Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Kiwi stars confirmed for Highlands 501

Kiwi stars confirmed for Highlands 501

Shane van Gisbergen and ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, are the latest big names confirmed for the Highlands 501 from November 10-12. The Highlands 501 will be the last Australian GT event to be held at the Central Otago track and it promises to be a fitting finale featuring two of the most exciting drivers in the country.

Highlands has been a happy hunting ground for van Gisbergen who won the Highlands 101 in 2015 with Klark Quinn. The V8 Supercars star celebrated with a burnout in front of the fans on the hill and he’s promised a repeat performance in November if he claims his second win in the race.

“I’d never done a skid in a GT car before and it was a pretty cool way to celebrate,” says van Gisbergen. “Hopefully I get the chance to do it again but I’m just stoked Tony has invited me to race in the McLaren. It’s the last Australian GT race at Highlands and I really wanted to be there. I love the race, I love the format and it’s one of my favourite tracks in the world.”

For drift superstar, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, it’s another chance to show off his circuit racing skills after an impressive debut at last year’s Hampton Downs 101.

“It’s a dream come true to get back to Highlands and have another crack in a GT car,” says Whiddett. ““I love GT racing. It’s so different to drifting where three judges decide if you win or lose. In the GTs if you’re fast, you’ve got the lap times to prove it. If you’re not, you’re out the back.”

“I put everything into it last year to make sure I was as prepared as possible but even so, I surprised myself. I had no idea how I was going to stack up against some of the top drivers in Australia and New Zealand. To qualify the car in the top ten and finish 8th overall was a huge confidence boost.”

“It’s all about getting a feel for the car. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a GT car or a drift car, on a motorbike or a skateboard. It’s a tool and it’s about making that tool a part of your body as fast as possible.”

Whiddett ended up in hospital in 2015 after he put his drift car into the wall at Highlands, but he’s hoping for better luck at the Highlands 501.

“Highlands requires 100 percent commitment,” says Whiddett. “There’s so much elevation change. There’s no room for error anywhere. Like SVG, I’ve raced on a lot of different tracks around the world and Highlands is my favourite.”

Van Gisbergen and Whiddett received wildcard entries for the event from Highlands owner, Tony Quinn. Quinn has entered two McLaren 650S GT3 cars in the Highlands 501 with driving duties to be shared between van Gisbergen, Whiddett, Highlands resident professional, Andrew Waite and Quinn.

“I can’t decide which drivers to put in which car so we’ve decided to open it up to the public,” says Quinn. “Let us know which drivers you’d like to see racing together by visiting the Highlands Facebook page.”

Everyone who votes will go in the draw to win Fastlaps in Highlands new Ferrari 488 GTB at the Highlands 101. The winner will get free entry to the Highlands 101 and four laps in the passenger seat of the Ferrari with the four different drivers: van Gisbergen, Whiddett, Waite and Quinn.

The Highlands 501 doubles as the final round of the Australian Endurance Championship. Two weeks before the Highlands event the cars and stars of the Australian GT series will race in the Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500 from October 28-29.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland