As Christmas gifts go my wife got me an absolute ripper – four laps fanging around a rally track in a WRX STI and then a hot lap in the same car driven by someone who knew what they were doing..
Now aside from a bash around the father in law’s mini track he built on his farm in my Series V Rx7 (honestly not the greatest choice for a rally car given the amount of dirt the rear wheels churned up and how it constantly failed to find grip) my real condition rally experience up until this point was confined to many a game of Gran Turismo. But given my brief ownership of a GC8 WRX, I couldn’t wait to give these things a spin.
Welcome to Adrenalin WRX
So the day arrived and my family and I found ourselves at the dedicated rally track behind Willowback Raceway in Queensland where not one, but two STI’s were warmed up and ready to rumble for my first and hopefully not the last Adrenalin WRX experience.
Now according to one of the crew on site both WRX’s were stock as ‘Drive them right and you don’t actually need anything else’ although I suspect that the silver one had a newer blow off valve given the pressure it released when shifting.
After signing in and getting a helmet the first thing was a quick lesson on WRX basics (“point the wheel where you want the car to go, put your foot down and off it goes which is why they’re so fun”) and a timely reminded that if you spun off or did something stupid more than twice then your instructor would take over and you’d be quickly driven off the track. Then we worked through the list of drivers until it was my time to shine…or at least attempt to keep the damn thing on track.
While getting strapped in PJ the instructor asked if I’d ever done anything like this before.
“Well not really but I did own a GC8 once and I so I’m really looking forward to punting this thing around a track!”
He admitted that he far preferred the earlier GC8 model to this one, so much so that he actually owned 3 himself including a full track version. And with that it was off and racing, well until turn one when he got me to slow down to check on the silver car that had gone sliding off the track and into a tyre embankment. (10 mins repair work later and it was good to go again.) After that quick check…now it was time to get up and running. And things were going okay until we got up to around 55-60kph and things started to get a little…sketchy.
At that speed the grip decided to take the rest of the day off and I seriously over corrected one turn enough to spin the car right around (a great start). I did the same again going into a straight on lap 2 (the same bit of straight I watched someone spin on earlier on in the day and wondered how they managed to have that happen in such a straight section) and PJ reminded me of the two mishap rule so now I really had to get my stuff together….which I did and then promptly ran out of laps. Still for that fourth lap I managed not too much opposite lock, remembering to ease off on the yellow cones and then put the foot down convincingly out of the corners. Even with the feeling of floating over the roads instead of sticking to them I loved every single dusty second. Not bad for a guy with very little off road experience.
Even though my time behind the wheel went stupidly quick, thankfully I still had my hot lap to go. And 45 minutes later I ended up in the silver beast for an absolute screamer of a lap. I swear we ended up on two wheels at one stage as parts of the track were obliterated by a furious WRX pummelling and he took every bump, twist, turn, sweep and boost with absolute ease making my earlier attempt look like Grandma’s day out in the Daewoo.
I asked him if he felt he had the best job in the world.
“Yeah I love my job” he admitted as we coasted back to the start line for the next hot lapper “And I enjoy this bit, especially if it’s been a long day with some bad drivers..”
Seriously, it’s a big fun day out so don’t miss your chance to unleash your inner rally warrior! (No they’re not paying me to say that either, I just had a huge buzz from this fun day out.)
TIPS FOR THE DAY FOR ADRENALIN WRX
- On a nice sunny day behind Willowbank, sunscreen is essential. I was wearing it everywhere except my legs…and my knees copped one hell of a burning.
- If you’re bringing kids along see if they’re doing the free kids rides (slow rides at the start of the day.) My little bloke Jackson loved this!
- Also bring plenty of entertainment for them because they might get a little bored after a while of watching the same two cars go around.
- Charge up your phone as you’ll be taking plenty of photos/video
- When in your hot lap in the Adrenalin WRX, put the same phone down. Seriously, look out the windscreen – the high speed view is amazing.