“LAST LAP” Interview by Aaron Waldron
SINCE AGE FIVE, when he was first strapped into the seat of a go-kart, Mitchell Dejong has been a contender for race wins in any car he has driven. His tear through the racing ranks kicked into high gear in 2007, when he wrapped up both the Apex Open Karting Championship and CORR Trophy Kart title, and the winning hasn’t stopped since; nine championships in a variety of different series over the last six years has made DeJong the driver to watch every time he hits the track. He proved it again in 2012 in the Super Buggy division of the Traxxas TORC Series as the youngest champion ever, wrapping up the title at just 14 years old. Just how good was DeJong in his new car? He won the season opener at Charlotte Motor Speedway and five of the 12 rounds on his way to the championship, finishing the season with a 38-point margin over the series runner-up, the second largest margin of victory of the TORC Pro classes in 2012. His stellar career earned him a lucrative deal with Red Bull, making him the company’s youngest off-road racer, as well as a seat with the powerful Traxxas race team.
The 2WD open-wheeled racer that Mitchell drove to the Super Buggy championship in 2012 uses a 1,600cc 4-cylinder engine, producing plenty of power for a car that tips the scales at less than 1,600 pounds – making Mitchell’s mastery of the class in his first season all the more impressive. The popular Traxxas Bandit has been the buggy basher of choice for backyard heroes since its release, making it the perfect platform to commemorate DeJong’s achievements as a Traxxas-sponsored racer. The Titan 550-powered buggy is equipped with the XL-5 waterproof ESC for a top speed of 35+ mph, and sports a Lexan shell decorated to look like Mitchell’s car, complete with Simpson Racing, BFGoodrich, Method Racing Wheels, and VP Racing Fuel logos, as well as Mitchell’s name!