Red Bull Drift Shifters Transforms the Streets
A 20,000 strong crowd flocked to the streets of downtown Auckland on December 6, witnessing a motorsport spectacle of epic proportions. When the tyre smoke cleared and the burnt rubber settled, it was ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett (Nitto, NZ) who reigned supreme clocking 4,012,088 points, defeating Chris Forsberg (USA) in the high octane Red Bull Drift Shifters finale.
“This is my dream, and now I’m living it. Says Whiddett. It’s a lot of hard work, but Drift Shifters has put New Zealand on a global stage. We showed how professional the sport has become. It’s such a surreal moment right now.”
The unique concept of Red Bull Drift Shifters has created a format that allows drivers to break free from drifting’s traditional dual car battle format. The competition was all about a race against the clock to score points from automated speed, angle and proximity sensors positioned around the city street course. It was literally a giant pinball game for drift cars. “This was unlike any other drift event in the world,” says second place getter and recently crowned Formula Drift Champion Chris Forsberg. “An event like this using sensors in downtown city streets really brings people in right up close to the cars. It’s the ultimate show of car control. I’m really pumped to be in New Zealand and I really hope we get the opportunity to come back and compete at Drift Shifters again.”
With top international drivers in attendance, it was possible that the New Zealand field could have been overshadowed by their overseas counterparts -- but this was not the case. Mike Whiddett led the charge all day, supported by top local talent ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse, surprise contender Andrew Redward (Achilles Radial) and the ever consistent Gaz Whiter (Achilles Radial).
“The first year we learnt so much, and this time around we’ve learnt even more, so it’s only going to get bigger and better from here,” says Whiddett. “My dream for this event is for it to hit all of the major cities around the world. We have a great concept here, so there’s definitely big things to come for Drift Shifters.”
‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett (NZ, Nitto) – 4,012,088 Chris Forsberg (USA) – 2,650,885
‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse (NZ) – 3,216,985 Matt Powers (USA, Nitto) – 1,982,799 Chris Forsberg (USA) – 3,505,449 ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett (NZ, Nitto) – 3,276,400
Matt Powers (USA, Nitto) – 4,101,229 (top score of the day) Andrew Redward (NZ) – 2,912,827 (retired) ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett (NZ, Nitto) – 2,685,799 Chris Forsberg (USA) – 2,194,329 ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse (NZ) – 1,774,430 Gaz Whiter (NZ, Achilles Radial) – 1,616,266 Ryan Tuerck (USA) – 886,850 Daigo Saito (JAP, Achilles Radial) – 719,310
Source: Red Bull Media NZ