In cased you missed Part 1 of this saga where Victoria Lo dominated all the media/press boys in a SVT Raptor challenge you can head over to Part 1 on Wrecked Magazine and read it – “We Send A Girl to the Octane Academy And She Wins.”
I’m back to continue making you jealous of my time at Ford Racing’s Octane
Academy last week. In my last post, I drifted with Vaughn Gittin JR. and went on a
seat-of-your-pants ride with Brian Deegan. I also won the Reverse Raptor Challenge!
After lunch it was time for stunt driving with Tanner Foust, one of my all-time
favorite drivers. When my group arrived at Tanner’s station, he was out playing on
the wet Jennite surface, effortlessly doing fancy pirouettes and 360s in the all-new
Ford Focus ST. Now this sounds totally lame but once you see him drive in person
you’ll understand: He was born to do this. This session was a battle, as I was super
excited to get behind the wheel with Tanner, however I was still slightly hungover
from the previous night’s outing. But hello, this is Tanner Foust! I had to stick it out.
Tanner gave us a quick run-down of how to do a 180 J turn and the 360 spin and
then it was time to get behind the wheel. The dashboard and center console had
so many warning lights on it felt like Christmas in there. Tanner had disconnected
everything, including the ABS. The challenge for this part of the Academy was to
spin the Focus but maintain control – any cones knocked over would result in point
The actual driving portion of stunt driving with Tanner was awesome but riding
along while other group members attempted the 360 was almost unbearable.
Nausea + Newbie Stunt Driving = Hell. But, I made it through and Tanner
successfully taught me how to do the 180 and 360. Check out my stunt driving
footage with Tanner Foust as cameraman! I had such a great time learning how to properly
do these stunts because let’s be honest, who hasn’t attempted to do a 180 in the
snow? But alas, the training was dangerous as it rained the other day and I had to
fight the urge to yank that e-brake and hone my 360 skills… My poor Honda s2000.
And finally, the last session of the day was rallying with Ken Block. Apparently Ken’s
not one for teaching, so Ford brought in its crew from the Tim O’Neil Rally School to
give us the training we needed. The challenge was obvious: Rally the course as close
to Ken’s 2:15 time as possible. While we were receiving hands-on instructions from
the O’Neil team, Ken took us out one by one for a ride-along on the rally course in
his Ford Fiesta. He’s a man of few words that Ken, but the man can drive!
During the instructional, one of the coaches advised: Rallying is driving as fast as
you can for the conditions – but all I got from that was “Drive as fast as you can!”
My practice lap around the course was tame but as soon as the countdown for the
official lap began, I was all pedal to the metal. After an awesome start I couldn’t take
the braking anymore and just wanted to go fast – Um, hello! There’s a time to beat! I
quickly learned my lesson though, as I unintentionally incorporated Tanner Foust’s
previous 180 teachings into my rally (see my sad fail here). My heavy foot resulted
in a non-winning time but at least I learned what NOT to do while rallying. Plus, I
wasn’t one of the guys [names withheld to protect their pride] who put the Fiesta
in the ditch or completely flipped it over, so all in all I’d say the rally session was
successful! I’d actually love to take another stab at rallying to really learn how to
control turns and weaves at fast speeds – I’m looking at you Tim O’Neil – but until
then I’ll just take my need for speed out on the SoCal drivers. Again, my poor s2000.
So that’s my recap of my awesome day at Octane Academy. My posts definitely
haven’t done this program justice… If you love driving, cars, speed, Vaughn,
Tanner, Deegan, and/or Ken, this is not something you want to miss out on. I
have to thank the Ford Racing team again for allowing us to participate in such
an awesome program. Octane Academy is definitely an experience that everyone should try – or at least, attempt to try (you have to get accepted, first!). If you haven’t submitted your video application yet, do it now! Upload your video to
www.octaneacademy.com before the deadline!