A Beginner’s Guide to Rallying: How to attend as a fan, or start racing yourself in Ontario.Oct 15th, 2023
There’s nothing better than the thrill of watching a car sliding at the edge of control down a narrow gravel road… except maybe being the person driving it.
Subaru all-wheel drive and excellent handling have long made the Impreza an undisputed top pick for rally competition. The cars are a natural on twisty gravel roads in any condition – from dusty summer days to the depths of icy winter. On any given rally weekend in Canada, spectators can expect to see 30 years of Impreza models slinging sideways on the stages.
Subaru Canada first entered the Canadian Rally Championship in 1992 and has gone on to win the Marques’ Championship, the series’ top award, a record 17 times. Subaru Canada is currently the Presenting Sponsor of the CRC and rally fans can benefit from this association through a special rebate offer. Members of the Canadian Rally Championship have the chance to receive a $750 rebate from Subaru Canada on the purchase or lease of any new Subaru vehicle.
The marque’s global legacy in rally racing includes a trio of World Rally Championship titles with legendary drivers Colin McRae in 1995, Richard Burns in 2001, and Petter Solberg in 2003.
In Ontario, one of the best events to see live is the penultimate round of the Canadian Rally Championship: The Lincoln Electric Rally of the Tall Pines. Held on the old gravel goldrush highways near Bancroft, Ontario, it is a classic on the calendar. In addition to featuring Canada’s top talent, the event has seen entries from leading American drivers including Travis Pastrana in his Subaru Rally Car, as well as the late Ken Block.
For a newcomer to the sport, the best way to take in the action November 24-25 is to subscribe to the VIP spectator program. It typically features former competitors as hosts who can share insight into the behind-the-scenes racing experience, including an introduction to the language of pace notes and tire strategy, and guided transportation to the best places to watch. Or, if you’d rather choose your own adventure, get organized, pack your snacks and all-weather gear, and prepare to chase the event to the designated spectator zones as the race cars make their high-speed tour of the area over a race that extends long after dark.
If it’s driving you’re after, Ontario has a strong community of amateur racers that will welcome you. A great place to start getting to know vehicle dynamics is with regional rallycross events. Rally racing and rallycross may seem similar, but they have their unique challenges and strategies. And what we call “rallycross” in Canada is not the same as the sport you may have seen on American TV. Many of Ontario’s rallycross events allow vehicles with minimal preparation to competition that is similar to traditional autocross — but on gravel. If you want to step up to stage rally, you’ll want to start with a good browse of rally cars for sale to get a sense of what is eligible for competition. But by far, the best way to get started is to meet the community: go to a few events and volunteer to work the race, or with a team. Stage rallies in Canada couldn’t happen without the support of volunteers, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Check out https://rallysport.on.ca/ to learn more.
Whether you’re a spectator or an aspiring racer, rally in Ontario offers high-octane fun for those passionate about rally cars and rally racing. So, gear up and get ready to dive into the world of rally racing right here in Ontario, where the best rally cars and the Canadian Rally Championship await.