Mad Mike with a few of his cars from the MADLAB
© Graeme Murray
Drifting

Inside the MADLAB, Mad Mike Whiddett's garage

From BADBUL to MADCAB, we take an in-depth look into the drift king's current stable of world-renowned rotary-powered weaponry.
Written by Brad Lord
10 min readPublished on
To celebrate the last decade of rotary-fuelled madness, Mad Mike Whiddett looks back on his drifting career thus far in the documentary in the player below. Then, get a close-up look at the current crop of crazy machines born out of his HQ, ‘The MADLAB', at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in Waikato, New Zealand.

6 min

Mad Mike 10 Year Red Bull Anniversary Documentary.

Mad Mike Whiddett looks back on his drifting career and celebrates the ten year Red Bull anniversary.

BADBUL: Mazda RX-8

The BADBUL in action
The BADBUL in action
Mad Mike’s second pro-specification competition car build is also the only one to still retain its original race motor configuration – a triple-rotor 20B with a single turbocharger. Of all the cars that Whiddett has campaigned, he’s had the most success with BADBUL, standing on the podium at every round of the D1NZ National Championship in 2009 and also taking out the NZ Drift Series title the same year.
In 2010, the RX-8 was shipped off to the USA for the Kiwi’s first full season of Formula Drift, and in the years since, it’s been used for numerous other events, demos and activations around the world, including Conquer the Cape and more recently Red Bull Drift Shifters in Liverpool, and BADBUL vs. KAMAZ, the Dakar truck in Russia.
'Mad' Mike Whiddet at Red Bull Drift Shifters 2018
Mad Mike in the BADBUL at Red Bull Drift Shifters 2018
“BADBUL has always been my go-to car, and now in its six generation it’s got over 800 horsepower to the back wheels. Despite the high power output, its longer wheelbase makes it by far the easiest of my cars to drive, which makes it really good in competition.” – Mike Whiddett
Engine: Mazda/PPRE 20B three-rotor, monster bridgeport, lightened/balanced rotors, cross-drilled eccentric shaft, twin Bosch Motorsport 044 fuel pumps, high-flow injectors, E85 fuel, Garrett GTX4508R turbocharger, Turbosmart wastegate, Turbosmart blow-off valve, Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, Turbosmart boost controller, 3.5” stainless steel exhaust system, Haltech Elite ECU
Driveline: Holinger Engineering RD6SS 6-speed sequential gearbox, ASD/Winters Performance quick-change rear end, ASD limited slip differential, The Driveshaft Shop axles
Suspension & Brakes: KW Competition 3-way adjustable coilovers, Wisefab steering angle kit, Megan Racing arms, Wilwood Performance 6-pot front brakes, ASD hydraulic handbrake
BADBUL detail - Mad Mike 10 year anniversary.
BADBUL detail - Mad Mike 10 year anniversary.
Wheels & Tyres: Front: 18x 9.5-inch Rotiform NUE wheels, Nitto NT05 tyres; Rear: 18x11-inch Rotiform USF custom 3-piece bead-look wheels, Nitto NT05 tyres
Exterior: Mazda RX-8 R3 update, Rocket Bunny x Mad Mike Motorsport Pandem wide body kit, Seibon carbon fibre doors and boot lid, Rocket Bunny wing, Lexan windows, Mad Mike Motorsport livery
Interior: Multi-point roll cage, Takata Racing x Mad Mike Motorsport seats, Takata Racing 6-point harness belts, Haltech Racepak dash

RADBUL: Mazda MX-5

The unique livery on the RADBUL is a knockout
The unique livery on the RADBUL is a knockout
Originally built for Mike to contest the 2015 Formula Drift Pro Championship after a five-year hiatus from the US series, RADBUL took Mazda’s iconic MX-5 platform to a never-before-seen level. Equipped with a custom-built, twin-turbo four-rotor 26B engine that produced more than 1,200hp, right out of the gate the MX-5 was a force to be reckoned with in competition. In only its second year of competition, Mike claimed third overall in the 2016 Formula Drift World Championship. To celebrate his tenth anniversary with Red Bull, Whiddett had his fans vote on a new engine setup to be packaged with the car’s fourth generation overhaul. With a throwback vibe that extends to its appearance and mechanical underpinnings, it’s his favourite upgrade thus far.
“We put everything we had into this car and built arguably the craziest pro-spec drift car on the planet. It was insanely fast but it was also dangerous, something I learned very early on when I crashed it at nearly 200km/h and put myself in hospital while shooting for its reveal film ‘RADBUL Conquers Highlands’.
"Now with the 20B-PP engine, it’s so much fun to drive. Although it only has around a third of the power it once did, I need to be so precise with my inputs and always keep the engine at high RPM. I think this lower power setup is much better suited to the car’s ultra short wheelbase, so for the time being we’ll be sticking with it.”
Close-up of the RADBUL engine
Close-up of the RADBUL engine
Engine: Mazda/PPRE 20B 3-rotor, peripheral-porting, MoTeC 55mm throttle bodies, Aeroflow fuel system for E85 fuel, Aeroflow lines and fittings, Haltech Elite ECU, 3 ½” Stainless exhaust
Driveline: Holinger Engineering RD6-SS 6-speed sequential gearbox, ASD/Winters Performance quick-change rear end, ASD limited slip centre, The Driveshaft Shop carbon prop-shaft and drive shafts
Suspension & Brakes: KW Competition 3-way adjustable coilovers, Wilwood brakes, Mad Mike Motorsport steering kit, ASD hydraulic handbrake
KW Competition 3-way adjustable coilovers
KW Competition 3-way adjustable coilovers
Wheels & Tyres: Front: 17x10.5-inch Rotiform LHR 3-piece forged wheels, Nitto NT05 tyres; Rear: 17x12-inch Rotiform 3-piece wheels, Nitto NT05 tyres
Exterior: Rocket Bunny x Mad Mike Motorsport body kit, Rocket Bunny 3D GT wing, Mad Mike Motorsport livery
Interior: Multi-point roll cage, Takata Racing x Mad Mike Motorsport seats, Takata Racing harness belts, Haltech Racepak

MADBUL: Mazda RX-7

MADBUL
MADBUL Mazda RX-7
This is where it all started for Whiddett; peel back the history of MADBUL, and you’ll find the FD3S Mazda RX-7 that originally went by the name FURSTY and took him to his very first international event – the 2007 D1 Grand Prix World All-Stars at Irwindale Speedway in California, USA.
Then in its evolved four-rotor MADBUL guise, Whiddett took out the 2009 Formula Drift Asia title. Despite now being in its 7.3 generation form (the .3 a nod to the car’s Mazda RX-3-inspired Rocket Bunny Pandem Boss front end treatment), the RX-7 maintains the custom-built, naturally aspirated four-rotor 26B engine configuration from 10 years ago, along with its old school slammed ride height and handling modifications.
“I often say that MADBUL has more stamps in its passport than most well-travelled people, and it’s true – it’s been to so many countries I don’t think I could even recall them all. Of all the cars in the fleet, this is by far my most favourite, though. Ever since I fell in love with the rotary engine, I looked to Mazda’s 13J and 26B-powered Le Mans cars for inspiration, so to replicate one of these naturally aspirated four-rotor engines in one of my own cars was a dream come true. To me, all my cars have their own personality, but MADBUL represents my personality the best.”
Engine: Mazda/PPRE naturally aspirated 26B four-rotor, PPRE custom end and centre plates, custom chrome-moly eccentric shaft, lightened/balanced high-compression 13B-MSP rotors, peripheral porting, EFI hardware Throttle bodies, 3.5” stainless steel exhaust system, Haltech Elite ECU
MADBUL detail - Mad Mike 10 year anniversary.
MADBUL detail - Mad Mike 10 year anniversary.
Driveline: HKS 6-speed sequential gearbox, OS Giken 1.5-way limited slip differential
Suspension & Brakes: KW Competition 3-way adjustable coilovers, Megan Racing arms, ASD hydraulic handbrake
Wheels & Tyres: Front: 17x10-inch Rotiform LHR 3-piece forged wheels, Nitto NT05 tyres; Rear: 17x12-inch Rotiform LHR 3-piece forged wheels, Nitto NT05 tyres
Exterior: Rocket Bunny x Mad Mike Motorsport Boss body kit, Lexan windows, Mad Mike Motorsport livery
Interior: Multi-point roll cage, Takata Racing seats, Takata Racing harness belts, Sparco steering wheel, Haltech Racepak dash

RUMBUL: Mazda REPU B2000 Stadium Truck

RUMBUL - Mad Mike 10 year anniversary.
RUMBUL - Mad Mike 10 year anniversary.
This ex-LOORRS Stadium truck from the USA is an outlet for Mad Mike to take a break from drifting. Originally fitted with a Mazda RX-8 Renesis engine, the off-road machine was recently re-powered by a peripheral-ported PPRE 13B that shares a lot in common with the four-rotor in MADBUL, albeit being half the size. RUMBUL has appeared at the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Leadfoot Festival in New Zealand, but it’s not all for fun though. With Whiddett behind the wheel, the truck took out the Bay Offroaders 2018 Pro Truck class championship in its original low-power guise.
“It’s so much fun to get behind the wheel of RUMBUL and not have to think that I’m being judged on my line and angle etcetera; I can just slam the right foot down and cut loose. Because my 10-year-old son Linc campaigns a Mod Kart, we can race together, which is super cool. I think it will be a perfect stepping-stone for him too, but he’s still got some growing to do before he can reach the pedals. With the truck as it is now, the engine is absolutely psycho, probably as wild as you can make a naturally aspirated 13B – it screams. I can’t wait to get it into the dirt and rip it up this summer.”
Engine: Mazda/PPRE 13B, peripheral-porting, lightened rotors, EFI hardware Throttle bodies, Aeroflow fuel system for E85, Aeroflow lines and fittings, Haltech Elite ECU
Driveline: Mendeola MD4S-2D 4-speed transaxle
Suspension: King off-road racing shocks
Wheels: Beadlock wheels, Toyo M/T tyres
Chassis & Exterior: Tube-frame Mazda REPU B2000, Hybrid Lab FRP body
Interior: Haltech Racepak, ASD hydraulic handbrake

HUMBUL: Mazda RX-7

HUMBUL competing at Formula Drift Japan 2018
HUMBUL competing at Formula Drift Japan 2018
The HUMBUL took Mad Mike to his 2018 Formula Drift Japan championship win. Built by Taisuke Kawato at Total Car Produce Magic in Hyogo, Japan, this Mazda RX-7 was originally used for Whiddett’s Red Bull Drift-n-Ice video project back in 2010, but since then it’s undergone a significant series of upgrades to become the pro-spec drift weapon it is today. The heart of HUMBUL – the name itself a tribute to Kawato-san’s humble nature – is a custom-built four-rotor twin-turbo engine producing over 1,000 horsepower to the rear wheels.
“HUMBUL is not only the fastest and wildest car in the fleet right now, but it’s also the most competitive. If I had to pick one of the BULs to take to the USA and battle Formula Drift tomorrow, it would be this one. For this much power it’s incredible; the response on throttle is like a trigger on a shotgun, and the chassis balance combination of that power and the amount of grip allows me to position it anywhere on the track, still with a violent driving style. I call it kanpeki, which translates to perfect.”
The HUMBUL during Red Bull Drift-n-Ice in 2010
The HUMBUL during Red Bull Drift-n-Ice in 2010
Engine: Mazda/TCP-Magic 26B four-rotor, bridge-porting, custom end and centre plates, custom chrome-moly eccentric shaft, TCP-Magic apex seals, Twin Garrett GTX3582R turbochargers, Turbosmart wastegates, Turbosmart blow-off valve, Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, Q16 fuel, Haltech Elite ECU
Driveline: Holinger Engineering RD6-SS 6-speed sequential gearbox, ASD/Winters Performance quick-change rear end, The Driveshaft Shop carbon prop-shaft and drive shafts
Suspension & Brakes: KW Competition 3-way adjustable coilovers, Project Mu brakes, TCP Magic hydraulic handbrake
Wheels & Tyres: RAYS Gram Lights 57Xtreme SP Spec wheels, Nitto NT05 tyres
Exterior: Total Car Produce Magic G-Face body kit, Rocket Bunny 3D GT wing, Mad Mike Motorsport livery
Interior: Multi-point roll cage, Bride Low Max seats, Takata Racing harness belts, ATC Key’s Racing steering wheel, Haltech Racepak dash display

MADCAB: 1987 Mazda Luce

MADCAB - The crazy Japanese Drift Taxi
MADCAB - The crazy Japanese Drift Taxi
The ‘drift taxi’ concept is not a new one, but when Mike decided to build a car that he could share the excitement of drifting with his supporters and backers, it was always destined to be extra cool. With an 1980s Japanese taxi as the theme, Whiddett went to work on an ‘87 Mazda Luce sedan, swapping out its heavy V6 for a lightweight 13B monster bridge-port engine equipped with a large Garrett turbocharger. Completing the picture is a retro livery and some Japanese taxi artefacts, plus a custom roof ornament to pull the whole old school look together perfectly.
“One of my favourite things about drifting, is taking people for rides so they can experience it for themselves, and MADCAB allows me to take three passengers out for rip at a time, which is always crazy fun. We’ve kept it rather grassroots with cut steering knuckles, a super-slammed ride height and stretched tyres, but with 500 horsepower on tap from the 13B turbo it goes really hard.”
Engine: Mazda/Advanced Tuning JC Cosmo 13B twin-rotor, Garrett GTX4088R turbo, monster bridge-porting, Turbosmart wastegate, Turbosmart blow-off valve, Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, custom 3.5” stainless steel exhaust system, Aeroflow fuel system for E85 fuel, Aeroflow lines and fittings, Haltech Elite ECU
Driveline: HGT Precision 6-speed sequential gearbox
Suspension & Brakes: BC Racing adjustable coilovers, ASD hydraulic handbrake
Wheels & Tyres: Rotiform IDK wheels, various tyres
Exterior: Bolt-on fender flares, Mad Mike Motorsport livery
Interior: Multi-point roll cage, four Takata x Mad Mike Motorsport seats, Takata Racing harness belts, OMP steering wheel