculated and always works out an amazing strategy in his own head for his racing. He needs to watch out as his little sister Jett is more competitive than both of us!