In front of 10,000 excited fans, professional drift driver Matt Powers (USA) powered to victory against eleven other competitors from New Zealand and around the world in the first ever edition of Red Bull Drift Shifters. Swedish-born Samuel Hübinette took second place, with New Zealand local Daniel ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse taking third spot to the delight of the home crowd in the capital Auckland.
“It was super rad!” commented Powers afterwards. “I loved the fast paced nature of the event. It is run after run, you really get to build up a lot of energy then release it on the course. Because it was so technical, it was a real guessing game. Going into each run I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but when you are out there, you just hope you get it right. I had a lot fun and I really hope I get to do it again.”
A long-time dream of Auckland based international driver ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, Red Bull Drift Shifters is a new motorsport event that puts a fresh spin on drifting. The custom-designed course resembling a giant pinball machine occupied a 200m stretch of inner-city road, with drivers required to drift their cars around numerous pinball-inspired obstacles at speeds of over 80mph. Bumpers were shattered and panels dented as the competitors pushed their machines to the absolute limit.
The unique scoring system developed exclusively for the Red Bull Drift Shifters event used more than 30 sensors to measure exactly how close cars came to the different obstacles. The closer the cars drifted to the sensors, the higher the score. Just like a real pinball machine, points were accumulated in real time and shown a digital scoreboard installed at the head of the course.
For Mike Whiddett, Red Bull Drift Shifters could not have gone any better. “It was absolutely unbelievable. The amount of people that turned up to watch was amazing. The driving skill just blew me away. I want to thank Auckland City for letting us put this on; it really has been a dream come true. With this set up we can now take the event anywhere. There are big things to come for Red Bull Drift Shifters. Watch this space.”
Final results – Red Bull Shift Drifters
1.Matt Powers (USA)
2.Samuel Hübinette (USA)
3.Daniel Woolhouse (NZL)
4.Mike Whiddett (NZL)
The other Red Bull Drift Shifters Drivers were:
Daigo Saito (JAP)
Garry Whiter (NZ)
Curt Whittaker (NZ)
Cole Armstrong (NZ)
Daynom Templeman (NZ)
Jason Sellers (NZ)
Andrew Redward (NZ)
Hugo Maclean (NZ)