I think a lot of people really don’t get it, but raw speed does not interest me much at all. Formula 1? I’m more interested in vintage touring cars. Downforce equipped super car on R comps? Nah I’d rather a 150hp lightweight on skinny street tires. 4WD 3 LSD rally car light on ice? A RWD boat seems more to my liking.
Last post after an SASC winter school, I mentioned that our IS300 was a pretty enjoyable car on snow and ice. In the fun and relaxed setting of the day, it had no problem chasing other drivers down. I wondered how it would do against a car I knew to be pretty fast with a driver who was actually attacking.
The answer was: not great. Andrew’s WRX is quite capable of running away from it. He is chasing in the video above, and as you can see, has little problem keeping up. When the Lexus follows with a camera on the bonnet, he is a fading blue dot in the distance.
The difference is perhaps not as drastic as I make it out to be. The RWD car always seemed to gain some advantage on corner entry, but then it always loses on exit. With the conditions being 100% polished ice, the AWD advantage was probably even greater than I experienced the first time I drove the car, when snow was thick.
Behind the wheel though, the IS300 is relaxing. The WRX is a fight. While the speed may not always be there in the Lexus, the car always has the right attitude. Steering and throttle are equal tools for creating and adjusting angle. The WRX is a 20lb sledge that you wrestle to raise above your head and smash to the ground destroying everything in front of you once the coast is clear.
Sure sometimes things work out beautifully in the WRX… but sometimes they start beautifully and then the back tire catches a grippy patch of snow and you are sent to understeer purgatory until the corner ends. Humiliation and failure. My driving probably has a few more steps to make… but why would I bother to learn when the RWD platform makes me feel like a hero today?