Relive Travis Pastrana’s attempt at glory at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Talent oozes out of every molecule in this man’s body. Are we even allowed to call him a man? Motorized superhuman is a more apt word. Whether it’s a rally car or a motocross bike, Travis Pastrana pushes the boundaries not only of sport, but also of the imagination. And that’s what makes what he does so unexpected and utterly mind-blowing. In his own words – “There are no limits, only limits which are pushed further and further.”
Here’s a little more on what makes him tick. It was inevitable that he would end up leaving his mark at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And that’s exactly what he did last week. But we’ll get to that soon.
Pastrana brought his Subaru Gymkhana to compete with the best in the world
Nestled in the rolling hills of West Sussex County in southern England, there is an annual party that disrupts local tea parties and sends delicate umbrellas skyward. He sees historic racing cars attempting to fame on the uphill course through Goodwood Estate. At only 1.1 miles long, it’s definitely not Pikes Peak. But it does have a race time database that includes tarmac shredding cars like the 40bhp Mercedes Simplex and Renault Type K. Never heard of these cars before? This is because they were made almost 120 years ago in 1902. The tarmac shredding portion was probably not an accurate description. Okay, Mea culpa. Yet humans were also in the race at the time. Go figure!
But it’s not the end of the Goodwood racing spectrum that interests us. Neither did Travis. He was looking for gold. He decided to make his mark at the top of the charts, where amazingly fast cars at the top of the race go head to head. The beauty of Goodwood, however, is that there are no disciplinary restrictions. Well, apart from F1 cars, anything goes. And Goodwood gets the best of the best racing – rally cars, sports cars, stock cars, GT cars, touring cars – if he’s got four wheels and he’s fast, he’ll be perfectly at home here. It’s a celebration of speed, after all.
Now, in a perfectly Pastrana way, it was either growing up or coming home. He could have brought his Subaru Rally WRX STI which is good for 330hp, winning rally technology and 4WD. He would have always been competitive. But then that just wouldn’t be scandalous enough. So he decided to bring in his Gymkhana Subaru instead. If you haven’t heard of Gymkhana yet, here is the lowest. In the meantime, Ken Block is probably heading to your house right now to fight you silly.
Pastrana wowed the competition at Goodwood
This otherworldly beast has been modified by Vermont SportsCar to a whole new level of ridiculousness. It’s good for 862bhp, has 4WD, rally-grade suspension and technology, enough aero to get through a volcano and hood exhausts. Yes, you heard right. Lively flames erupt from those sacred exhaust tips that come straight out of the hood. Mad Max would probably kill a war boy or ten to put his mittens on. And the best part is, because this car wasn’t built for a specific racing class, there was absolutely no restriction on how crazy they could go when they developed it. Does the “discipline restriction” remind you of anything? It’s as if this monster was built just to conquer Goodwood. In addition to depositing diseased rubber on the side in its path.
Come on qualifying day and the meadows of Goodwood Estate echo with octane-hungry bellows and grunts that would be any oil lover’s nirvana. The Gymkhana Subaru, as expected, was one of the more belligerent of them. Travis would be up against winning race cars like a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 992 and a McLaren 720S GT3X. Light drizzle and wet surface meant that Gymkhana Subaru’s rally DNA and 4WD would really shine. Pastrana blitzed the uphill course and set a time of 48.10 seconds to clinch first place for the race the next day.
As is the tradition, on race day, the pilots in turn complete the hill climb in descending order of their qualifying times. This meant that Travis would have the last word. Climb aboard with Travis and he’s got his wide-eyed “terrified” racing face. Remember that McLaren 720S GT3X we talked about earlier? Well, it might have something to do with Rob Bell just clocking an incredibly fast time of 45.01 seconds. It was 3.09 seconds faster than Travis’ qualifying time. But, in typical Pastrana fashion, it was all or nothing. He was looking for gold.
The Gymkhana Subaru twisted and squirmed as it dashed forward with glory squarely in its sights. Travis was 0.89 seconds behind Bell at the end of the first sector. He was literally crushing every ounce of performance he could. The car was at the absolute limit of what it could do. He screamed brutally at his 8,000 rpm limit as he passed the crowd. At a crease in the section called “The Wall,” the rear end broke the pull. But in typical Pastrana fashion, he controlled the nearly 100mph slide through a tunnel on a lean country road with total finesse. He looked rather unfazed, like it was just another day at the office. But this slip cost him a few more tenths of a second and he finished the race with a time of 46.20 seconds.
Travis missed Goodwood glory by 1.19 seconds. Nonetheless, his run up the hill was truly a sight to behold. Hopefully he returns to this annual event and we get more of his white-handed shenanigans. What would be even more interesting to see is what he has up his sleeve next year. Maybe an even more rad version of this Gymkhana Subaru? Although it would be even more fun if he showed up with a supercharged T-rex. Hey, it’s Travis Pastrana after all.
The real estate mogul provides a legitimate reason not to warm up to one of America’s greatest supercars of all time.
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