'Mad' Mike Whiddett lives the life that many of us dream of. Jet-setting from one country to another, driving all sorts of rotary powered machines that scream & slide. He is sponsored by two of the biggest names in the business, Red Bull and SpeedHunters, and seems to have a car on every continent. But where does he call home? And what does it look like?
Towards the end of last year I stoppped by Mike's home, where he lives with his partner Toni and their son Lincoln. He was putting the finishing touches on my buddy Hugo's AE86. A lot of you may not know this but Mike actually works outside of driving fire breathing dragons. He is a sign-writer by trade and is responsible for some of the coolest racecar liveries in NZ.
While Mike worked away I took a look around his home. It's in an industrial part of Auckland and features a reception area out the front, workshop out the back and living quarters upstairs. The perfect setup for Mike's lifestyle.
The large number of gifts, souvenirs, awards and memorabilia is evidence of Mike's success and vast experience from all corners of the world. The reception/office area is littered with little treasures that each tell a different and interesting story. You can tell he's still a kid at heart too, with no shortage of toys and gadgets.
The workshop shares a similar theme but on a much bigger scale. Remnants of previous liveries, bodykits and old parts line the walls and flat surfaces. Along with a phenomenal amount of Red Bull cans. The work areas are kept tidy and spare parts wait patiently for the day they can be put to use.
At the time I was there, Mike's RX-8 was about to be stripped down and completely rebuilt for the upcoming D1NZ season. This involved the big new Nessen wheels you can see on it below and more power from the 20B turbo tripple-rotor engine setup. The car now looks
Outside sat another of Mike's projects. This chopped and bagged '83 Chevy C30. I couldn't get over how big this thing was. We don't see many old American cars like this in New Zealand so it was interesting to take a closer look at it. It features massive 22" and 24" wheels and can completely lay frame on the ground. Pretty cool tow car huh?
After I was done staring at the C30 I saw that Mike had finished the graphics for Hugo's 86, and this was the final result.
And that's how Mike operates. Driving in Abu Dhabi one week and cutting stickers for a fellow Kiwi drifter the next. He's approachable, down to earth and always has time for a chat. If you have the pleasure of seeing him in action somewhere near you soon, then make sure you go along and watch - you won't be disappointed.