We let Ben loose in a rally car and it seems he's learning to drive sideways … Look out!
Simon Elliott might be the only person in Australia who encourages people to hop into one of his Subaru WRXs and give it a bit of a hammering.
He runs driving courses and chose the WRX because of its extreme strength and because it was designed as a rally car. The cars have not been modified and are fitted with standard tyres.
Simon and his father built a 1.2 kilometre track about halfway between Brisbane and Surfers Paradise. It has been cleared of natural obstacles and spectators must stand behind a metal barrier in a clearly demarcated area. Drivers get the big buzz drifting and gliding their way around the gravel circuit and no-one's yet to leave WRX Experience not wearing a big grin.
Simon's courses are for anyone with a valid driver's licence. A full four-point racing harness must be worn, as well as closed shoes, at least a T-shirt and hat and sunglasses are recommended.
There is fun to be had as well as learning a lot. Instructors constantly assess the progress of students, with a high emphasis placed on safety. In the case of heavy rain, courses are cancelled as the clay content of the track can become very slippery. Light showers don't create a problem.
A WRX Experience includes public liability insurance, registration and driver briefing, in-car circuit awareness with instructor, two solo driving sessions with instructor, a final session of timed and assessed laps, a completion certificate and Driver of the Day presentation. There is a smaller 10 lap session, and if you would like to experience the full adrenalin rush, try Hot Laps, where the instructor takes you on three wild laps of the track.