Our cars are front-wheel drive Hondas specially prepared for teaching rally driving. Each car has a full rally cockpit with Sabelt seats, steering wheels and harnesses. Engines vary in power allowing the student to experience different handling characteristics.
Some of our cars have back seats for student observation or co-driver training, others have roll cages. Our fleet is constantly growing and will soon include low-horsepower and high-horsepower all-wheel drive cars for advanced training.
If you wonder why we train in front-wheel drive cars as opposed to all-wheel drive cars, it may surprise you to know that front-wheel drive is one of the most popular rallying platforms in the world. The MaxAttack! 2WD rally series is arguably the most hotly contested championship in North America and has been won exclusively by front-wheel drive cars. In addition, nearly all up-and-coming rally programs and feeder championships in the world are front-wheel drive including the Junior World Rally Championship and WRC Academy. In fact, as far back as 99 the front-wheel drive CitroŽn Xsara Kit Car (predecessor to the incredible Xsara WRC) scored 2 victories in the WRC besting its all-wheel drive counterparts to take overall wins in Corsica and Catalunya.
Why is front-wheel drive so popular? For many reasons but we will keep it simple.
1. Regulations. You must start your rallying career in 2WD.Rally America, the premiere North American rally sanctioning body, requires that novice drivers start in a naturally aspirated, two-wheel drive car. You must enter and finish 3 rallies under these rules to be eligible to drive turbo, all-wheel drive cars.
2. Cost. Front-wheel drive cars are very inexpensive to build and maintain compared to their high-output all-wheel drive counterparts. They generally have much less power (you can't get as much power to the ground) and therefore tend to consume and break much less. They are also much lighter which means less wear on brakes, suspension, chassis and tires. You are also only putting power to 2 wheels so your tires can last up to 3 times longer compared to all-wheel drive.
3. Driving Dynamics. Front-wheel drive cars handle remarkably similar to all-wheel drive cars. They enter corners the same way and at high speeds they drive very much the same. The primary difference between the two is that you don't have the extra power and traction to hide your mistakes in a front-wheel drive car. Without the all-wheel drive grip to clean up your mess, you quickly learn what is fast and slow and can hone your driving skills until they are razor sharp and precise. This way, when you get into an all-wheel drive car, you are extremely tidy, sharp and consistent. Sideways may look cool but as Sťbastien Loeb has proven, smooth is fast. And front-wheel drive is how you learn to drive smooth.
Need more proof? Ride along with 2WD rally ace Wyatt Knox in his front-wheel drive Mazdaspeed3.