Subaru has an extra exciting reason for motorsport fans to lock in next years hot off the press Leadfoot Festival dates (February 4/5th 2017) - the company will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of WRX in New Zealand.
Subaru of New Zealand’s Managing Director Wallis Dumper says the 2017 Leadfoot Festival offers the brand a perfect chance to showcase the WRX, during its important milestone year.
“The Subaru WRX has a long history of performance credentials both in rallying and on race tracks, so seeing the cars in action on Rod and Shelly’s 1.6 kilometre-long driveway, winding through their stunning Coromandel Peninsula property, provides a fantastic opportunity for Kiwi Subaru enthusiasts to help celebrate 25 years of WRX in New Zealand.”
“This is a significant milestone for our sophisticated but still first class fun performance car and we look forward to sharing details later in the year on how WRX enthusiasts and customers can be even more involved in the event,” Mr Dumper says.
Subaru of New Zealand has a partnership with the Leadfoot Festival and has been proudly supporting the unique Hahei-based event since 2013. The 150 acre, ocean-front estate features a spectator-friendly driveway, which was designed to be the perfect hill climb.
Keeping all of the 100-plus racers in check, once again, will be the Subaru WRX pace cars.
Subaru also displays their latest line up of vehicles under the Subaru tent, where festival goers can shelter from the weather in either rain or shine. The Subaru team will be providing giveaways to lucky draw Subaru owners, and visitors can grab a seat in prime position on the Subaru beanbags to watch the action unfold – simply show your keys and you’re in.
This year certainly was a nail-biter, with Subaru driver Alister McRae coming tantalisingly close to claiming the King of the Mountain title. He had shared the honours for the weekend’s fastest time with the driveway’s owner Rod Millen. Unfortunately, in their final attempt, neither driver could match their last qualifying run time, which saw McRae’s 1998 Vantage Motorsport Subaru and Millen’s 1994 Pikes Peak Hill climb Celica record exactly the same time (48.96secs) before the Top Ten Shootout.
The victory for this year’s Leadfoot Festival went to Rod’s son Rhys Millen in his Global Rallycross Veloster Turbo when he beat home McRae with a time of 49.31secs in the Top 10 Shootout. The Scottish rally star was a close second in 49.62secs.
New Zealand’s Subaru Brand Ambassador Ben Hunt made the Top Ten Shootout and had an impressive final outing, clocking his fastest time of the weekend - 52.35secs - in a 1999 Subaru WRX STi Coupe that he drove while his new Subaru WRX STi production car was being built for the 2016 New Zealand Rally Championship season.
Mr Millen personally hand selects championship racers from around the world to receive the coveted invitation to participate in the Leadfoot Festival. Mr Dumper says that despite the two-day event also offering a collection of static celebrated vintage cars and motorbikes, which line areas of the paddocks, the Leadfoot Festival is not just for the motoring-minded.
“It is a wonderful event for Kiwi families over Waitangi weekend. Hahei is a beautiful holiday location, combining sun and surf at the beach, with a child-friendly motorsport festival that has plenty of shaded viewing areas right up the driveway,” he says.
This year the crowds saw some hair-raising action from exceptional Kiwi and international drivers - Scott Dixon, Paul Dallenbach, Tanner Foust, Greg Murphy, Mad Mike Whiddett, Rhys Millen and Subaru drivers McRae and Hunt - just to name a few. Stay tuned to the Leadfoot Festival’s Facebook page, where the event will share its 2017 driver and rider announcements.
Find out more information about Subaru’s association with the Leadfoot Festival and to check out Subaru’s 2015 film, showcasing all the Subaru action and more – simply visit: http://www.subaru.co.nz/ambassador/leadfoot-festival
In the meantime, catch all the Subaru action at the 2016 Leadfoot Festival in this video produced by Blu Steven:
Photos courtesy of Geoff Ridder via Subaru New Zealand