Waitangi weekend is an exciting date in Subaru NZ’s calendar, as the company’s partnership with the Leadfoot Festival will see it involved both off and on the Coromandel hill climb track.
Leadfoot Festival pays respect to the most significant and outstanding drivers, whom property owner and motorsport legend Rod Millen has personally hand selected from around the world along with their distinguished racing machines to participate in the February 6/7th event.
Two Subaru models will act as pace cars for the impressive and diverse cars and motorbikes, providing their on-track safety while they race the clock up Mr Millen’s purpose-built driveway. The all-new Subaru Levorg will be on duty, giving all those people attending Leadfoot Festival a sneak peek at this sleek, stylish wagon which will be available in New Zealand from July.
Subaru’s WRX will also continue its tradition as a pace car, which is fitting given the performance model’s long and successful history both on rally and race tracks.
While the Levorg and WRX provide active duties, there will also be a Subaru tent on-site with a static display of all the latest Subaru models, which includes:
Subaru XV Crossover
Subaru Outback 3.6R Premium
Subaru Forester XT
Subaru WRX STi
Subaru WRX Hyper Blue - Limited Edition
Subaru Legacy 3.6R Premium
Subaru also has a solution for Subaru fans seeking some respite from the Hahei sunshine courtesy of a shaded area by the display tent, furnished with beanbags for visitors to come and relax on while they peruse the Subaru range. In addition, any Subaru drivers who show their Subaru car keys, will receive a handy Subaru cushion to sit on, in comfort, while they watch the weekend’s entertainment unfold – first come, first served, as there is limited stock!
Subaru of New Zealand’s Managing Director Wallis Dumper says Leadfoot Festival is a great platform to display the brand.
“We see it as a perfect dual fit having our performance cars doing what they do best out on track, while also allowing people to peruse our latest model cars at their leisure at the Subaru tent, in the ambience of the Coromandel summer.”
“We are also thrilled that two special Subarus will be gunning their way up Rod and Shelley’s picturesque mile-long driveway. One is driven by our very own Brand Ambassador and 2015 national rally champion Ben Hunt, who will be piloting a 1999 Subaru WRX STi Coupe. The other is the ever-popular 1998 Vantage Motorsport Subaru, driven by Scottish rally ace Alister McRae,” Mr Dumper says.
Hunt is currently preparing his brand new 2015 Subaru WRX STi NR4 to campaign in this year’s New Zealand Rally Championship, which unfortunately will not be ready for Leadfoot. However, the Subaru WRX STi Coupepromises to provide quite a spectacle. Owned and built by Dan Kane, who is a race mechanic, engine builder, fabricator and tuner at E&H Motors, this Subaru produces a massive 450kW and houses a six-speed KAPS dog box transmission. It has mainly been used for 4WD drifting so expect plenty of burning rubber as it smokes its way up the Leadfoot driveway.
It is Hunt’s second year competing at Leadfoot and he can’t wait to see how quick the Subaru Coupe is up the hill.
“I am also looking forward to catching up with everyone there from different forms of motorsport around New Zealand and the celebrities that are coming from overseas,” he says.
One of the celebs will be McRae, who is a former British Rally Champion and factory WRC driver. He will be driving the Vantage Motorsport-owned Subaru, which holds a special place in many rally fans’ hearts after Possum Bourne won the 2001 Race to the Sky in it. McRae then repeated the victory in 2014 at the Cardrona event.
This Subaru came into Bourne’s possession in 1999, when he purchased the damaged shell after it was driven and crashed at Rally New Zealand by Finnish driver Kuha Kangas. In 2003 Vantage Motorsport purchased the car after Bourne’s unfortunate death. It is still maintained by Possum Bourne Motorsport.
Vantage Motorsport principal Craig Vincent says the company is “very excited to have Alister back in the Subaru again.”
“Alister joined us last year and drove the car to victory at the Race to the Sky. He is an amazing driver and ambassador for who ever he is associated with and just a top bloke. It is great that Rod and Shelly have invited Alister to participate and having him the Vantage Subaru should make him a crowd favourite.”