It may be on the other side of the world, but the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has always had a bit of Kiwi flavouring. Rod Millen was one of the hill’s biggest names in its 1990s heyday as a former record-holder, and his son Rhys Millen carries the torch today.
And another Kiwi looks set to tackle the iconic event in the near future.
Former Formula Drift Japan champ ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett has unveiled plans to take on the event in a heavily modified Mazda3 hatch.
While Mad Mike has yet to detail the model’s specific (indeed, it was unveiled with a render rather than an image of the real deal), he’s dropped a few mouth-watering nuggets of information.
The 3 will be converted to rear-wheel drive, and under the bonnet will sit a screaming turbocharged four-rotor powertrain not unlike those featured in the drifter’s other competition cars.
Power is set to be in the ballpark of 1200hp (or 895kW), making this unquestionably the world’s most powerful Mazda3. The ‘shopping list’ of brands on the side of the car offers clues as to where the performance is set to come from, with PWR, KW, Haltech, Turbosmart, and Hollinger all represented.
The boosted hatch won’t look out of place at Pikes Peak against the other winged racers, given that it also features an aggressive aero package of its own; inclusive of side skirts, a front splitter, rear diffuser, and whopping gooseneck rear wing.
There’s even four exhaust pipes exiting through the bonnet, no doubt set to spit flames.
It’s been a long time between drinks for Mad Mike’s American exploits. The Mazda-backed racer was a regular in the US Formula Drift series, until Covid-19 put a lot of his US plans on hold.